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Bunk I was intending to send you a pm about the Bacardi 8 but got called away on an errand and just returned. Since you've made your first run let's revisit the Bacardi. The clerk is correct, this one is the sleeper of the lot. I know it's popular in some circles to dis Bacardi 8 because it's the product of one of those big, bad corporations who make (gasp) commercial rums.

I'm of the school that believes it's what's in the glass that counts and this is where Bacardi 8 shines well in comparison to the others I mentioned, and does it at a cost of about 30% less.

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And a spoonful of sugar!

Now that's an idea for a new thread, In-Law whisky.

I do look forward to finding this years 10 yr Real McCoy LE though, interested to see the impact of the Virgin Oak Casks.  Last years LE was pretty great.

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Bunk I was intending to send you a pm about the Bacardi 8 but got called away on an errand and just returned. Since you've made your first run let's revisit the Bacardi. The clerk is correct, this one is the sleeper of the lot. I know it's popular in some circles to dis Bacardi 8 because it's the product of one of those big, bad corporations who make (gasp) commercial rums.

I'm of the school that believes it's what's in the glass that counts and this is where Bacardi 8 shines well in comparison to the others I mentioned, and does it at a cost of about 30% less.

Well, thank you once again, Mr. Squire. I have no problem with any company that makes an excellent product no matter how big they are, though I must admit that I was skeptical about purchasing Bacardi simply because it seems so "common," for lack of a better word. Quite literally, there were more than a dozen different Bacardi varieties to chose from, including all sorts of those vile flavored rums I referred to earlier that are a real turn-off to me (Dragon Berry Strawberry, Bahama Mama, etc.). On some level I couldn't help but associate Bacardi with all those stupid Captain Morgan commercials on tv, having seen so many of my wife's friends (none of whom give a hoot about the quality of the beverages they drink) pounding Bacardi-based mixed drinks over the years. So, it's good to hear people in the know recommending a quality product within the Bacardi line that's affordably priced. Am I right in assuming then that it's the VOB BIB or OGD114 in the world of rum?:grin:
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As a whiskey drinker you owe it to yourself to try some of the rhum agricoles, especially those with a bit of age on them. Tend to be a bit pricey but some are quite good. I like some of the bottles Clement is doing (especially the single barrel line but it is not typically available in the US) but oddly don't see any of them on Binny's. The Clement Grand Reserve 6 and 10yo are available in other places.

The Neisson Rhum Agricole Reserve Speciale at Binny's is a bit pricey but might be a good option at up to 10 years of age.

And the Haiti based Barbancourt, especially the 5 star, is usually available and reasonably priced at around $30.

Appleton Estate Reserve

Appleton 12 year old

Bacardi 8 year old

Barbancourt 15 year old

Flora de Cana 12 year old

Matusalem Classico

Mount Gay XO

Ron Botran 1893

So, what's the difference in quality between the Barbancourt 5 Star and Barbancourt 15? Big price difference too? How about the Matusalem Gran Reserva and the Classico? I see that Bacardi also makes a Solera rum which caught my eye. BTW, I absolutely loved the Appleton 12 last night. That is one dangerous drink. Absolute nectar!
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If you ask for a high end rum the employees might try to steer you toward Pyrat Rum XO or Ron Anejo Pampero Aniversaro, which are high end (and high profit for the stores) but, like Blantons, you are paying a premium for packaging/image and, most importantly, I believe they contain a trace of additional sweetners as well as flavor enhancers like macerated Curaco orange peel, which are legal in their country of origin and do not have to be disclosed on the label.

It is worth noting that practically every rum is likely to have some amount of additional sweetner (sugar) and coloring and possibly some additional flavoring elements. As has been noted in the past by a learned SBer it is useful to think of rum as more like a cocktail in a bottle. There really are no rules or overriding governing body for rum manufacter. The biggest exception to this are the rhum agricoles, particularly from Martinique. They have fairly tight rules for production to be called rhum agricole. They are not necessarily better (although I like them!) and not all rums from Martinique and other French Islands are labeled as rhum agricole so same care must be taken.

Stay clear of Ron Zacapa 23 unless the label clearly states all the rum in the bottle is at least that old. The ones labeled Solera mean a lot of 6 year old rum with some 23 tossed in. In fact be leary of any rum claiming to be over aged because most of the rum producing countries allow the year on the bottle to be the the oldest rum in the mix when in fact it may only be a small part of the blend.

Aging of rums is part and parcel with the lack of rules. "Solera" is a made up term borrowed from sherry production but does not mean it is treated the same way sherry is. It is more a way to create old looking ages that are not an accurate reflection of the rum in the bottle. Zacapa (now essentially a Diageo product) is the whipping boy for this but they aren't the only ones. Ron Matusalem and others do it as well.

The 10 Cane is a bit of a trick pony in that it is made only from fresh sugar cane juice as opposed to molasses and is aged for about a year. It is a premium and unique in the Agricole style, certainly worth trying but I've seen it priced between $20 - $40 in the same city.

I have found 10 Cane to be hit or miss. It was very lightly aged cane juice initially but has since been changed and now includes a blend of cane juice and typical molasses based rum. OK to me but nothing special unless you want that blended style.

I've tried all the above, served them to guests, and would choose an El Dorado 12 over any of them.

Always a worthy recommendation! I really enjoy El Dorado (I like the 15 even more!) but it is important to recognize that it has plenty of sugar added to it as well.

The original British Navy Rum was reportedly a blend of rums from several sources. Guyana, home to El Dorado was one of them. Jamaica also was (along with Barbados and Trinidad) and the Appleton style may well have been part of the blend. When the Brits stopped doling out the grog what they had left was stored away for several decades. Recently the last of the British Navy rum was made available for sale for a mere bazillion dollars or so.

Black Tot

My recollection is that Pusser is slang for the ships Purser who was the officer generally in charge of supplies and so likely the one who doled out the rum grog.

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So, what's the difference in quality between the Barbancourt 5 Star and Barbancourt 15? Big price difference too? How about the Matusalem Gran Reserva and the Classico? I see that Bacardi also makes a Solera rum which caught my eye. BTW, I absolutely loved the Appleton 12 last night. That is one dangerous drink. Absolute nectar!

Barbancourt 5 star is aged 8 years. The Estate Reserve is aged 15 years. I find the 5 star/8yo to be perfectly delightful especially as a mixer in cocktails since it is typically around $25-$30. The 15yo Estate Reserve I have seen closer to $40+ and is also quite good and I suppose is more of a dryish sipping rum.

Always seems to be some debate whether it is truly rhum agricole, meaning it is cane juice based only or if some other types of rum are used as well. Barbancourt says it is all cane juice. While Haiti has a French heritage it is not a French territory and so they are likely not as tightly controlled. But both Barbancourts are nice value rums and don't seem to have as much sugar added. Might start with the 8yo and see if you like it.

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So, it's good to hear people in the know recommending a quality product within the Bacardi line that's affordably priced. Am I right in assuming then that it's the VOB BIB or OGD114 in the world of rum?:grin:

Pusser's Blue Label would be a better fit for that analogy.

The 15year Barbancourt is a bargain at $40, complex and delicious without all the over the top sweetness of the Dorado's or the Z rums, although Zafra does an admirable job of straddling the mixer/sipper fence without being too offensively sweet.

El Dorado 21 (or 25 if you can find it) both have lots more wood dryness than the younger versions. All the Dorados are probably manipulated extensively with added sugars but the 21 and 25 seem less so.

All of the points Tanstaafl made were accurate and especially his advice about seeking out higher end agricole Rums like Clement and Damoiseau is spot on particularly if you value authentic subtle oak flavors.

There are a couple of Bacardi dusties that are worth picking up if you should run across them - Premium Black Bacardi Superior, look for the black label with a big red triangle in the lower left - also Casa Bacardi Reservea Especial Importado is the best pure sipper I have tasted from Bacardi. The label is in spanish and I'm not sure it was ever imported.

Edited by sailor22
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I can also vote for the Barbancourt 8 though truth be told I really don't care that much for rums aged much past that point. With rum I want a lush, full flavor rather than a lot of barrel influence.

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Am I right in assuming then that it's the VOB BIB or OGD114 in the world of rum?

Well, yes, in a manner of speaking but I should mention that the 8 year old is the only Bacardi product I buy. For general mixing purposes I prefer Curzan rums, the 2 year old or the Blackstrap.

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Barbancourt 5 star is aged 8 years. The Estate Reserve is aged 15 years. I find the 5 star/8yo to be perfectly delightful especially as a mixer in cocktails since it is typically around $25-$30. The 15yo Estate Reserve I have seen closer to $40+ and is also quite good and I suppose is more of a dryish sipping rum...But both Barbancourts are nice value rums and don't seem to have as much sugar added. Might start with the 8yo and see if you like it.
The 15year Barbancourt is a bargain at $40, complex and delicious without all the over the top sweetness of the Dorado's or the Z rums, although Zafra does an admirable job of straddling the mixer/sipper fence without being too offensively sweet.

El Dorado 21 (or 25 if you can find it) both have lots more wood dryness than the younger versions. All the Dorados are probably manipulated extensively with added sugars but the 21 and 25 seem less so.

All of the points Tanstaafl made were accurate and especially his advice about seeking out higher end agricole Rums like Clement and Damoiseau is spot on particularly if you value authentic subtle oak flavors.

Thanks for all the info, guys. Like bourbon and single malts, it's somewhat of a steep learning curve when you first stick your toe in the water. I can get the 5 Star 8YO for $20, while the 15YO Estate Reserve is $40. I think I might try the 5 Star first but know in my heart that I'll be buying the 15 ER before too long. The El Dorado 12 is $25 and the 15 YO was about $10-$12 more. I'm assuming it's better to shell out the extra dough? I did come across a few different products from Clement at various price points. Any recommendations on one to start with? Finally, the Matusalem Gran Reserva is priced around $20 but I'm not hearing much love for it here. Thanks again. Edited by unclebunk
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Thanks for all the info, guys. Like bourbon and single malts, it's somewhat of a steep learning curve when you first stick your toe in the water. I can get the 5 Star 8YO for $20, while the 15YO Estate Reserve is $40. I think I might try the 5 Star first but know in my heart that I'll be buying the 15 ER before too long. The El Dorado 12 is $25 and the 15 YO was about $10-$12 more. I'm assuming it's better to shell out the extra dough? I did come across a few different products from Clement at various price points. Any recommendations on one to start with? Finally, the Matusalem Gran Reserva is priced around $20 but I'm not hearing much love for it here. Thanks again.

Because of the extraodinary and unique still capability at DDL (El Dorado) it is worth noting that the 15 is not just the 12 with 3 more years. El Dorado is made from a blend of several different and very unusual ancient stills including possibly the only commercial (and maybe only) wooden pot and coffey stills in the world still actively distilling. So it is worth trying the 12 and the 15 (and the 21 as well! The 25, while superb, is a fairly pricey unicorn-ish rum that is rarely seen out in the wild).

So yes, once the hook is set you will likely be shelling out more dough!

Hard to say with the Clements of what is readily available. If you want to take a chance I would suggest the Grande Reserve 6 and 10 yo. $50 and $70 respectively at Hi Time Wine. I have both and they are quite nice!

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One thing to consider about the 15 year old El Dorado, it's not the 12 with 3 more years of age. The 15 is an entirely different profile, more dry, austere, more cognac like perhaps. The 12 goes for flavor, the 15 for subtle complexity.

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In addition to the somewhat splashy whisky I got from K&L I also made room for a bottle of 136 proof Lost Spirits Navy Style rum after trying a sample from a fellow SBer. Quite distinctive with interesting sherry notes which is something I am always looking for especially with new rum!

post-8493-14489820672321_thumb.jpg

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Because of the extraodinary and unique still capability at DDL (El Dorado) it is worth noting that the 15 is not just the 12 with 3 more years. El Dorado is made from a blend of several different and very unusual ancient stills including possibly the only commercial (and maybe only) wooden pot and coffey stills in the world still actively distilling. So it is worth trying the 12 and the 15 (and the 21 as well! The 25, while superb, is a fairly pricey unicorn-ish rum that is rarely seen out in the wild).
One thing to consider about the 15 year old El Dorado, it's not the 12 with 3 more years of age. The 15 is an entirely different profile, more dry, austere, more cognac like perhaps. The 12 goes for flavor, the 15 for subtle complexity.
Thanks for pointing out the differences between the 12 and 15. I kinda had it in my head that they would basically share the same profile with just a bit more wood but they actually sound quite different, so in the shopping cart they both go! I have a fabulous discount liquor store about half an hour away that I want to visit tomorrow to see what's in stock before placing an on-line order. If I strike out there I'll be hitting Hi Time instead. Here's what I'm looking at now: Flor de Cano 12, Barbancourt 8, El Dorado 12 and 15 and Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva, which at $20 seems like a decent deal. Barbancourt 15 and Ron Zacapa 23 are sitting on the fence. Just grabbed a Bacardi 8 this afternoon at my local store which I plan to sample tonight. I wish I could spring for the Clement products but I think I'll see if I can sample the Grande Reserve 6 first before pulling the trigger on it, simply because of the price. Now, to find an easy bank to knock off...:grin:
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I find a lot of similarities between Matusalem GR and Zafra except that Zafra is twice as much. The Matusalem actually has Prunes and Vanilla infused when it's distilled, although that's not disclosed anywhere except in court records. See if you can pick up the underlying Prune notes.

You will find that undisclosed additives are typical of most Rums.

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The Matusalem actually has Prunes and Vanilla infused when it's distilled, although that's not disclosed anywhere except in court records. You will find that undisclosed additives are typical of most Rums.

Well said . . . . . . . . . .

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I find a lot of similarities between Matusalem GR and Zafra except that Zafra is twice as much. The Matusalem actually has Prunes and Vanilla infused when it's distilled, although that's not disclosed anywhere except in court records. See if you can pick up the underlying Prune notes.
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Prunes and vanilla? Matusalem smells like my grandmother?:lol:

Nice! She sound delightful:grin:

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I wish I could spring for the Clement products but I think I'll see if I can sample the Grande Reserve 6 first before pulling the trigger on it, simply because of the price. Now, to find an easy bank to knock off...:grin:

If you are coming to the Sampler I can see about bringing a bottle or two for you to take for a trial run if you like! Just be forewarned that you might get hooked!

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If you are coming to the Sampler I can see about bringing a bottle or two for you to take for a trial run if you like! Just be forewarned that you might get hooked!
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Thanks for the offer, but unfortunately I will not be attending the Sampler due to other family commitments. (In-laws visiting for TWO WEEKS. Ugh!)
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