Welcome to the third entry in my continuing series where I will give you the skinny on the good, the wretched, and the divine concerning what you should be drinking: rum.
It was currency in the Caribbean in the old days, George Washington demanded it be served at his inauguration, Ernest Hemingway lived off a diet of rum and shark flesh during his stint in Cuba, and now I'm here to help you navigate the top, the bottom, and all shelves in between concerning one of the world's greatest treasures.
Nothing fruity here, no flavored spirits to hide terrible production, or inept craftsmanship, just the booze. Feel free to suggest what you will for future installments and liquor representatives are more than welcome to provide me with your product concerning tasting and review.
Mount Gay Extra Old
Wow. We’re in wine country here folks. Put on your Sunday finery and brush up on your pretentious sounding phrases. The Mount Gay Extra Old is that good. A special occasion or a night of sheer debauchery is in order to crack this bottle open. $35 may be a bit much just to get you loaded for the weekend but every cent is justified. The nose on a glass of this is amazing. Few spirits achieve this kind of balance and even less come near the amount of finesse that the Extra Old displays. I could go on with the superlatives indefinitely here. This one adds instant sophistication to any mixed drink while setting you apart as one “classy motherfucker” should you drink it alone.
Verdict: There is something to be said for the experience of more than 300 years, and the Mount Gay Extra Old makes that statement. Why aren’t you drinking this? Run, don’t walk. Go buy it.
I’m pretty sure there are fumes coming off this one. The world’s most popular spirit is what it is: booze; not bad, and not good. With that in mind, I say it needs to be mixed. It is soft enough to take alone, in fact it is not as bad as you might think; there is a very subtle--nigh undetectable flavor of ‘something’ on the palate--but let’s be honest: this is what you drink when you need to get the party started. It does the trick, a handle fits in with the budget, and everyone you know will be comfortable drinking it. I’d like to say more, but what else is there? It’s Bacardi… it is the default rum: world leader in budget, brand name booze.
Verdict: You’ve had it before. There is a lot better and there is exponentially worse. Bacardi is as far from offensive as it is really good.
Bonus Rum Barcardi Select
Select of what I'm not sure, but it cost as much as the Bacardi Gold and Superior White. I sense some heavy food coloring. This stuff made me feel bad… I didn't get sick, only I felt nauseated. It was akin to having an oily meal forcibly made to settle on your stomach or the cloying richness of a dessert made with 97% butter.
The color is disconcerting, the nose is plain awful, and the taste makes the bathtub rotgut of old sound like ambrosia of the gods.
I have nothing good to say about the Bacardi Select.
Tommy bahama Golden Sun
The Tommy Bahama is in an increasingly large category of rums that are fast becoming an exceptional value for the consumer. It's a sign of the times: the high end niche manufactures are having a hard time pushing their product in the economy of no-consumer-money-spending.
It's a blend, aged for three years in oak. If you can find it for the ridiculously low price of twenty dollars as I did you will be very please with your purchase. Perhaps a bit lighter and not as 'dirty' as the Ron Bacelo, it's equally well made only going in a different direction. The Tommy Bahama is a rum you'll amazed to find yourself sipping straight considering the price.
Verdict: Ron Barcelo and Tommy Bahama are championing a new category. It's not budget drinking, rather value drinking.
You'll want to check out previous highlights if you missed them (January, February) and be sure to check back next month as I will bring you more of the best, worst, and the in between. All things concerning rum: what you should be drinking.