Single-malt whiskies and Cognac may grab the lion’s share of the headlines in the spirits world, but rum aficionados are quietly experiencing a golden age of their own. After decades of inundation with light, heavily filtered, and almost vodka-like rums that were meant for mixing more than sipping, big and bold aged rums are back—and they’re full of flavor and have as much complexity and depth as any brown spirit.
What makes the revival even better for rummies is that it’s still somewhat under the radar. For investors, that means there’s more upside in the rum collectors’ market than for whiskey, which has been running red-hot for years now. And for those who simply like drinking the stuff, it means there are more terrific rums out there than at any time in recent memory.
These seven rums, all sourced by independent bottlers, come from various spots throughout the Caribbean, each with its own distinct terroir and style of distillation. The ages and flavors vary far more than rum newbies would ever suspect. What they have in common is that they’re all bottled at cask strength—one is even stronger than the 151-proof rums most commonly used for flambéed desserts and the like—and they’re all extremely rare, limited to a few hundred bottles each. If you’re new to the world of single-cask, cask-strength rums, prepare to have your preconceptions shattered. If you’re already a rum aficionado, your mind will still be blown by their quality.