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Bourbon fans: These 8 dark rums are great adds to your liquor cabinet (because they’re a lot like bourbon)

Bourbon enthusiasts may just switch allegiance

Dark Rum
Om Kamath/Unsplash

Autumn chugging towards winter like a pumpkin-spiced latte-fueled train. It’s inevitable. The weather is growing colder, and the days are getting shorter, regardless of whether or not you live somewhere with seasons. Generally, this means we crack open bottles of our favorite bourbon, rye whiskey, Japanese whisky, or single malt Scotch whisky and sip it slowly as we watch the leaves fall gently from the trees. But if you’re limiting yourself to just whisk(e)y this time of year, you’re doing yourself a major disservice. It would behoove you to add dark rum to your sipping rotation.

Don’t believe us? There are numerous dark rums perfectly suited for your whiskey-centric palate. Sure, rum is a sugarcane juice or molasses-based spirit. But when it’s aged for months or years in charred oak, familiar whiskey flavors like caramel, vanilla, oak, dried fruits, and spices are added.

Now that you know that you should broaden your dark sipping spirits to include dark rum, it’s time to actually find some to add to your home bar cart or liquor cabinet. Lucky for you, we picked eight of our favorites. Keep scrolling to see them all. You’ll be happy you did.

Santa Teresa
Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa 1796

This Venezuela-made dark rum is a single-estate rum. This means everything from the growing of sugarcane to the distilling, aging, and bottling all take place on-site. This blend of rums, as old as 35 years, was matured using the solera process. It’s known for its smooth, easy-drinking flavor profile featuring notes of dried fruits, vanilla beans, dark chocolate, sweet honey, and wintry spices.

ron Zacapa 23

Ron Zacapa No. 23 Centenario

The name might make you think this is an exclusively 23-year-old rum. It’s not. It is, however, a blend of rums aged between six and 23 years using the solera aging process. But instead of simply maturing in oak, the rums are aged in barrels that held American whisky, sherry, as well as Pedro Ximénez wine. The result is a mellow, slow-sipping rum highlighted by dried apricots, pipe tobacco, fresh leather, vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger candy. Sip it neat on an unseasonably cool fall evening and enjoy the waves of warmth.

Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva

Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva

Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva is a popular choice among fans of both whiskey and dark rum. Distilled in traditional copper pot stills and matured in charred oak barrels for a minimum of twelve years, this award-winning rum is known for its complex, balanced flavor profile featuring notes of candied orange peel, caramel candy, vanilla, licorice, and charred oak.

Brugal 1888

Brugal 1888

While it’s easy to simply refer to this rum as Brugal 1888, its full name is Brugal 1888 Doblemente Añejado. This popular dark rum from the Dominican Republic was matured in a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks for a maximum of fourteen years. The result is a highly sippable, complex rum with hints of vanilla cookies, dried fruits, caramelized sugar, dark chocolate, oak, and gentle spices.

Flor de Caña 18
Flor de Caña

Flor de Caña 18

Flor de Caña is located less than five miles away from San Cristobal Volcano, the tallest and most active volcano in Nicaragua. And while this might not impact the flavor, we still think this is pretty cool. Its 18-year-old expression matured at a minimum of eighteen full years. It has a balanced flavor profile and is known for its notes of candied nuts, toffee, vanilla, and gentle spices. All with a long, warming finish.

Papa’s Pilar Dark Rum
Papa’s Pilar

Papa’s Pilar Dark Rum

Named after Ernest Hemingway and his boat Pilar, this popular brand makes myriad rums. One of the best is its classic dark rum. It’s a blend of hand-picked rums from the Caribbean, Central, North, and even South America married together using the solera process. It creates a complex, balanced sipper of a rum loaded with flavors like candied orange peel, maple candy, vanilla, oak, and spices.

Ten To One Caribbean Dark Rum
Ten To One

Ten To One Caribbean Dark Rum

A favorite of bartenders and drinkers alike, Ten To One Caribbean Dark Rum is a blend of eight-year-old rums from Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Trinidad. It was matured in American oak ex-bourbon barrels to bring added depth and dimension to the rum. It’s known for its rich, easy-drinking flavor profile featuring notes of caramelized bananas, orchard fruits, pipe tobacco, candied nuts, fresh leather, vanilla beans, and gentle wintry spices. While it works well as a base for your favorite rum-based cocktail, it really shines when it’s enjoyed neat or on the rocks.

The Real MCcoy 12
The Real McCoy

The Real McCoy 12 Year

Bill McCoy was a legendary Prohibition-era rum-runner and this rum brand was created to pay him the respect he deserves. While it has a handful of great rum choices, the best for whiskey drinkers is its Real McCoy 12-Year. This popular expression is aged for at least twelve years in ex-bourbon American oak casks. This results in a bold, memorable rum that begins with a nose of oaky wood, vanilla, and spices and gently moves into a palate of candied orange peels, pipe tobacco, toffee, vanilla beans, and just a hint of smoke at the finish. It’s warming, sweet, and lightly spicy.

Christopher Osburn
Christopher Osburn is a food and drinks writer located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. He's been writing professional
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