Is Puerto Rican Rum Really the Best?

A few years back, shortly after I turned 21, I became interested in liquors. This perhaps isn’t too surprising. I had been sneaking, and asking for sips of wine and beer throughout all my childhood. But liquors, like Vodka, Scotch, Rum and Gin were entirely new to me. But of course, I certainly have always enjoyed them sensibly and in moderation. In fact, thru the years I have become somewhat of a connoisseur of liquors, always looking for something new and better. That is why I was drawn to this article I saw for Rum. It claims that Puerto Rican Rums are the best (naturally though, it was an ad for a Puerto Rican Rum). For one thing, it went on to say, the Puerto Rican goverment holds the makers of Rum there to very stringent requirements. For example, Rums there have to be aged. None of that fermented sugar water with caramel coloring you get from other countries.

Well, not surprisingly, now I usually buy my Rums only if they come from Puerto Rico. They are a little more expensive, typically. But are they really the best? And for that matter, is there another country that is or claims to be better? Remember, this is GQ. So we are going solely by objective criteria, like aging methods, and over-all quality :slight_smile: .

Cuba certainly claims to have the world’s best rum. Bacardi, in fact, was originally a Cuban company before it regrouped in Puerto Rico. From my experience with rums from all over the Caribbean (as I envision this thread floating over to IMHO), I would have to go with Cuban rum as the best – Havana Club being my favorite (the 7 year old is truly great stuff for drinking neat).

Mexico has very strong restrictions on tequila. IIRC, they claim the ONLY tequila, similiar to Champagne in France. (What that has to do with the OP, I don’t know)

I’m a rum drinker. Lush, if you will. I drink Bacardi light. The only substitute that comes close is Appleton White from Jamaica.

I think it comes down to Bud vs. Miller, in that what you’re used to is what you crave.

I’m biased because I’m Puerto Rican, so rather than give an obvious answer, instead I’ll make a recommendation. Puerto Ricans on the island think of Palo Viejo, not Bacardi, as THE Puerto Rican rum. Try it. I especially recommend Palo Viejo añejo.

Bacardi have actually based themselves in Bermuda since the 1960s, although they don’t shout about it. Partly because the best rum in the world is Gosling’s Black Seal, the true Bermudian option :cool:

Bacardi is swill. Utterly useless.

My favorite rum is Appleton Estate, which is Jamaican. But I’ve never tried Palo Viejo.

I was never a fan of rum until my brother brought back a bottle of 21 year old Flora De Caña Grand Reserve, a Nicuraguan rum. I’ve not found any other rum to be as smooth and tasty as it.

And yes, I agree with epepke. Bacardi is utter swill.

May we also recommend Ron del Barrilito (3-star label).

Bacardi is a fine product, but it’s thoroughly corporate/transnational. Puerto Rico Distillers (Palo Viejo) and Serrallés (Don Q) are more firmly rooted here.

The Rums Of Puerto Rico marketing cartel has done so much promotion that they are almost a Parallel Tourism Office, but they do have a point about the stringent manufacturing requirements. Makes for a more consistently refined product On top of that, we were able to take advantage of some historical contingenies in the just-ended century: first, of course, that PR (and the much smaller USVI) is “US territory” so access to the US market is quite easier; sugar price supports designed to favor Louisianan and Floridian cane growers, which meant it profited us to turn ours into something else for sales; WW2, where rum had to pinch-hit for grain-based spirits that became less available; and that slight disagreement between Commander Castro and the USA c. 1960 that eliminated a major competitor in the US market.

However, ROPR knows quite well that in recent years the higher-end lines of rums from other Caribbean islands are a match and sometimes more, for the best of our stuff. However for everyday mixing with the light white or light gold rums, it’s as someone said almost a Bud/Miller thing: whatever you’re used to. (that said, stay away from the “flavoreds” – heck, that applies to ANY spirit: if I want lemon or raspberry flavor in my rum or vodka I’ll add some, dammit!).

I would put my vote in for Barbancourt, made in Haiti. It is a fairly light and sweet rum that is rather expensive in the United States. In the US they only sell the five star version which is considered inferior in every respect to the cheaper three star version sold in Haiti.

Barbancourt is the pride of the island and perhaps the only first class product put out by Haiti. If you can find it, it is well worth a sample.

I agree with the comments on Bacardi. Ditto for Ron Rico. During my time in St. Thomas, I became very fond of Virgin Island rums such as Cruzan and Mount Gay. They didn’t have the bite of the Puerto Rican varieties. Give them a try, mon.

Ditto on the “Bacardi is swill.”

My personal favorites are Mount Gay Eclipse (Barbados) for mixing, and Appleton Estate (Jamaica) for sipping. Both are light-years ahead of anything produced in Puerto Rico.

(a) This question doesn’t belong in GQ, since it’s asking for people’s opinions.
(b) The best sipping rums that I’ve personally tried are (in order) Ron Zacapa Centenario (Guatemala); Pyrat Pistol (Anguilla); and Cruzan Single Barrel (St. Croix, Virgin Islands)
© Another vote for the “Bacardi is swill” party.

Yes, I agree that Flor de Caña rum, especially the aged varieties, is superb. It’s the rum of choice of me and most people I know here in Panama.

In answer to the GQ in the OP, here is info on the awards and recognitions received by Flor de Caña. Since several of them include gold medals in various categories, I presume it must be competitive with the best Puerto Rican rums.

Ah, there you go. Nothing like Bajan rum.