20 Best Dark Rum Brands For Every Budget

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Putting together a liquor collection in your home and want recommendations for the best dark rum brands? You are in the right place. Rum is amongst the most versatile liquors in the world. In particular, dark rum comes with a wide range of uses that go beyond drinking.

With the vast range and sophistication of flavors, it achieves from aging, dark rum can be enjoyed neat. It also makes a perfect addition to cocktails and even different baking and cooking recipes. So, having a good quality dark rum bottle in hand does come with its perks.

So, we’ve used our liquor expertise to put together a list of our favorite dark rum brands you should stock in your home today. Here are this season’s 20 best Dark Rum Brands to meet any budgetary needs.

Best Dar Rum Brands To Stock In Your Bar This Season

1. Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price: $27.99 (750ml, 35% ABV)

A popular brand worldwide, Captain Morgan has become synonymous with good quality, easily accessible, and reasonably priced rum. The Original Spiced rum blend offers pretty impressive flavor notes for its price band.

Its fine-tuned spicy notes make it a good option to enjoy on its own or in a vast range of rum-based cocktails. The smooth and medium-bodied rum combines an ingenious blend of Caribbean rums bottled in the US Virgin Islands. The blending produces elegant vanilla and caramel notes with just the right amount of spicy hints.

Tip: Use the Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum in your homemade Rum and Coke for the best tropical flavor explosion.

Also check: Malibu Rum Bottle Prices And Sizes

2. Havana Club Cuban Smoky

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price: $69.99 (1L, 40% ABV)

The Havana Club has a wild history just like its taste.  Launched in the 1930s as a family-owned business, the brand was later nationalized after the 1959 Cuban revolution. Today, two entities curate excellent quality rum under the brand name.

The Cuban government partners with the French company, Pernod Ricard, while the Bacardi brand which also purchased the original family’s recipe produces the rum. Now, rum produced by the latter is what is sold in the US. 

The Cuban Smoky rum is just one of the brand’s beloved dark rum. Funny enough, the Cuban smoky rum doesn’t really follow the traditional rum-making principles. It features a base aged in malt whisky barrels from Scotland for its characteristic smoky and complex notes.

The rum also develops elegant dried fruit and sweet cocoa notes finished with a lingering dry spiciness. The combination of flavors and characteristics of the rum make sit best enjoyed over ice or added to an expertly curated cocktail.

Also check: 20 Tropical Rum Cocktails

3. Havana Club Unión

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price: $349.99 -387.99 (750ml, 40% ABV)

If you want a more luxurious blend, the Havana Club Union dark rum is what you need to invest in. The rum is specially distilled to pair with a full-bodied fine Cuban cigar. In fact, the rum is designed to celebrate two of Cuba’s greatest icons, born from the same unique climate and fertile terrain.

But, with the limitations of Cuban cigars in the US, the rum pairs pretty well with premium quality cigars from other origins. So, after a satisfying meal, the Union is an outstanding pick for your rum and cigar session.

The smooth and rich rum emanates aromatic oaky and smoky notes that blend well with balanced tones of citrus, dried fruit, coconut, and coffee.

When you take the first sip, you taste soft and woody notes mixed with sweet vanilla, chocolate, and dried fruit. It’s certainly a bottle you want to break out when it’s time to impress your guests!

4. Havana Club Máximo Extra Añejo

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price: $1853.99-2384.99(500ml, 40% ABV)

For a good quality splurge, you can’t go wrong with the Havana Club Máximo Extra Anejo.  In fact, this premium rum is distilled with the utmost attention to detail, and only 1,000 bottles are produced annually.

The handcrafted rum features a mix of the best and oldest rum reserves left to age for years to achieve the most sophisticated flavors.

 As a result, you get an intense yet balanced rum finish with a characteristic amber flow. The rum also develops a rich and intense aroma with delicate oaky and smoky notes. You will also get subtle hints of fresh pear, coconut, and dried fruit on the nose.

Your first sip introduces you to regal notes of dry and sweet oak with silky dark chocolate, dried fruits, and vanilla. On the other hand, the rum imparts a warm and long spicy finish to the throat.

5.  Bacardi Gold Rum

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price: $23.99(750ml, 40% ABV)

Bottled in Puerto Rico, the Bacardi Cold Rum is a popular reasonably priced rum brand. The Gold rum, in particular, offers a well-balanced finish, whether enjoyed on the rocks or added to your favorite cocktail.

The brainchild of Maestros de Rob Bacardi, the dark rum bodies rich flavor notes expertly displayed through its golden complexion.

The golden complexion comes from its aging in toasted oak barrels. Combining the use of charcoal blends and toasted oak barrels gives the rum the rich ad uniquely mellow taste. You will also get a complex blend of notes, including vanilla, buttery caramel, toasted almond, sweet banana, orange peel zest, and a light oaky finish.

6. Bacardí Gran Reserva Limitada

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price:  $99.99 – 109.99 (750ml, 40% ABV)

The Bacardi brand most definitely does an outstanding job in its entire rum collection. However, nothing beats the rare Bacardi Gran Reserva Limitada rum blend. So, if you are looking for a more refined rum taste, this is the blend you should be going for.

The Gran Reserva Limitada offers limitless flavors that you can only describe as rich and complex with ultra smoothness. The rum exudes a breathtaking almond and vanilla nose and when you take your first sip, you get subtle and smooth notes of dried raisins, butterscotch, and chocolate.

 The rum finishes off with a long and dry soft oak and raisin hints. To truly enjoy the entire body of this rare rum blend, you want to enjoy it neat or with a splash of water. There’s no need for extra components to ruin its natural taste.

7. Bacardí Gran Reserva Diez

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price:  $42.99-65.99(750ml, 40% ABV)

For the smoothest-tasting rum, the Bacardi Gran Reserva Diez is the ultimate winner. The extra rare dark gold rum is expertly blended and aged for at least 10 years in oak barrels. The barrels are left under the Caribbean sun and the product is then filtered through charcoal. The result is a smooth finish with an ageless taste.

The extra rare aged rum boasts an almond and peach nose while it introduces you to fresh pear, banana, caramelized vanilla and oak noted. It then finishes off with equally smooth and tropical sweet pineapple and cinnamon notes.

8. Diplomatico Ambassador

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price:  $282.99 – 349.99(750ml, 47% ABV)

The Diplomatico Ambassador rum is unique in its own right. The top-shelf rum doesn’t only possess flavors to best enjoy when sipped neat or on the rocks. It also features a perfect flavor blend for cooking applications.

So, the next time you want to impress guests with rum cake, ice cream, or even pan-fried protein, this rum doesn’t disappoint. As the name suggests, the rum goes through an imperial aging process. It spends 12 years in old bourbon casks and another 2 years in sherry casks.

As a result, you get a sweet flavor blend of candied fruits, vanilla, and spice. On the other hand, the rum emanates an intoxicating mix of chocolate and coffee aroma.

9. Diplomatico Rum Reserva Exclusiva

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price:  $40.99(750ml, 40% ABV)

For a more budget-friendly Diplomatico rum variety, the Diplomatico Rum Reserva Exclusiva is a good idea. The Venezuelan rum combines delicious confectionary notes of banana, citrus orange, and dates. This is a rum you should invest in if you want to stock your bar with everyday, versatile rum.

In fact, you can enjoy this rich rum on its own or over ice. However, its subtly sweet, fruity, and citrusy flavors also make it great when mixed in cocktails, particularly tropical cocktails, like a daiquiri.

10. Plantain Original Dark Rum

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price:  $18(750ml, 40% ABV)

Just because you are on a tight budget, it doesn’t mean you can’t get your hands on good quality rum. What better option than the Plantation Original Dark rum? The multi-origin rum combines a blend of Jamaican and Bajan rum aged in oak barrels in France for about three to six months.

The Caribbean rum blends give it a spicy and peppery character. The rum also boasts vanilla, raisin, and caramel notes with natural sweetness and smoky hints from the oak barrels.

11. Cruzan Aged Dark Rum

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price:  $16.99 -18.99(750ml, 40% ABV)

The budget-friendly Cruzan Aged Dark Rum is a popular option for drinkers who love cocktails. The inexpensive rum possesses just the right flavor notes to complement most rum-based cocktails. The rum goes through an aging process of between 2 and 4 years in charred American oak casks.

The St. Croix rum develops a smooth and complex flavor profile with notes of vanilla, nutmeg, and butterscotch. This flavor profile doesn’t only blend well with a vast range of classic cocktails. It also offers an unusually delicious finish, allowing you to enjoy the cheap rum on its own or on the rocks.

Tip: Curate an addictive Mango hurricane cocktail using the Cruzan Aged Dark Rum. Mix the rum, mango juice, and orange juice in a cocktail shaker with ice, and enjoy!

12. Goslings Back Seal Rum

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price:  $11.99 -22.99(750ml, 40% ABV)

If you want to make popular dark rum-based cocktails, the Goslings Back Seal Rum is among the best dark rum brands to do. Whether it’s good ‘ol rum & coke or a more complex dark & stormy, the rum offers just the right flavor blend to take your taste buds on a whirlwind adventure.

Combining a blend of Caribbean rum and aged in Bermuda, the Goslings Back Seal offers a confectionary sweet taste with spicy hints that complement any cocktail very well. The dark rum boasts impressive notes of fruit cake, vanilla, and baking spices with an intoxicatingly sweet nose.

13. Hamilton Overproof Dark Rum

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price:  $16.99 -18.99(750ml, 40% ABV)

Since we are on the topic of good cocktail rum, the Hamilton Overproof Dark Rum can impress any mai tai lover. The dark rum combines a blend of stone fruit, banana, and baking spice tasting notes. You will also get hints of roasted vanilla and caramel from the rum to truly highlight your tropical cocktail.

The rum gets its delicious, fruit-centered taste from aging in barrels for up to 5 years. But, you want to be extra careful with this high-proof liquor – with an alcohol content of up to 75.5%. Nonetheless, the decadent flavors and high-proof alcohol boost do a good job of complementing your cocktail.

14. Ron Barcelo Imperial

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price:  $30.99(750ml, 40% ABV)

When it comes to the world’s best premium quality rum, the Dominican Ron Barcelo brand should never miss the list. The Imperial blend is just one of the brand’s outstanding examples of premium-quality rum. The rum uses 100% sugar cane harvested from a private plantain in Dominica

It is then aged for up to 10 years in the best and most natural climatic conditions. As a result, the rum develops exceptional character – reflected in its color, fragrance, and taste. The Imperial blend develops a coppery amber hue with intoxicating buttercream, dried cherry, intense vanilla, pineapple jam, and caramelized aroma.

The rum gives a dry fruity introductory flavor while finishing with carrot ice cream cake, kola nut, and mocha. The flavor plays well with the rum’s overall medium body with depth and balance. You can enjoy the Imperial blend neat, on the rocks, or added to a classic rum-based cocktail.

15. Ron Barcelo Imperial Onyx

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price:  $42.99(750ml, 40% ABV)

A cousin of the Imperial blend, the Ron Barcelo Imperial Onyx is what you get for cocktails, rather than drinking neat. The rum is made by blending the finest rum selections for up to 10 years in oak casks. The rum is then filtered in real onyx stones for a unique blend of toasty and intense, deep notes.

Further, the rum develops a strong structured body with unmatched character. In fact, the rum is pretty impressive compared to its price tag. It boasts toasted aromas with hints of cherry, coffee, and nuts. On the other hand, it emanates an exquisite aftertaste of wood and vanilla.

Tip: Enjoy the rum’s flavor by curating a rum martini – use the rum in place of gin. Mix it with sweet Italian vermouth, orange juice, blackberry liqueur, and green apple liqueur for an explosively decadent tasting experience.

16. Appleton Estate 21-Year-Old Nassau Valley Casks

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price:  $139.99(750ml, 43% ABV)

The Appleton Estate 21-Year Rum offers a true taste of premium quality, timeless Caribbean rum. The dark aged rum is distilled using a mix of hand-selected rum crafted with Jamaican limestone-filtered water.

The rums are then aged in old Nassau valley casks for a minimum of 21 years in the Jamaican climate. The aged rum develops a more than average proof – up to 43% ABV and superior taste. You will get a rich nutty aroma on the nose with hints of vanilla, marmalade, chocolate, and pepper.

On the other hand, the rum boasts tasting notes of thick and full nutty cocoa, stewed fruits, demerara sugar, and oak with a long, thick finish. To savor this 21-year-old piece of art, drink it neat in a snifter or on the rocks.

17. Flor De Caña 12-Year Rum

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price:  $39.99(750ml, 40% ABV)

The Flor De Cana 12-Year Rum has gone through more than a decade of aging to give it its sophisticated taste. Yet, the aged, mature taste complements traditional cocktails quite well without losing itself in the mix.

The dark aged rum offers a full-bodied character with reddish amber from its aging and unleashes a mellow red fruit, honey, and toasted nut aroma. On the palate, the dark rum possesses a complex mix of wood, vanilla, and baked apples with a smooth, balanced finish.

Tip: Add the Flor De Cana rum to your Old Fashioned or Rum & Coke as a base. You can also tone down the flavors by enjoying it with a splash of ginger ale or chilled sparkling water

18. Mount Gay 1703 Master Select

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price:  $199.99(750ml, 43% ABV)

The Mount Gay 1703 Master Select is amongst the finest Bajan rum – one you should break out during the most special occasion. Made with consistent attention to detail, the rum is available at a limited annual release. In fact, the rum comes with varied tasting notes during every release to keep consumers excited.

The rum is made using a mix of the finest in-house rums. Now, this selection is pretty special and determines the taste of every year’s release. Each year, the Mount Gay Master Blender personally identifies the finest rums, marks them, and sets them aside for the exclusive blending in a traditional column and double retort pot sill.

After distillation, the rum is aged in American oak barrels for a rich and lingering final product. Our favorite 1703 edition is finished with a refined fruity rich vanilla, banana, oak, and mocha nose. On the other hand, the tasting notes feature an elegant balance of spice, toast, and cinnamon, finishing off with a rounded, long, and delicate body.

You should best enjoy the rum neat in a glass to truly appreciate each note and character.

19. Ten to Ten Dark Rum

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price:  $49.99(750ml, 40% ABV)

The Ten to Ten Dark Rum goes through a series of distilling steps to give you the best quality rum. The dark rum combines a mix of 8-year-old Bajan and Dominican column still rum masterfully blended with Jamaican high ester pot still rum. The distilled blend is then aged in old American white oak bourbon casks for a sophisticated and mature taste.

The rum develops characteristic complex notes of banana peel, yellow apple, baking spice, nut loaf, tobacco, cedar, and leather.

You can enjoy this elegant dark rum on its own to sample its authentic flavors. Alternatively, wake it up a little by adding ice or use it as a base in a creatively crafted cocktail.

20. Don Q Double Aged Sherry Cask Finish

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price:  $54.99(750ml, 41% ABV)

The Don Q Double Aged Sherry Cask Finish Rum can be described in three simple words – double aged, smooth and complex.  The rum is made using a blend of rums aged in American white oak barrels for about 5 to 8 years.

Further, the rum is rested for an additional year in old Spanish oloroso sherry American white oak barrels.  This extra year aging in sherry casks adds depth and complexity to the rum’s flavor.

Enjoy this rum neat or the rocks to discover its interesting flavor. Alternatively, you can bring any boring rum-based cocktail to life by using Don Q as a base.

FAQs

What Is the Best Brand Of Dark Rum?

Our personal pick for the best brand of dark rum is the Captain Morgan brand. In addition to the ease of accessibility to the brand, Captain Morgan is affordable, yet, it is still reasonable quality rum.

However, you can also find a reasonable selection of other excellent brands of dark rum. You can always start with our recommendation list above.

What Is A Good Dark Rum To Buy?

If you are on a limitless budget, the Havana Club Máximo Extra Añejo is good dark rum to buy. This rum is specially curated for celebrating those memorable milestones or enjoying a snifter with your favorite people.

If you have a somewhat limited budget, you can go for the versatile Diplomatico Rum Reserva Exclusiva you can enjoy in a variety of ways, including neat, on the rocks, and in a cocktail.

What’s The Smoothest Rum?

The Bacardí Gran Reserva Diez is the smoothest rum on the market, offering a sweet and fruity palate. If you want to look elsewhere for other options, the Havana Club Unión (a splurge) and Flor De Cana (mid-range) are also excellent smooth dark rums.

What Is Considered The Best Rum?

Our personal favorite for the best rum is the Bacardí Gran Reserva Limitada. In fact, you are recommended to enjoy this rum neat or with just a splash of water to fully appreciate its body, taste, and aroma.

Conclusion

For many drinkers outside the Caribbean, rum is always considered an alcohol mixer. However, this drink is excellent beyond your daiquiris, mai tai, and rum & coke. In fact, the best way to appreciate it is by identifying the best dark rum brands first.

With the right bottle, you can enjoy the drink in many ways, whether in a cocktail, enjoyed neat on its own, or even incorporated into your cooking and baking. It’s all about what you choose and how much you are willing to splurge!

Chad Smith

Hello and Welcome, I am Chad, a formal bartender. I created this blog to help readers make exotic cocktails at home.

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