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Best Rum Brands in the World | Image: Man of Many

22 Best Rum Brands in the World

There are few spirits more global than rum. While bourbon is only made in the US, cognac is only produced in France, Scotch is only made in Scotland, and tequila must come from Mexico, rum is made all over the world. A staple spirit for centuries in the Caribbean, rum is now produced all over the world and has, for better or worse, become entrenched in world history, specifically in the colonial world.

This brings us to a problem. If there are so many distilleries and brands scattered all over the world, how could you possibly know which ones are the best? According to Tanya Mah, head of marketing at Amber Beverage, the answer is experimentation.

“I would experiment. Pick your favourite cocktail and make it with a rum twist,” Mah told us. “Ask your bartender for recommendations and try. a variety of styles from different regions. Broadly speaking you have Agricole (made with sugarcane juice vs molasses), white, dark, aged and spiced rum. Rum is incredibly versatile and works brilliantly in refreshing cocktails such as mojitos or daiquiri or more spirit-forward serves such as an Old Fashioned.”

So, with Mah’s expertise on hand, let’s take a deep dive into the best rum brands in the world. Keep scrolling to see them all.

Best Rum Brands at a Glance

Product image of Flor de Caña 7 Year Old Rum with a plain white background
Flor de Caña 7 Year Old Rum | Image: Flor de Caña

1. Flor de Cana

  • Founder: Francisco Alfredo Pellas Canessa
  • Founded: 1890
  • Country of origin: Nicaragua
  • Style: Aged

When you think of premium rum brands, your mind might not immediately head toward Nicaragua. But that’s exactly where Flor de Cana is located. Translated into English, the brand name means “sugarcane flower” and this rum made by Compañía Licorera de Nicaragua has its genesis in 1890. Also, it’s aged at the base of a volcano. While the brand has a whole line of high-quality rums, the best place to start is with its Gran Reserva which was aged for seven years to impart notes of dried fruits, honey, vanilla, and oak.

Product image of Dos Maderas 5+3 Rum with a plain white background
Dos Maderas 5+3 Rum | Image: Dos Maderas

2. Dos Maderas

  • Founder: Sir Andrew Williams and Arthur Humbert
  • Founded: 1877
  • Country of origin: Spain
  • Style: Dark

Dos Maderas translates to “two woods” in English and that’s because this line of rums is matured in two different types of wood. First, its expressions are aged in the Caribbean in oak casks before being shipped to Spain where the contents are transferred to sherry casks at Bodegas Williams & Humbert to spend more time maturing. If you’re new to the brand, you should start with its Dos Maderas 5+3. It’s known for its flavours of vanilla beans, honey, dried fruits, and gentle spices.

Product image of Bacardi Superior Rum with a plain white background
Bacardi Superior Rum | Image: Bacardi

3. Bacardi

  • Founder: Facundo Bacardi
  • Founded: 1862
  • Country of origin: Bermuda/Cuba
  • Style: White

In the rum world, there aren’t any names more well-known than Bacardi. Originally founded in Cuba, but now based in Bermuda, Bacardi is one of the largest family-owned spirits companies in the world. And although it has over 200 brands, its Bacardi rum is its most well-known. And, its most popular expression is its classic Bacardi Superior. This white rum is known for its vanilla and dried fruit flavours and mixability.

Product image of Botran 18 Year Old Solera 1893 Dark Rum with a plain white background
Botran 18 Year Old Solera 1893 Dark Rum | Image: Botran

4. Botran

  • Founder: Venancio, Andrés, Jesús, Felipe and Alejandro Botran
  • Founded: 1940
  • Country of origin: Guatemala
  • Style: Aged

Back in 1939, the Botran family decided to shift their focus from sugarcane production to rum. This is when they created Industria Licorera Quetzalteca in Guatemala. The first family to craft Guatemalan rum, the family still makes it the same way today. One of the brand’s most well-known expressions is its award-winning Botran Solera 1893, a blend of rums between five and 18 years. It’s known for its vanilla, oak, sweet sherry, dried fruits, and light spices.

Product image of Hampden Estate Estate 8 Years Old Pure Single Jamaican Rum with a plain white background
Hampden Estate Estate 8 Years Old Pure Single Jamaican Rum | Image: Hampden Estate

5. Hampden Estate

  • Founder: Archibald Sterling
  • Founded: 1779
  • Country of origin: Jamaica
  • Style: Spiced

One of the oldest sugar estates in Jamaica, Hampden Estate is located in the Queen of Spain Valley in Trelawny Parish. Its history can be traced back to 1753 as a sugar plantation and while the official beginning of rum production isn’t listed, by 1779 the Hampden Great House had been built to store rum. The brand makes myriad well-known expressions, but one of the best of its core range is Hampden Estate 8-Year Old with its notes of vanilla beans, honey, caramel apples, and rich oak.

Product image of Plantation Original Dark Double Aged Rum with a plain white background
Plantation Original Dark Double Aged Rum | Image: Plantation

6. Plantation

  • Founder: Alexandre Gabriel
  • Founded: 1999
  • Country of origin: Barbados
  • Style: Spiced

One of the most divisive spirits brands in the world, Plantation originally received its name from its founder Alexander Gabriel because it means large farm, and Gabriel himself grew up on a farm. In recent years, the brand has decided to rebrand because of the history of the term, but as of today still hasn’t announced a new name. While it makes a wide variety of rums, its most well-known is its Plantation Original Dark Rum with its flavours of molasses, wintry spices, dried fruits, and oak.

Product image of Barrell Rum Tale of Two Islands with a plain white background
Barrell Rum Tale of Two Islands | Image: Barrell Rum

7. Barrell Rum

  • Founder: Joe Beatrice
  • Founded: 2013
  • Country of origin: Kentucky
  • Style: Aged

If you know the name Barrell, you’re likely more well acquainted with its bourbon, but the brand also makes high-quality, flavorful rums. Even though it’s based in Kentucky, Barrell purchases rum casks from Caribbean distillers. They then re-barrel and finish the rum to create well-balanced, multi-dimensional limited-edition rums. One of its best, most unique expressions is its Tale of Two Islands. This Jamaican pot still rum was distilled and aged for eight years in traditional oak in Jamaica before being finished in Islay whisky casks.

Product image of Don Papa Rum with a plain white background
Don Papa Rum | Image: Don Papa

8. Don Papa

  • Founder: Stephen Carroll, Andrew John Garcia
  • Founded: 2012
  • Country of origin: The Philippines
  • Style: Dark

Named to pay tribute to hero Papa Isio, one of the main faces of the Philippine Revolution in the 1800s, Don Papa is a premium “single-island” rum located at the foot of an active volcano alongside sugar cane fields. Its flagship rum is aged for 7 years. The result is an amber-hued rum with memorable flavours of candied fruits, vanilla, honey, and oak. Ideal for sipping, it’s also a great rum to stock in your home bar for mixing.

Product image of The Real McCoy 12 Year Rum with a plain white background
The Real McCoy 12 Year Rum | Image: The Real McCoy

9. The Real McCoy

  • Founder: Bailey Pryor
  • Founded: 2013
  • Country of origin: Barbados
  • Style: Dark

Carrying on the tradition of naming rum brands after well-known historical figures, The Real McCoy gets its name from legendary Prohibition-era rum runner Bill McCoy. This line of well-regarded rums is sustainably sourced from well-known Barbados distillery Four Square. While the line is filled with gems, a great start is its 12-year-old expression featuring notes of tobacco, caramel, vanilla, oak, and light peppery spice at the finish.

Product image of Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 Solera Gran Reserva Rum with a plain white background
Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 Solera Gran Reserva Rum | Image: Ron Zacapa

10. Ron Zacapa

  • Founder: Alejandro Burgaleta
  • Founded: 1976
  • Country of origin: Guatemala
  • Style: Dark

Ran Zacapa is a fairly young rum brand when you compare it to some of the big names. Created in 1976, this Guatemalan brand was begun to pay homage to the eastern Guatemalan town of Zacapa on its 100th anniversary. If you’re only going to try one expression, make it Ron Zacapa 23 Centenario Rum. This solera-aged rum features notes of coffee beans, toasted marshmallows, vanilla, dried fruits, and oak.

Product image of Angostura 5 Year-Old Rum with a plain white background
Angostura 5 Year Old Rum | Image: Angostura

11. Angostura

  • Founder: Dr. Johann Siegert
  • Founded: 1824
  • Country of origin: Trinidad and Tobago
  • Style: Gold

If you’re a cocktail drinker, you’ve probably used a dash or two of Angostura bitters over the years to craft a flavorful drink. But the brand is also well-known for its rum prowess. And while you can’t go wrong with its Angostura Reserva, an aged rum that has its caramel colour removed through charcoal filtration, we suggest starting with Angostura 5-Year-Old. This five-column continuous still distilled rum is known for its flavours of tropical fruits, oak, vanilla, and light, warming spices.

Product image of Foursquare Indelible with a plain white background
Foursquare Indelible | Image: Foursquare

12. Foursquare

  • Founder: Reginald Leon Seale
  • Founded: 1926
  • Country of origin: Barbados
  • Style: Spiced

If you’re a rum fan, you should know the name Richard Seale. He’s the owner and distiller of Barbados’ Foursquare Distillery, likely the most respected rum distillery in the world. One of the most collectible rum brands, Foursquare is known to demand ridiculous prices on secondary markets. If you can get your hands on some, we suggest grabbing a bottle of one of its cask selections like Indelible with its notes of vanilla, dried fruits, and tropical fruits.

Product image of Rhum Barbancourt 5 Star Old Rum 8 Years Old with a plain white background
Rhum Barbancourt 5 Star Old Rum 8 Years Old | Image: Rhum Barbancourt

13. Rhum Barbancourt

  • Founder: Dupré Barbancourt
  • Founded: 1862
  • Country of origin: Haiti
  • Style: Aged

This Haitian-produced rum is crafted by Société du Rhum Barbancourt. One of the oldest businesses in Haiti, this pure sugar cane juice-based rum can trace its history back more than 150 years. Its founder Dupré Barbancourt was also the consul general of Liberia in Haiti. Its most well-known expression is Barbancourt 5 Star. Matured for a minimum of 8 years, it’s loaded with flavours like caramel, toffee, vanilla, dried fruits, that are all tempered with oaky, peppery spice.

Product image of Pusser’s Rum Gunpowder Proof with a plain white background
Pusser’s Rum Gunpowder Proof | Image: Pusser’s Rum

14. Pusser’s Rum

  • Founder: Charles Tobias
  • Founded: 1979
  • Country of origin: British Virgin Islands
  • Style: Gold

If there’s any brand carrying on the British naval tradition of rum, it’s Pusser’s. This British Virgin Islands-based brand was founded in the late 70s to continue to make rum using the traditional Royal Navy recipe that had been discontinued in 1970. Its most famous expression is the award-winning Pusser’s Rum Gunpowder Proof, a potent 109-proof rum with notes of butterscotch, oaky wood, cinnamon sugar, and various warming wintry spices.

Product image of El Dorado 5 Year Old with a plain white background
El Dorado 5 Year Old | Image: El Dorado

15. El Dorado

  • Founded: 1992
  • Country of origin: Guyana
  • Style: Dark

While the Dutch brought sugarcane farming to Guyana in the 1600s, it was the British who introduced rum distillation. By the 1700s, there were hundreds of estates growing sugarcane and producing rum. Today, there’s only one: Demerara Distillers. This is where El Dorado was launched in 1992 and remains one of the most respected brands today. While the brand makes numerous award-winning rums, we suggest beginning with its spicy, sweet, warming El Dorado 5 Year-Old.

Matusalem Gran Reserva 15YO | Image: Vintage Cellars
Matusalem Gran Reserva 15YO | Image: Vintage Cellars

16. Matusalem Rum

  • Founded: 1872
  • Founder: Benjamin and Eduardo Camp, Evaristo Alvarez
  • Country of origin: Dominican Republic
  • Style: Caribbean

When a release is referred to as ‘the cognac of rums’ then it better live up to expectations, and Matusalem Rum certainly does that. The aged rum has been triple distilled and features double filtering, resulting in a cristalino white rum that is delicate and subtly contemporary. That’s no small claim either, especially when you consider the brand has been around in some form or another for over 150 years. According to Tanya Mah, head of marketing at Amber Beverage, the Gran Reserva 15YO is the label’s best release, due to its complex flavour profile and refined finish.

“A unique blend of hand-crafted Rums in a 15-year ‘Solera’ system that marries French oak casks with mature spirits to create a Rum of superior quality,” Mah told us. “Complex yet velvety smooth, ideally served neat or on the rocks, it can also be used in premium cocktails.”

Product image of Don Q 151 Rum with a plain white background
Don Q 151 Rum | Image: Don Q

17. Don Q

  • Founded: 1932
  • Country of Origin: Puerto Rico
  • Style: Aged

One of the more versatile rum brands on this list, Don Q 151 Rum is a high-strength golden rum, that is aged for up to three years in oak barrels. The result is its signature flavour mix of vanilla, smoke and tobacco flavours. This rum is perfect to make a tropical or Tiki style drink.

Product image of Appleton Estate Signature Blend Jamaica Rum with a plain white background
Appleton Estate Signature Blend Jamaica Rum | Image: Appleton Estate

18. Appleton Estate

  • Founded: 1749
  • Country of Origin: Jamaica
  • Style: Spiced

This signature blend rum is perhaps Appleton Estate’s best-drop. Using the traditional method, this release is a combination of several rums of different styles and ages. This blend captures the best of each rum giving it complex flavours, perfect on its own or mixed with your favourite mixer.

Product image of Mount Gay Eclipse Rum with a plain white background
Mount Gay Eclipse Rum | Image: Mount Gay

19. Mount Gay

  • Founded: 1890
  • Country of Origin: Barbados
  • Style: Gold

Mount Gay Rum is widely recognised as the oldest rum in the world. Known for its taste and smoothness. Mount Gay Eclipse Rum is aged in charred, American oak barrels for a minimum of two years. Producing a marvellous, semi-sweet Rum that has flavours of apricot, banana and vanilla with a smokey finish.

Product image of Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva Rum with a plain white background
Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva Rum | Image: Diplomático Reserva

20. Diplomático Reserva

  • Founded: 1959
  • Country of Origin: Venezuela
  • Style: Dark

Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva is a dark rum and is made from a blend of 20.0% light column distilled rums with 80.0% pot still rums. That is then aged up to 12 years. This blend gives the rum a slight touch of sweetness and a distinctive flavour. perfect with your favourite mixer or on the rocks.

Product image of Gosling’s Rum Black Seal Rum with a plain white background
Gosling’s Rum Black Seal Rum | Image: Gosling’s Rum

21. Gosling’s Rum

  • Founded: 1806
  • Country of Origin: Bermuda
  • Style: Dark

The spirit that launched the Dark n Stormy, Gosling Black Seal rum is a full-flavoured dark rum, made from a combination of rums from both pot and continuous column stills which are aged slowly. This rum had been produced in Bermuda since 1806. As you drink flavours jump out, and you’ll taste butterscotch, vanilla and caramel. This rum is perfect on its own with ice or mixed.

Cargo Cult Dry Spiced Rum | Image: Dan Murphy's
Cargo Cult Dry Spiced Rum | Image: Dan Murphy’s

22. Cargo Cult

  • Founded: 2014
  • Founder: Jonny Croft
  • Country of origin: Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea
  • Style: Spiced

One for rum fans Down Under, Cargo Cult is a small batch spiced rum with ties to the South Pacific. Founded in 2014 by Jonny Croft, the label is best known for its blend of tropical flavour notes and infused releases, including the much-loved Banana Spiced Rum, but the standard Dry Spiced is among the most versatile rums in Australia. According to rum expert, Tanya Mah, the story of Cargo Cult begins with this release and harks back to the early days of South Pacific rum production.

“The founder – Jonny Croft – loved spiced rums but felt that many were too sweet so he created a dry spiced profile with no added sugar that was enhanced with natural spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and vanilla,” Mah said. “Cargo Cult is delicious with ginger beer and works brilliantly in cocktails.”

How is Rum Made?

It’s important to get a little refresher on what exactly rum is. Like whiskey, gin, vodka, and other alcoholic beverages, it’s a distilled spirit. But instead of being made from potatoes, corn, or barley, it’s a fermented and distilled beverage made from sugarcane juice or molasses. Pretty much anywhere sugar is made, you’ll find at least a few rum distilleries. This is why it’s such a popular spirit throughout the world.

What is Rum Made From?

Rum is a fermented and distilled spirit made from either sugarcane juice or sugarcane molasses. Like other spirits, after distillation, rum is a clear, sweet spirit. It can be bottled like this or aged in oak (and other) barrels.

Are there Rules for Making Rum?

Unlike some other spirits like tequila, cognac, and bourbon, there aren’t as many rules and regulations surrounding rum production. But even though you didn’t realize it, there are a few rules. To be called a rum, it must be made from sugarcane molasses, sugarcane juice, or sugarcane syrup. There are also various rules and classifications relating to where the rum is produced.

The Myth of Australian Rum

With so many distilleries popping up in Australia, it can be difficult to keep track of which brands are actually producing what the law considers rum to be. To be considered a rum, it must be distilled from sugar cane, taste like rum, and also be matured for at least two years (according to Australian law). There are also laws governing distilleries from misleading or deceptive product claims.

While rum in Australia is largely dominated by mainstream and mass-market brands (accounting for over 80% of volume, Mah reveals), the category is moving in a different direction. Much like the trends seen in whisky and gin, consumers are shifting towards premium offerings, but Mah says there is an ongoing category job to shift the perception of rum to a more premium segment.

“Rum is thought to be on the brink of a long-awaited renaissance, fueled by premium international and local craft brands,” Mah said “However, it will take significant investment to change the trajectory and to shift the perception of rum from a standard to a more premium category. The emergence of premium-aged rums is one of the most interesting developments. We’re starting to see rums that are far more complex and go beyond the ‘rum and cola’ and ‘pina-colada’ levels. Aged rums are more akin to a quality single malt or a congac and are delicious, neat or over ice.”

Types of Rum

  • White Rum: A popular rum for cocktailing, white rum is mild in flavour, sweet, and un-aged. It’s also the cheapest version of rum as it’s bottled right after distillation.
  • Gold Rum: The next step up is gold rum. This amber or light butterscotch-hued rum is aged for one or more years. Some brands add colouring. It has more vanilla, nutty, and fruit flavour than white rum.
  • Dark Rum: Dark rum is a confusing variety of this sugarcane-based spirit. This is because there are few rules regulating what constitutes as a dark rum. In the simplest terms, it’s a rum that has been aged in oak barrels and has more nuanced flavours than gold rum.
  • Aged Rum: Age-statement rums are exactly what they seem. While gold and dark rums don’t usually list their age, these types of rums make a point of listing 5, 7, or much longer so drinkers know what to expect with the more mature flavour profile.
  • Spiced Rum: Spiced rum is another variety that is exactly as it seems. Simply put, a spiced rum is a rum (or blend of rums) that’s been flavoured. Usual flavours include cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and other spices.
  • Rhum Agricole: Everything sounds more eloquent when written in French. This is true with Rhum Agricole which is simply a category of rum produced in the French territories of the Caribbean like Haiti, Guadeloupe, and Martinique.

Rum FAQs

What is the best-selling rum in the world?

According to the latest statistics from The Spirits Business, Tanduay Asian Rum is the best-selling rum brand in the world. The Philippine brand reported a double-digit increase in sales in 2022, jumping by 16.1% to 27.4 million cases worldwide.

Is rum halal in Islam?

No, rum and beer are non-wine alcoholic beverages that do not meet the conditions listed below and are thus strictly prohibited (haram) to consume.

What rum did pirates drink?

While the style of rum that pirates drank is largely undocumented, the primitive distillation processes of the time would suggest that these seafarers were consuming dark, pot-stilled Jamaican, Haitian and Martinican rum.