Top 10 American craft rum brandsBy Amy Hopkins
As rum continues its ascent up the premium ladder and American spirits fans retain their enthusiasm for all that is artisan, there has never been such an exciting time for the craft rum segment.
Along with Bourbon and gin, craft rum is quickly becoming a firm favourite among spirits connoisseurs as distillers continue to drive experimentation and push premiumisation in the category.
From the deep, chocolaty sweetness of dark rum, to the earthy vegetal charms of agricole, it’s no wonder the category attracts so many fans across the world.
In particular, as the second largest market in the world for rum, the US has seen extensive innovation in the craft rum sector over recent years, with new expressions, brands and distilleries launching on a regular basis.
But, with such a diverse array of fantastic American craft rum brands to choose, which stand out from the crowd?
Using a list of past winners as judged by the American Distillers Institute (ADI) in 2013, we compile a list of the top 10 American craft rum brands.
Has your favourite American craft rum brand been missed off this list? If so, let us know by leaving a comment.
Balcones Texas Rum
Chip Tate, master distiller at revered Texan distillery Balcones, extended his range of award winning spirits with a “category defining” Texas rum in 2013. Balcones Texas Rum, which was named best in category at the ADI’s 2013 competition, is an “overproof” rum bottled at 117 proof. Currently only available in the US, the rum is made from molasses and aged to in Balcones’ bespoke American and European oak barrels.
Old Ipswich Rum
Each bottle of Old Ipswich Rum has been hand selected from small five-gallon American white oak casks. The rum is created by Turkey Shore Distilleries based in Ipswich, Massachusetts, which opened in 2010. In the distillery’s rum portfolio sits the Old Ipswich Lab & Cask Reserve Rum, Old Ipswich “White Cap” Rum, Old Ipswich “Tavern Style” Rum, Old Ipswich “Greenhead” Spiced Rum, and Old Ipswich “Golden Marsh” Spiced Rum.
Dancing Pines Distillery Rum
Colorado’s Dancing Pines Distillery offers white, spiced, and cask craft rum bottlings which mark a “return to the colonial tradition” of distilling. The distillery ferments sugar cane molasses and distills the substance in an artisan copper pot still, before gently refining it. “The result is, a surprisingly aromatic, full bodied rum that carries delightful aroma from the molasses it was made with,” said the distillery. “Mix your favourite rum cocktail without loosing the flavour of the spirit.”
Wicked Dolphin Rum
Located a few miles away from Florida’s fertile sugarcane fields is Wicked Dolphin Distillery, which produces a range of award-winning artisan rums. The distillery’s Silver Rum is handcrafted in small batches using a coppers pot still, and then blended with rum aged in Kentucky Bourbon barrel. The brand’s spiced rum is said to offer notes of Florida oranges and honey with a creamy vanilla undertone and a spicy finish.
Three Sheets Rum
Ballastpoint Spirits’ Three Sheets white rum is created using pure sugar cane distilled in a hybrid pot and column still. The California distillery also offers a barrel-aged rum which is matured in virgin American oak barrels for two years and is said to offer notes of toffee, caramel, vanilla and tobacco.
The Real McCoy
Named after “America’s first rum runner” during Prohibition, Captain Bill McCoy, is The Real McCoy selection of aged rums. The range includes three, five and 12-year-old bottlings, which are all created at the Foursquare Distillery in Barbados, where the work is overseen by Master Distiller and Rum Hall of Fame inductee, Richard Seale.
Freshwater Michigan Rum
Freshwater Michigan Rum, produced by the Michigan-based New Holland Brewing Company, is created by fermenting molasses in-house and blending with high-proof cane spirit prior to barrel-ageing. The liquid is matured in a variety of barrels, including wine, 2nd-use whiskey and virgin casks, for a minimum of six months, before being filtered and bottled at 80 proof.
Due North Rum
Created by Brooklyn-based Van Brunt Stillhouse using organic, unprocessed sugar, Due North Rum is described as having a “delicate taste profile” which is suited to both rum and whiskey drinkers.
Rougaroux rum, created by Louisiana-based Donner-Peltier Distillers, is named after a mythical creature said to lurk in the sugarcane fields and swamps of Louisiana’s cajun country. The Rougaroux Sugarshine variant is a white rum bottled at 101 proof, which is said to deliver a “monstrous kick”. Also part of the brand’s range is the Rougaroux Full Moon Dark Rum, which has been aged in American white oak, and the Rougaroux 13 Pennie, a rum flavoured with toasted almonds.
Colorado’s Montanya Distillers is run by a group of female distillers, who create the high altitude range of Montanya Rums from only four ingredients: Colorado mountain water, yeast, sugar cane, and Colorado mountain honey. The distillery produces two core expressions – Montanya Platino Light Rum and Montanya Oro Dark Rum.