Rum usually brings to mind fruity drinks topped with umbrellas and summer days at the beach, but several top shelf brands want to change their image. Like other types of distillers, rum makers have started producing rare blends that are long aged, as well as small-batch and single barrel editions. Tropical temperatures where rum is made speeds up the aging process—making a 10-year-old rum the equivalent of a 30-year scotch. The price bump that comes with longer aged barrels comes from the amount of evaporation that occurs undergoes during aging. These brands will cost quite a bit more than your average bottle of rum, but don’t require a mixer. If you enjoy rum but are looking for something without a plastic sword and pineapple, check out these luxury rums that you can—and should—enjoy straight.
Facundo Exquisito ($90): Aromatic and initially sweet with complex notes of lavender honey, assam tea, mocha, and fresh tobacco—perfect for sipping.
El Dorado 21-year-old Demerara ($100): This velvety rum has notes of mocha and tobacco and is made in historic 200-year-old wooden pot stills.
Ron Abuelo Centuria ($140): A rich and spicy rum with notes of gingerbread and coffee, it was launched in 2011 to commemorate the Varela family’s 100th year of making rum.
Facundo Paraiso XA ($250): This rum is both concentrated and subtle with a unique finishing process in XO cognac barrels.
Origenes Reserva Don Pancho 30-year-old ($250): Made in Panama by legendary Cuban distiller Francisco “Don Pancho” Fernandez, only 600 bottles of this full-bodied rum with notes of fig, honey, vanilla, tobacco, and orange peel that can only be described as sensual.
Brugal Papá Andrés Alegria ($1,500): This light, silky rum was created by a fifth-generation member of the Brugal family from rums aged in a variety of casks and has notes of dried fruit and caramel.