Are there objective differences in taste in individual bottlings? (Single Cask or Small Batch)

This is a topic bothering me for a while and I’d like to hear your opinion on this.

For my question I focus on limited bottlings (Single Casks and small or not-so-small batched limited offers) and not general blended standard rums - although this might be an interesting question as well.

This question is motivated by the sometimes drastically divergent tasting notes and recurring questions in other online forums (e.g. Reddit).
Most recently the different perceptions of the two El Dorado PMs (1997 / 1999) triggered me. I found the 1997 hardly drinkable because of sourness and alcohol integration and I like the 1999 very much, but for a lot of reviewers, it seems to be the other way around.

My question actually consists of two different hypotheses I want to verify.

  1. Can individual bottles of spirit go bad - like in wine?
    I have my doubts that this can happen, oxidation changes spirits much less than wine, but wrong storage of bottles may cause errors like a “cork”-note. I experienced cork wines a lot in wine, but I have never experienced it in spirits (I have a Mezcal with a plastic cork that fell off when I opened the bottle and the spirit tastes heavily like glue and dissolvers but I’m unsure whether this is a bug or a feature)

  2. Are all bottles of small-batch rums consistent?

I’ve seen a lot of pictures and videos of bottlings of single cask rums. Maybe the first few bottles are different from the last few bottles as more sediments may go into the bottle if they’re not filtered like the Blackadder Raw Casks, but in one Barrel there shouldn’t be a significant difference.

For a small or not-so-small batched rum (think of Bellamys 2012 Guyana, Plantation One Time Limited Editions, El Dorado Rare Cask) I’m unsure how this is done. While a rather small batch like the Bellamys 2012 can probably blended from all relevant casks before bottling, can this be done for bigger batches as well? With a blending infrastructure as DDL has it, it may not be a problem at all, maybe it’s done in several smaller batches.

If both hypotheses can be ruled out, the only remaining factor is the individual taste.

What do you think? Can objective taste differences occur for the same rum or are all differences just reflections of individual taste?


Interesting questions.
I don’t think rums can go bad, I never had a cork problem either.

But the consistency in batches is a real question. I experienced differences in Caroni 100th Anniversary Navy Rum. My first bottle (bought in Switzerland) was quite strong on the mechanical workshop and the second one (bought in Italy) less. I thought it may be my perceptions and I waited a little as the Caronis are getting better with oxidation. But at the end these two rums were a bit different. I tasted also an open bottle of a friend and this one too was quite lighter on the mechanical workshop aromas. Even more than mine.

I also noted a lot of differences of feeling and rating with the Caroni 1994 Velier RX147. My bottle was magical and some other people were quite disappointed.

I can add also the el Dorado Versailles 2002 RX125 which was really diversely rated.

Is there a consistency problem ?


Thanks for sharing your experience!

You’ve actually been able to taste the differences side by side and other people could confirm this? That’s very interesting.

There is a hypothesis we should add:

Is oxidation the only factor in objective differences in taste - or how big is the effect of oxidation?

For my personal taste, this is different with each rum, as some change drastically while other stay rather consistent. Especially differences in smoothness and alcohol integration could be narrowed down to oxidation - on the other hand my freshly opened PM 1999 never had alcohol integration issues.


Bei einem nicht gefilterten Rum mag es vielleicht vorstellbar sein, dass die Sedimente einen geringen Einfluss haben, aber bei einem gefilterten ist das definitiv unwahrscheinlich…es sei denn, die Flaschen würden zu verschiedenen Zeitpunkten abgefüllt. Was ich aber nicht glaube.
Bei einer Abfüllung aus einem Fass (Single cask) dürfte kein Unterschied feststellbar sein, außer der persönliche Geschmack…
Beim Blenden verschiedener Fässer einer Charge kann ich mir aber durchaus vorstellen, das es geschmackliche Unterschiede gibt. Die Anteile der jeweiligen Fässer dürften nicht immer gleich sein. Und wie unterschiedlich die Aromen von Schwesterfässern sind konnte man ja oft feststellen.


Ich denke Lagerung ist auch ein entscheidender Faktor. In Spirituosengeschäften kann man manchmal Flaschen aus dem Schaufenster verkosten/kaufen, die dann fürchterlich schmecken, weil sie dem Sonnenlicht ausgesetzt waren.
Temperatur und Trockenheit bei der Lagerung sind weitere Punkte, die sich nach längerer Zeit sicher auf den Geschmack auswirken.


My friends tasting the two bottles at home said the same (between the two bottles) and my other friend was disappointed with his (he bought it because of the first bottle). But I never tasted them side to side. Has anyone ?


Speaking of oxidation it’s for me clear it has a huge influence on certain rums.
I bought a bottle of Caroni Velier 17yo RX60 and was suspicious about a possible fake due to the low price.
Just after opening it, I thought it was a fake because I could not recognize a Caroni, a lot of fruits, some glue but no mechanical workshop.

Only a few days after, with oxidation, the true Caroni aromas were there. Of course there was some stress, but the impression was clear. Has anyone had the same impression ?


Yes, that’s true. UV needs definitely to be added to the list!

We should do a oxidation, uv crosstasting. 3x 2 cl samples: 1 properly stored, 1 stored in a open glas for one night, closed bottle put into a UV sterilization tool :smiley:

But I don’t want to destroy good rum for science.


Naja 6cl von nem Rum mit eindeutigen Geschmacksprofil wirst du doch noch entbehren können.


Schon, aber wenn ich es alleine mache, ist es nicht objektiv genug. Idealerweise nicht nur mehere Tester, sondern auch mehrere Rums. Die außerdem alle frisch geöffnet werden müssten.

Ich denke da nochmal drauf rum. Vielleicht mache ich einen “For the Science” Split in dem ich das anbiete.

Was für ein Rum müsste es denn sein, um das sinnvoll zu prüfen? Aus Kostengründen sollte er nicht zu teuer sein, aber High Proof, High Congeners und ungesüßt sollte es schon sein, damit das einigermaßen vergleichbar mit unseren Fällen ist. Der Rum braucht ja schon genug Grundgeschmack, damit das überhaupt auffällt.

Edit. Kandiaten, die ich bei Rum & Co angefiltert habe:

  • Der Bellamys 2012 wäre schon ein Kandidat, 70€/0,7l, 50%.
  • Hampden Overproof HLCF für ca. 80€/0,7, 60%
  • Plantation Guyana 2007 (Single Cask), 70€/0,7l, 53,6%
  • CDI Mauritius 11yo Cognac oder 13 yo Armagnac beide 80€/l, 57,8%/53,1%


  • La Maison du Rhum Trinidad 2009 Batch #4, 65€/0,7 55%

I have tried many a rum where they needed oxidation before really opening up. The first glass was sometimes so so but after a few weeks on the shelf it matured a lot in the flavours.

I agree that if the bottles are subjected to sunlight they will change!!!