Best Rums for a newbie?

Hi Everyone,

This is my first post on RumX as well as being very new to the world of Rums. I recently went out and brought a bottle of El Dorado 15 that was on special offer at a local supermarket and have to say was quite disappointed. Perhaps my pallet isn’t mature enough for that bottle but it was very heavy on the ethanol/ alcohol content.

I love rum cocktails, especially tropical cocktails like fresh daiquiris, Mai Tai, penicillin, Mojito, etc and thought I would try sipping rums. I guess I chose the wrong bottle to start on?

Can somebody recommend a good rum to start with that is mild on the ethernol notes and perhaps more tropical or sweet.

I would also love to hear people’s opinions of the El Dorado 15.

Thanks for any tips! :slight_smile:


Hey Myatix,
Welcome to the community.

Maybe this is a topic you might want to read, since a lot of people have answered your question. But from a different standpoint :wink:

If you really want to know what suits you best, there is no other way than trying out. And dont worry your El Dorado 15 wont be the last rum you wont enjoy.

(I also didnt enjoy any of the El Dorado Standard range at the beginning of my rum journey.)



Don’t worry, this is never about the maturity of the palate. Try to find a rum that you like at the moment, It is absolutely normal that you didn’t find the right one with the first blind but :slight_smile: Don’t loose hope :slight_smile:

Alcohol evaporates faster than the majority of things in rum so letting your glass “breathe” (meaning: pour and go do something else, then coome back and drink) might help you get rid of the alcoholic smell and taste. This is important especially with freshly open bottles.
Other thing that you can do is to dillute the rum with water before drinking. It reduces the proof (if the harshness of the alcohol is your problem) and modifies the palate, causing some aromas and flavours to come up and others to disappear.

I recently had RX15450, also from El Dorado, despite high-proof the alcohol was so well integrated that you could not feel the proof at all. This will probably be difficult to get but it’s the least-alcoholic rum I’ve tried.

If you want to go tropical direction, I point Jamaican rums without hesitation. Sweet is a subject itself… Many deplore the addition of sugar in the post-distillation operation, however, the sweetened rums are more approachable if you are not used to spirits neat. I myself begun the rum journey after getting impressed by Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva RX3. The Dictador’s 20 RX30 is also very accessible, as well as the Basic Plantation RX1. Be warned that these three may appear syrypy and thick, but (for me) are outstanding in the sweetened rum category.

Ah, and the last remark, but the most important one. If you aim at defining your preferences, don’t waste your cash for the full bottles you might want to get rid of after the first sip. I recommend samples instead - which is the speciality of this community.

Again, welcome to the rum world and I hope you will find your favourites soon :slight_smile:


My best advice to newbies.

  1. Rest the rum for at least 15 minutes.

  2. Take a sip and swirl it on your palate/chew it. This prepares your palate.

  3. Wait a few minutes and take another sip. Smell the rum now because your nose is now ready as well.

  4. Wait a few more minutes and take sip number 3 and this is where the magic happens and your palate and nose is really ready.

Some rums may need to rest for longer. I’ve tried some that rested over an hour at a tasting!

Start with rums in the 40-45% range and in the sweeter segment.

If you got the new 15 year El Dorado it’s without sugar (gold/black line on the bottle). The older version had a good shot of sugar.

That was my five cents :tumbler_glass:

New and old (red line) version :blush:


The one i have in my shelf for absolute newbies is Rum Nation Peruano or Matusalem 15.



Hi All,

Thanks for the really great feedback! Yes it is the new El Dorado 15 and not the old bottle. I have previously enjoyed some whisky but I have to say I was a bit put off by the first attempt with the El Dorado 15.

I will try it again and let it breathe a bit… I must admit I thought about making a rum fashioned but that’s not really sipping rum it’s a cocktail. :wink:

What rums do people recommend? Based on my previous thoughts?

I thought about the

  • Appleton 8 or 12
  • Plantation 5 year (Barbados)
  • Plantation XO

Any thoughts on these?


Out of those I would recommend the Plantation XO for an absolute beginner. I think its the most widely used sipping rum (at least in germany) and for a good reason. It is sweetened and the age is unclear. But you get a nice sipping rum at an entry level price and “complexity”.


Thanks for this great advice and the words of encouragement. :slight_smile:


I’d have to agree with @Leo that the Plantation XO is a great rum for beginner to intermediate :slight_smile:


@KevinDK I noticed that your in Denmark/ Copenhagen. Do you know where a good place is to taste a few of these sipping rums before buying a whole bottle?

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I would also recommend the Plantation XO, followed by the Zacapa Sistema Solera 23. It is also sweetened and honey-like, but a bit more complex and has a great range of different tastes. And you can get it for under 50 €.


If you enjoy whisky, then I think going down the sweet route might not be the right one, you will find rum one dimensional. At least for me that was the case. Until I smelled a Hampden, I would go with that for a start.


Another Rum that reminds me a bit of Whisky is the Angostura 1919. It is a bit peaty, smoky and malty. Maybe it is not sweet enough for you, but for about 28-30 € you might want to give it a try.


Maybe try brugal 1888 very light easy to sip
Flor de cana 12 very light easy rum
Try some Spanish style rums
There style is light

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My best guess is Rombo good selection and sampling is usually not a problem.