12 January 2023

RumX Annual Report 2022 - Part 1

Another year lies behind us, which means a lot in the world of rum: Plenty of new rums that ended up in our tasting glasses or as bottles on our collection shelves; many great meetups, conversations and encounters with rum friends from various geographies; and some smaller, some larger rum tasting sessions with both newer releases as well as older, legendary all-time favorites. We’d like to thank you, our community members, for making these special moments happen, for living and breathing the spirit of a truly collaborative, caring, inspiring, sometimes controversial but always respectful community that helps all of us find, experience and exchange on our favorite spirits on the next level. And no, we did not come up with this conclusion after finishing our end-of-year rum session, it is backed by the sheer numbers that document what happened in RumX: From January to December 2022, 2,860 new rums were added to the database and 56,537 new community ratings were entered – this is more than double the amount we had seen in 2021! YOU ROCK!

But we get it, you did not come here to read about how proud we are of this community (but we are so happy about it that we’ll simply have to reconfirm this time and again!). Let’s go on with some lovely black on white facts and figures. So, from a more quantitative perspective, what did make the rum world go round in the past year? Which new releases were the top-rated ones according to our awesome (Oops... I did it again) RumX community? Which (independent) bottlers landed the highest average scores across all their 2022 releases? And which other funny, surprising or simply noteworthy facts did we come across when reviewing our 2022 data? Well... let’s check it out!

Top rums released in 2022

We’re kicking off our review with the Oscar’s of the RumX world - so to say the equivalent of the best actor in a leading role: The top rum of 2022!

Criteria: We only considered rums that were released in 2022 and got at least 25 community ratings. This obviously has some downsides – we’ve seen some limited releases with undoubtedly high-quality liquids inside that did not make it to our list, simply because there were not enough community ratings. Another aspect is the potential advantage for rums that were released in the beginning of the year, versus those coming towards year-end. We’ve assessed and discussed the lists countless times without ever coming to the one outcome that seemed to satisfy all aspects – but we agreed on a central aspect: We want this to be a community-based ranking. This means, we had to strike a balance between having as many individual user tastings as possible for our rums, while also not limiting the group of candidates too heavily by applying too restrictive entry criteria.

Hidden Champions of 2022

Since all hard limitations will inevitably result in tough decisions, we’d like to start our review with our list of the top five rums released in 2022 that would have ended up in the list based on their average ratings but did not get the required number of tastings.

We’d therefore like to call this list our “Hidden Champions of 2022”:

RX12843
1
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum The Golden Age of Piracy Charles Vane

92.62/100

13 reviews
The Golden Age of Piracy Charles Vane
Distilia • Long Pond
1983   38 years   52,5%   €€€€
RX12425
2
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Greenheart REV

92.0/100

16 reviews
Greenheart REV
Distilia • Enmore (Versailles)
1994   28 years   50,2%   €€€€
RX14100
3
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Rumclub Private Selection Ed. 32 C<>H

91.33/100

21 reviews
Rumclub Private Selection Ed. 32 CH
Spirit of Rum • Hampden
1990   32 years   54,51%   €€€€
RX12203
4
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Guyana Single Cask Rum REV

90.75/100

16 reviews
Guyana Single Cask Rum REV
The Rum Cask • Enmore
1994   27 years   53,5%   €€€€
RX12050
5
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum The Royal Cane Cask Company

90.47/100

15 reviews
The Royal Cane Cask Company
Infinity Spirits • New Yarmouth
1994   27 years   60,3%   €€€€

Some truly remarkable releases – and who knows, maybe some more users will get the chance to try them in future and help to get them into the all-time favorites list in our 2023 annual report...?

Best rums of 2022

But enough of the foreplay. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re proudly presenting our rum releases of the year 2022! And the winner is... the Spirit of Rum Private Selection Edition 22 Enmore 1994 REV! Released almost a year ago by the time this report was published, it confirmed the impressive quality of the REV marque. Even though we’ve seen some other remarkable REV releases from the 1994 vintage in the past years, this cask righteously claimed its spot at the top-end of the scale. The Spirit of Rum team definitely went on a streak in 2022 and kept delivering very well-received releases: In total we found three of their 2022 releases in our top 10 (not to forget that their Edition 32, the Hampden 1990, missed the list only due to four missing tastings... please check the “Hidden champions of 2022” for the full details). Long story short: We tip our hats to the Spirit of Rum team in Berlin!

“The recognition as the best rum release is based on the verdict of many rum lovers in the RumX community - which means the outcome has a high acceptance. Thanks a lot!

To me it is always exciting to taste cask samples - will the rum meet the expectations or not? In the case of the REV 1994 it was love at the first sip!“

On rank 2 we find another outstanding release, this time from Jamaica’s Hampden distillery: The Salon du Rhum Hampden 1990. This year’s festival bottling for the rum fair in Belgium turned out to be a real gem – not only Serge over at whiskyfun.com belongs to its fans (or should we say ‘lovers’?). An outstanding rum for sure – this year’s list features only two rums that reached an average rating of more than 90 points!

“When we had the great opportunity to test the 1990 rum, one word came to mind: this rum has EVERYTHING we like. Exotic fruits, a funky side, a very nice length, a superb balance... we immediately loved this selection!“

Finishing on rank 3, we also welcome Swell de Spirits’ T.D.L Private Garden No.1 on the winner’s podium. Even though slightly falling short of the 90 points mark this one is still a worthy runner-up to our rum of the year. We’ve seen quite some highly regarded releases from T.D.L recently and Swell de Spirit’s selection is nothing less than a perfect example of the impressive quality of the early 2000s vintages.

“Our initial reaction when tasting this rum was just wow - this is the most complex Rum! Thanks a lot to the people who trust us and the team at RumX! We are feeling honored, this means that we are doing our job to select the best Rum casks out there for all of you. Thanks to Fabien and the team from Clos des Spiritueux for the great collaboration!“

RX11613
1
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Rumclub Private Selection Ed. 22 REV

92.0/100

43 reviews
Rumclub Private Selection Ed. 22 REV
Spirit of Rum • Enmore
1994   27 years 7mo   54,5%   €€€€
RX11796
2
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Jamaica C<>H

90.12/100

26 reviews
Jamaica CH
Salon du Rhum • Hampden
1990   31 years   54,5%   €€€€
RX13297
3
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Private Garden No.1 Clos des Spiritueux

89.0/100

37 reviews
Private Garden No.1 Clos des Spiritueux
Swell de Spirits • T.D.L
2000   22 years   57,5%   €€€
RX11797
4
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Jamaica C<>H

88.96/100

25 reviews
Jamaica CH
Salon du Rhum • Hampden
1993   28 years   57,8%   €€€€
RX13155
5
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Wild Series Rum Jamaica No. 32 HGML

88.46/100

28 reviews
Wild Series Rum Jamaica No. 32 HGML
Romdeluxe • Hampden
2020   2 years 1mo   86%   €€€€
RX13842
6
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum S.B.S Guyana SWR

88.19/100

27 reviews
S.B.S Guyana SWR
1423 World Class Spirits • Skeldon
2001   21 years   54,1%   €€€
RX13230
7
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Private Cask (Rumclub Private Selection)

88.03/100

40 reviews
Private Cask (Rumclub Private Selection)
Spirit of Rum • Depaz
2010   11 years   59,7%   €€€
RX12796
8
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Les Ephémères - N°1

87.99/100

98 reviews
Les Ephémères - N°1
Saint James
2001   20 years   55,2%   €€€
RX12424
9
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum No. 15 REV

87.87/100

30 reviews
No. 15 REV
Nobilis Rum • Enmore (Versailles)
2006   16 years   56,6%   €€€
RX12147
10
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Rumclub Private Selection Ed. 25 DOK

87.58/100

60 reviews
Rumclub Private Selection Ed. 25 DOK
Spirit of Rum • Hampden
2009   12 years   58,2%   €€€

Comparing this year’s top list to the one of 2021, it appears as if the overall quality of rum has decreased a bit. In 2021, we had six rum releases that scored an average of 90 or more points, we went down to two in 2022. Interestingly even our rank 3, Swell de Spirits T.D.L, would not have ended up in last year's top ten where the lowest average score was 89.23 points. Nonetheless, this year’s list features a bit more variety than the previous one: We see both Agricole and Molasses-based rums in the ranks that originate from six different distilleries in four countries. The usual suspects remain the same though – Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad remain the most prominent countries among the community.

Accordingly, most of the rums released could probably be described as “well-established quality benchmarks”: Most of the releases show marques and vintages of their respective distilleries that we have already seen multiple times before. In the case of the Enmore 1994 REV, the Hampden 1993 and the Diamond 2001 we even find the exact same combination of distillery, marque and vintages in both the 2021 and this year’s list again.

But to be clear: We are not arguing about quality here at all. As much as we love to encounter new styles, flavors and directions that rum can take – don’t we all like to have our well-known favorites at home that we keep turning to again and again? And if anyone can find another outstanding cask from any of these vintages – just keep them coming!

Top rums rated 2022

Sticking to our comparison with the Oscar’s we’re now turning from main actor over to the lifetime awards. In other words: Which rums were the best rated ones based on the tastings added by the community in 2022? The criteria for this ranking are a bit easier than the previous one: We considered all rums in the database (independent of their release date) that got at least 25 community ratings in 2022.

And we feel reminded of last year’s ranking indeed since we again get to praise Velier’s “The Last” Caroni released in 2019. The total of 52 tastings made in 2022 resulted in an average of 93.02 points, which means they fell slightly below the 94.1 points from 2021’s annual report – but the score is still breathtakingly high of course.

The second rank goes to another release from Velier and one of the already legendary Demeraras that Luca Gargano bottled a while ago – the Uitvlugt ULR 1997 released in 2014. 26 ratings in 2022 resulted in an average score of 92.35 points (about 0.8 points up from 2021). This bottling is one of the most prominent representatives of DDL’s legendary Savalle still and a testament to Velier’s landmark position among the rum bottling companies.

Up next we find two representatives from German bottler Rum Artesanal which again recall sweet memories from 2021’s top releases of the year list. Our 2021 rum of the year, the Rockley 1986, finished second after the Hampden 1990 – even though the difference in scores is only 0.11 points. The overall ratings confirm the quality of the liquids either way, with their average they are even slightly ahead of this year’s frontrunner from Spirit of Rum. We consider this as yet another proof that for most of our beloved distilleries certain vintages and marques simply stand out, as both the 1990 Hampdens as well as the 1986 Rockleys showcase time and again. Next one up is our rum release of 2022, Spirit of Rum’s Enmore REV 1994, which again is only nuances behind in terms of the overall score. A really strong field with some absolutely stunning bottlings representing different rum styles.

Looking at the full list, the dominance of Jamaica and Guyana remains striking – especially releases from Hampden appear to be absolute crowd pleasers to the RumX community. Half of the top 10 rums in our list stem from the distillery in the Trelawny Parish with the oldest vintage (1983) being almost 20 years apart than the youngest one (2002). Also, Guyana remains an evergreen in our top lists – in combination with Velier’s iconic black bottles the chances of not having an outstanding Demerara representative in your hands remain small anyhow.

One last note on the bottlers behind these releases – we once again have to express our deep respect for the impressive story that Dominik Marwede wrote during his time at Heinz Eggert / Rum Artesanal. With a total of four releases from his time at the company in the top 10, he put Rum Artesanal on eye level with Italian bottler Velier, headed by the living rum legend Luca Gargano, and clearly ahead of other renowned rum bottlers like Plantation.

RX38
1
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum 39th Release The Last Heavy Trinidad Rum

93.02/100

52 reviews
39th Release The Last Heavy Trinidad Rum
Velier • Caroni
1996   23 years   61,9%   €€€€
RX516
2
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum ULR

92.35/100

26 reviews
ULR
Velier • Uitvlugt
1997   17 years   59,7%   €€€€
RX7787
3
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Rum Artesanal Jamaica Rum (HD Distillery) C<>H

92.23/100

26 reviews
Rum Artesanal Jamaica Rum (HD Distillery) CH
Heinz Eggert GmbH • Hampden
1990   30 years   57,8%   €€€€
RX7784
4
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Rum Artesanal Barbados Rum Rockley Style BBR

92.12/100

26 reviews
Rum Artesanal Barbados Rum Rockley Style BBR
Heinz Eggert GmbH • West Indies
1986   34 years 1mo   53,7%   €€€€
RX11613
5
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Rumclub Private Selection Ed. 22 REV

92.0/100

43 reviews
Rumclub Private Selection Ed. 22 REV
Spirit of Rum • Enmore
1994   27 years 7mo   54,5%   €€€€
RX88
6
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Warren Khong <H> <>H

91.82/100

28 reviews
Warren Khong H
Velier • Hampden
2010   7 years   62%   €€€€
RX121
7
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Rum Artesanal Guyana Rum REV

91.48/100

25 reviews
Rum Artesanal Guyana Rum REV
Heinz Eggert GmbH • Enmore
1994   25 years 10mo   51,4%   €€€€
RX328
8
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Rum Artesanal Jamaica High Ester Rum HGML

91.2/100

30 reviews
Rum Artesanal Jamaica High Ester Rum HGML
Heinz Eggert GmbH • Hampden
1983   35 years   58,9%   €€€€
RX5340
9
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum C<>H

90.34/100

38 reviews
CH
Habitation Velier • Hampden
2010   10 years   68,5%   €€€€
RX10636
10
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Plantation Jamaica HJF

90.24/100

42 reviews
Plantation Jamaica HJF
Maison Ferrand • Hampden
2002   19 years   70,3%   €€€

Most tasted rums released in 2022

On to the next category, the most tasted rum releases from 2022. Again, criteria first: We look at all rums released in 2022 and sort them by total number of tastings added. So yes, this should again give those rums an edge that came to market in the early months of the year, but we still felt this might be fun to look at. Even though we see a lot of releases from the first half of 2022, we still have representatives like Velier’s Long Pond Cambridge STCE 2010 in the list as well that had its very first appearance to the public only in October at Whisky Live in Paris.

But more interestingly, this year’s most tasted rum is an Agricole from Martinique, Saint James’ Les Ephémères No. 1 from 2001. Looking at the average rating of almost 88 points it doesn’t really surprise to see this one gaining a lot of attention – especially at the release price of only slightly above 100 Euros. Rank 2 goes to one of the latest discoveries of Luca Gargano from Velier, Haiti’s Clairins. The Sajous from 2017 was aged for its entire four years in former Lustau Oloroso Casks and released in early 2022, which back then put it among the oldest Sajous releases to date. Following the average score of 81.28 points this one could not quite keep up with the Saint James, but obviously still managed to grab the attention of the community. Rank 3 goes to another big name in the rum world, Barbados Foursquare distillery and their 2007 vintage release called Sovereignty.

What else? Releases from Jamaica dominate this ranking with five different rums originating from three distilleries, namely Long Pond, Clarendon and... well, you guessed it, Hampden. No Guyana represented this time, instead we found our very own release from Saint Lucia Distillers selected with our friends from Grape of the Art in the top 10 as well – thanks to everyone in the RumX community!

RX12796
1
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Les Ephémères - N°1

87.99/100

98 reviews
Les Ephémères - N°1
Saint James
2001   20 years   55,2%   €€€
RX11818
2
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Clairin Vieux Sajous Lustau Oloroso Cask

81.28/100

78 reviews
Clairin Vieux Sajous Lustau Oloroso Cask
Velier • Chelo
2017   4 years   56,7%   €€
RX11721
3
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Exceptional Cask Selection XIX Sovereignty

86.44/100

75 reviews
Exceptional Cask Selection XIX Sovereignty
Foursquare
2007   14 years   62%   €€€
RX11980
4
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Pure Single Jamaican Rum Classic HLCF

81.77/100

71 reviews
Pure Single Jamaican Rum Classic HLCF
Hampden
2017   4 years   60%   €€
RX12008
5
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Canerock

72.4/100

70 reviews
Canerock
Maison Ferrand • Clarendon
40%   €
RX13414
6
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Cambridge STC❤️E

85.16/100

61 reviews
Cambridge STC❤️E
Velier • Long Pond
2010   12 years   57%   €€€
RX12147
7
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Rumclub Private Selection Ed. 25 DOK

87.62/100

61 reviews
Rumclub Private Selection Ed. 25 DOK
Spirit of Rum • Hampden
2009   12 years   58,2%   €€€
RX11670
8
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Chairman‘s Reserve Master's Selection (Grape of the Art & RumX)

87.55/100

60 reviews
Chairman‘s Reserve Master's Selection (Grape of the Art...
Saint Lucia Distillers
2005   15 years   61,5%   €€€
RX11754
9
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Plantation Jamaica One-Time MSP

76.62/100

56 reviews
Plantation Jamaica One-Time MSP
Maison Ferrand • Clarendon
2007   15 years   48,4%   €€
RX13392
10
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Les Ephémères - N°7

85.08/100

49 reviews
Les Ephémères - N°7
Saint James
2007   15 years   54,3%   €€€

Most purchased rums in 2022

We’re closing part one of our annual review with the list of the most purchased rums in 2022. The name implies the underlying criteria already, but to be technically precise here is the guiding principle for this list: We consider all rums from the database and sort them by number of bottles that were added to our community members’ collections in 2022. In addition, we also checked the “open rate”, i.e. the number of bottles that were opened in relation to the total number of bottles added. And while we are aware that not everyone immediately updates their collection status as soon as a new bottle is opened, these values might give an indication of which rums are primarily bought for drinking and which are rather considered a collector’s item or even an investment/trade object.

But let’s start off with having a look at the top spots of this list. Interestingly, we found exactly those three rums again that already landed in the highest ranks of our most tasted top list. With 227 bottles added to our users’ collections, the 2001 Les Ephémères by Saint James (open rate: 8.4%) wasn’t only the most tasted rum in the past twelve months, but also the one with the highest number of bottles added. Rank 2 goes to Foursquare’s nineteenth release of their Exceptional Cask Selection series called Sovereignty which was added 206 times (open rate: 8.3%) to our users’ collections. Rank 3 is then taken by the second most tasted rum in 2022, Velier’s 2017 Sajous aged in ex-Lustau Oloroso Casks which was added 163 times (open rate: 12.3%).

This duplication among the two lists seems to make sense: the more bottles are bought; the more people get to enjoy the rum. Interestingly, the open rates of these rums are at the lower end of the scale; the number of tasting notes added is four to five times higher than the number of opened bottles for each of these releases. Knowing that all three releases were quite sought after and sold out quickly, we normally don’t see too many chances to get our hands on one or more bottles of these rums (at least on the primary market). It makes us even more happy to see that the high numbers of tasting notes could also be achieved thanks to the various bottle splits among the community, many of them organized in our community forum (again, kudos to our community for sharing the rum passion in this way!). So even though quite some bottles are now stored somewhere in cupboards, home bars or cellars, these rums still find their ways into the noses, mouths and maybe sometimes also the hearts of us rum lovers – which is what they were made for, right?

RX12796
1
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Les Ephémères - N°1

89/100

104 reviews
Les Ephémères - N°1
Saint James
2001   20 years   55,2%   €€€
RX11721
2
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Exceptional Cask Selection XIX Sovereignty

87/100

79 reviews
Exceptional Cask Selection XIX Sovereignty
Foursquare
2007   14 years   62%   €€€
RX11818
3
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Clairin Vieux Sajous Lustau Oloroso Cask

83/100

79 reviews
Clairin Vieux Sajous Lustau Oloroso Cask
Velier • Chelo
2017   4 years   56,7%   €€
RX13406
4
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Great House (Distillery Edition 2022)

85/100

54 reviews
Great House (Distillery Edition 2022)
Hampden
7 years   55%   €€€
RX11754
5
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Plantation Jamaica One-Time MSP

79/100

59 reviews
Plantation Jamaica One-Time MSP
Maison Ferrand • Clarendon
2007   15 years   48,4%   €€
RX13392
6
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Les Ephémères - N°7

86/100

54 reviews
Les Ephémères - N°7
Saint James
2007   15 years   54,3%   €€€
RX11980
7
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Pure Single Jamaican Rum Classic HLCF

83/100

73 reviews
Pure Single Jamaican Rum Classic HLCF
Hampden
2017   4 years   60%   €€
RX13414
8
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Cambridge STC❤️E

86/100

71 reviews
Cambridge STC❤️E
Velier • Long Pond
2010   12 years   57%   €€€
RX12147
9
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Rumclub Private Selection Ed. 25 DOK

88/100

64 reviews
Rumclub Private Selection Ed. 25 DOK
Spirit of Rum • Hampden
2009   12 years   58,2%   €€€
RX11613
10
Image of the front of the bottle of the rum Rumclub Private Selection Ed. 22 REV

93/100

44 reviews
Rumclub Private Selection Ed. 22 REV
Spirit of Rum • Enmore
1994   27 years 7mo   54,5%   €€€€

Still thirsty for more statistics and exciting insights? Click here for the second part of our annual review.

Comments

What was your personal rum highlight in 2022? Did you have the opportunity to taste the winners and what were your impressions?