NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- From Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island to Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, rum has been the favored drink of pirates for ages. Bottles of rum have inspired countless sea shanties and beachside freak outs.
Rum is made from sugarcane juice or molasses, and it's thought to have been first distilled in Caribbean sugarcane plantations in the 17th century. Barbados is traditionally though to be the location of the first distillery, though rum was also produced in Brazil in the early 17th century.
Today, rum is produced all over the world, with many of the best distilleries in the Caribbean, Brazil, and several other countries. But the question is, what is the best bottle of rum?
This list collects 10 of the best rum winners of the 2014 International Wine & Spirits Competition to help you choose which is the best rum for you.
Rhum Agricole Vieux Niesson
Rhum Agricole Vieux Niesson comes from Neisson Distillery in Martinique, which has been distilling spirits since 1931. Rhum Agricole is a French term for cane juice rum, which sets this apart from the other bottles of rum on this list.
Here are the notes the IWSC judges took of the drink:
"Medium bright gold colour. Nose leads with ripe fruit, treacle and rich, brown sugar aromatics. Complex characters of citrus, ginger and caramel follow. Well managed entry with supple flow and great distribution of flavours. Molasses, treacle, caramel and vanilla all in beautiful balance with fine oak support. Great complexity in elegant presentation. Long, slow finish where everything repeats. Very satisfying and rewarding."
A 700ml bottle of Rhum Agricole Vieux Niesson costs about 48 euros.
Angostura Gran Anejo 7 YO
The Angostura Gran Anejo 7 year old rum is the last from Angostura on this list. The company is second only to Demerara Distillers in terms of bottles with awards from the IWSC. The difference is Angostura has more brands of rum while Demerara has more ages of El Dorado on the list.
Here's what the IWSC has to say about this one:
"Mahogany amber colour, deep and rich. Dried fruit aromas with lashings of vanilla and christmas spices, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. Plenty of oomphy character on the palate. Big, rich, round, smooth and flavoursome."
A 750mL bottle of Angostura Gran Anejo 7 year old rum costs about $23.
Angostura Single Barrel Dark
House of Angostura is perhaps best known for its bitters, but the Trinidad and Tobago company also had a wide variety of rum. The company was founded in 1830, with several of its products having been around for generations.
Here's what IWSC says about the Angostura Single Barrel Dark:
"Super attractive nose filled with spice, treacle, roasted nuts, honey, fudge and vanilla. Light ginger enters from behind along with a citrus note. Gorgeous entry into the deep, well rounded mouth. Layers of flavour follow the nose with extra notes from burnt orange peel and some dark chocolate. Flavours grow in the mouth and are enhanced by good mature mellowness. Well balanced and long, satisfying finish."
A 750mL barrel of Angostura Single Barrel Dark will cost about $34.
Royal Oak Trinidad Rum
Another Trinidadian rum, Royal Oak Trinidad Rum is one of the less expensive options from House of Angostura on this list. The distiller says the rum is "medium bodied" and rounder, with a mellow taste.
The IWSC judges say:
"Lovely bright bronze golden colour. Dried flower scents, butter toffee, roast nuts and cream. This evolves in flavour profile in the mouth, fabulously complex and wonderfully enthralling. The finish gives a delicious molasses moment."
A 750mL bottle of Royal Oak Trinidad Rum costs about $19.
Rum Company Old Guadeloupe Calvados Finish Rum
The inventive name of Rum Company Old Guadeloupe Calvados Finish Rum tells you almost everything you need to know about where it comes from. The rum is produced by a company call The Rum Company, and it comes from Guadeloupe. Despite the origin of the rum, the company is German, which makes getting a trustworthy description somewhat difficult.
The IWSC judges said:
"Unusual but unmistakeably rum. Dark sugar, creme brulee, caramel and hints of espresso and some spicy notes of ginger and almond. A slight but attractive ripe apple note is the surprise amongst all the deep rum characters. All repeats in deep, well rounded and mature mouth where the apple stands out more clearly with some orange zest and hint of nutmeg. Long, soothing, satisfying finish."
A 500ml bottle of Rum Company Old Guadeloupe Calvados Finish Rum costs 99 euros when purchased directly from the company.
El Dorado 12 Year Old Rum
Demerara Distillers, makers of El Dorado rum, have a number of bottles of rum that won awards from in the IWSC. In 2014, both the 12-year-old and 15-year-old bottles received "gold" ratings. The drink is bottled in Guyana, and the distiller says it has a "Round, mellow, full bodied palate with rich flavours of fruit and spice."
The IWSC judges wrote:
"Mature and candied on the nose with spice, dried fruit, satsuma and vanilla. A lovely use of oak, subtle and balanced. Sweet and flavoursome on the palate. Weighty and powerful with attractive sweetness and a beautiful balance. Oily and viscous in texture with a mouthfilling quality and impeccable balance."
A 750ml bottle of El Dorado 12 Year Old Rum cost about $32.
Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros
Made in Cuba by Havana Club, Seleccion de Maestrosis a triple barrel aged rum, meaning it is made from "the finest and most exceptional aged rums," then "blended and placed for further aging," and then blended one last time before being bottles straight from the barrel. Havana Club says the rum has a warm amber hue and a deep red glow, with "a round and buoyant entry leads to a complex, flavorful, full-bodied palate of cocoa, coffee, sweet tobacco and brown spices."
The IWSC judges said:
"Crowded nose filled with aromas of dark sugar, espresso, cocoa, some prune and touch of treacle. Clean, full delivery in the mouth where ginger and chocolate add to what the nose promised. Clean and well made with a softness and elegance that makes for easy sipping or with a mixer."
A 750ml bottle of Havana Club Seleccion de Maestrosis costs about $58.
Inner Circle Rum Green Dot
Inner Circle Rum Green Dot comes from Australian company Vok Beverages, and is part of a relatively small brand that also contains a Red Dot and Silver Dot variety. According to the company, the rum was first made solely for Australia's Colonial Sugar Refining Company's board of directors, but is now available to everyone.
The IWSC judges said:
"Mildly aromatic with fairly powerful spirit push. Hints of molasses and treacle and some vanilla backing. Fairly rich and full in the mouth with addition of espresso and dark chocolate. Big structure yet smooth and refined. Full flow into strong finish."
A 750ml bottle of Inner Circle Rum Green Dot will cost about $46.
Appleton Estate Reserve Rum
Appleton Estate Reserve Rum is made from a small "reserve stock" of rum that's carefully watched as it matured. After it reaches its prime, it's hand-blended with 20 other aged rums to create "the right balance," according to the company.
The IWSC judges wrote:
"Bright gold. Attractive nose with brown sugar, ripe bananas, chocolate and caramelised fruit. Silky smooth through the mouth with all the nose promised plus some sweet honey and light treacle. Well balanced and good structure. Long, full flavoured finish."
A 750ml bottle of Appleton Estate Reserve Rum costs about $27.
Appleton Estate 21 Year Old
As the name suggests, Appleton Estate 21 Year Old is aged for at least 21 years in oak barrels before it's put into a bottle. The time it takes to age the rum means that only a few bottles are produced each year, which results in a relatively high price.
After tasting the rum, the IWSC wrote:
"Deep bronze colour. Big, billowing nose filled with mature characters with dark sugar, treacle, espresso, dark chocolate, prunes and raisins. Super rich in the mouth with all the nose promised in deep full flavours. Super complex and wonderful harmony. Mellow and mature with beautiful balance and soft, supple feel. Long, everlasting finish."
A 750ml bottle of Appleton 21 Year Old costs about $125.