old monk rumWith National Rum Day quickly approaching (it’s August 16th) we’ve broken out our bottle of Old Monk Rum, a 7-year-old vatted dark rum hailing from India. Though it doesn’t get much notice stateside, it’s one of the best-selling rums in the world, and it’s India’s biggest liquor brand. Aside from the 7-year expression, Old Monk also produces a 12-year-old rum.

On the nose, Old Monk is sweet, with notes of vanilla, molasses and butterscotch. Take a sip and it offers lots of caramel, plus some spice and dried herbs. Given the initial hit of sweetness, it finishes fairly quick and dry.

Sipped neat, it’s adequate but not terribly compelling. Cocktail wise, however, Old Monk makes a lovely daiquiri. As expected, it tastes quite different from a crisp, refreshing daiquiri made with white rum. Instead, the Old Monk lends its sweet, buttery characteristics to the cocktail for a deeper, richer drink.

Also, it’s cheap. And has an appreciation society on Facebook that’s 1,500 members strong.

– 40% ABV (internationally: 42.2%)
– $16

CE Rating: ★★★


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  • Sayak says:

    While there are many ways you can drink you bottle of rum, most non-Indians will do well to learn the Indian way to experience Old Monk.

    “Cocktail wise, however, Old Monk makes a lovely daiquiri.” Incorrect. The best mixer for Old Monk is two portions of Thums Up. It’s a soda beverage popular in India, also available in specialty Indian stores in the USA and UK.

    You could use Coca Cola instead of Thums Up but the latter has that characteristic betel nut kick which makes the cocktail mixture more mellow. You could also use a little tonic water and/or honey.

    The reason Old Monk tastes different from the rums available in America is that it uses cane sugar. No molasses. Similar to Captain Morgan but the process is different.

    And as expected, it goes best with spicy Indian meals especially kebabs, butter chicken, paneer handi. But it also goes great with cocktail nuts including cashews and raisins.

  • Alok Porwal says:

    Try Khukri Rum from Nepal. In all a taste of honey and delightful fragrance. Must try!!

  • Mupwi says:

    I brought 3 bottles of rum back from India on my last trip old monk Hercules and mc dowls I found old monk was the best surpassing captain Morgan that we get here in South Africa and Hercules was like drinking methylated spirits

  • Clark griswold says:

    Let’s see.
    #2 best selling rum.
    The negative reviews remind me of Yogi Berra telling a reporter that no one went to a night club anymore because it was too crowded.

  • John Ahrens says:

    I will say again. Only a Cheep Alcoholic would willingly drink Old Monk. There are Much better Rum’s made in India that are Smoother and Taste better. But they cost a little more. Again if a Dog does not know better!

  • John – to each his own, of course. We maintain that Old Monk is pretty smooth, and you can’t beat that price. It’s fairly popular in cocktail bars and rum bars, so it has fans beyond just us. If you get the chance, give it another try. We highly recommend that daiquiri.

    • John Ahrens says:

      Cocktail – I have been going back and forth to India for 18 yrs and have had the displeasure of drinking Old Monk many times. There is nothing good or smooth about it.
      It is only smooth if you don’t know any better.
      As a very good Indian friend told me: You don’t give a dog good food and that way it wont expect it. I think is the same with you selling Old Monk Rum and for the price. You get what you pay for!
      PS. I do bring back a bottle every now and then to let my friends have a taste, to prove how bad it tastes and out of 20 people who have tried it. 20 people say it is just bad Rum.

      • OLDMONK says:

        Keep buying it to prove your point. You love to buy the product because you dislike it soo much. It is the 2nd largest selling rum by case volume in the world.

      • Tom says:

        John probably works for Bacardi or something. Don’t pay attention to him.

      • John Ahrens says:

        Sorry to disappoint you guy’s. I never said I bought any. I said I have had the displeasure of drinking it many times. If the function I was at did not have a much superior Indian Rum like Hercules. Which buy the way is a much superior Rum and has only been available to the public for a sort time. No I don’t work for Bacardi. I am only comparing Indian made Spirits.

  • John Ahrens says:

    The legendry Old Monk Rum from India. Is only good for Hard Core Alcoholic’s! Compared to other rums India’s Old Monk is pure 100% Rot Gut! The only thing worse is India Scotch!

  • Badshah says:

    This is the legendry rum since 1857 and as india produces sugarcane in abundance of best quality this shows in this rum all my life v been drinking old monk as it is the best

  • Kartik says:

    This is the best Rum ever. New Delhi winter is incomplete without Old Monk!

  • Clara says:

    India makes rum? Had no idea.. I always associate rum with islands and pirates.. no? ha

    I’ll have to look for this the next time i’m booze shopping.

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