The Best Rum Under $40

Cheap Rum That Doesn't Taste Cheap

Rum is quickly becoming a hugely respected spirit category all over the world. With a resurgence of historic distilleries in the Caribbean and Central America, as well as a new crop of craft distillers in the United States, the sugar cane spirit is back. Lucky for most of us, it’s still a relatively affordable category, so this list of the best rum under $40 is able to be fairly comprehensive.

We’ve included a variety of brands, from Jamaican mainstays like Appleton Estate to brand-new American rums like Montanya (distilled in Colorado) and Owney’s (made in Brooklyn, New York). It’s a truly global product, with each region, country, and city putting its own local spin on the recipe.

So next time you’re looking for a great bottle of rum, whether it’s for mixing in a Daiquiri or sipping neat, you don’t need settle for the big-name brands. There are plenty of small-batch, lesser-known distilleries that are making great rum for quite a bit less.

  • Aged Rum
    As part of the grand Appleton Estate re-branding initiative of 2015, their Extra Rum was renamed the Rare Blend 12 Year Old. It's a stunningly good aged rum that has impressed reviewers of all stripes, and has occasionally been referred to as a "cognac of the Caribbean." Masterfully blended and featuring a world-class bouquet, you can't go wrong sipping this…
  • Dark Rum
    El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve Rum is a premium Demerara rum produced by the only distillery still operating in Guyana, Demerara Distillers Limited. It is a subtle, exceptionally smooth, and mature dark rum, excellent for sipping neat, on the rocks, or as suggested by the distillers themselves, in a classic Mai Tai.
  • Dark Rum
    Angostura 1919 8 Year Old Rum is a dark rum, made to commemorate the discovery of several undamaged casks of rum after a fire destroyed the Trinidadian Government Rum Bond in 1932. The casks had been filled in 1919, and the blend that resulted from them was named for that year. It has garnered good reviews from critics across the board, and it's generally re…
  • Jamaican Rum
    Mezan Jamaica XO Rum is the brand's extra-old expression, blending Jamaican rums from several different distilleries aged between 4 and 23 years. After blending, the rum is aged in ex-bourbon oak casks to marry the flavors before bottling. Mexan Jamaica XO is a limited run, consisting of just 5000 bottles, but it's notable for its reasonable price despite th…
  • Añejo Rum
    Don Q Añejo Rum is a blend of rums aged between 3 and 10 years in American white oak, and is a good sipping rum neat or on the rocks. According to the marketing materials, thanks to the fact that Don Q Añejo loses up to 10% to evaporation in the aging process—the angel's share—"Puerto Rico has the happiest angels in all the world."
  • Dark Rum
    English Harbour 5 Year Old Rum is produced on the island of Antigua in the Caribbean, and is named for the harbor that once served as a haven for English and French ships. It's a nicely round dark rum, with some subtle tanginess and briny notes imparted by the use of a small amount of wild yeast in the fermentation process. Since there's no sugar production …
  • Dark Rum
    Foursquare Port Cask Finish Rum is actually a bit of a misnomer—rather than just a brief "finish" in port casks, it actually undergoes six additional years of aging in them, after an initial three years in ex-bourbon barrels. This is a richly complex, oaky rum, that wears its age and its slightly tannic, wine-like character with pride. As with so many Foursq…
  • Blended Gold Rum
    One of Appleton Estate's three core products, the Signature Blend was recently (April 2015) renamed from V/X. It's the most affordable of their offerings (at least under the "Estate" part of the Appleton brand), yet it's still nothing to shake a stick at—garnering four stars from F. Paul Pacult is no small feat. There is no age statement on the bottle, as i…
  • White Rum
    Owney's Rum is truly one of a kind. Produced by The Noble Experiment, Brooklyn's first rum distillery in nearly a century, it's a small-batch craft spirit that seeks to bring the history of American rum back to life. Owney's is distilled from a mash of Grade A molasses sourced from Florida and Louisiana, a proprietary yeast strain, and New York City water, r…
  • Dark Rum
    Mount Gay Extra Old Rum is blend of rums aged 8-15 years, and is a pretty phenomenally mature dark rum as a result. It's fairly dry and earthy, almost reminiscent of a good Scotch, but still approachable. It used to be a little pricey (the price has dropped a bit in recent years), but at less than $40 at most stores it's definitely worth a try…
  • Gold Rum
    From Montanya Distillers: "Montanya Oro is also a barrel aged rum, aged for one year in an American White Oak barrel that previously held Colorado Whiskey for 2-5 years ... The Oro also receives a tiny touch of Colorado Rocky Mountain honey at bottling time, but is never filtered to remove color. The natural color of the barrel remains, along with a slight …
  • Dark Rum
    Zaya 12 Year Old Gran Reserva is a perennial favorite among rum fans. Well-balanced, affordable, and featuring notes of vanilla, cardamom, brown sugar, and dried orange peel, this rum truly deserves its reputation.
  • Dark Rum
    Plantation Grande Reserve 5 Year Old is a really nice example of a fine, sophisticated Barbados rum, and it's remarkable how affordable it is. It actually gets sent off to France to undergo a secondary aging process in French oak casks previously used for bourbon or sherry, which gives it a truly unique character.
  • Dark Rum
    Mount Gay Black Barrel is a very oaky, Bourbon-like Bajan rum, most of which comes from the fact that it undergoes a secondary aging process (called "finishing") in heavily charred Bourbon oak barrels. This sets it apart from a lot of other dark rums, and makes it great for sipping or giving a different character to your cocktails.
  • Dark Rum
    Doorly's XO rum sets itself apart with a secondary aging process in old Spanish oak sherry casks. This is a seriously complex Bajan rum with a lot of character, and is generally regarded as one of the best offerings in its price range (honestly, we could see this selling for more than twice what you can get it for at most stores).
  • Dark Rum
    Cruzan Single Barrel Rum isn't particularly sweet, and is a very nicely complex sipping rum. It also goes great in various cocktails, particularly some non-traditional ones like a Rum Old-Fashioned. This is a blend of rums aged up to 12 years.
  • Dark Rum
    Generally regarded as one of the best widely-available rums out there, Mount Gay Eclipse is a very solid, affordable spirit. Smoky, appropriately sweet, and with notes of honey, molasses, and vanilla, this is an excellent choice for a home-bar mainstay.
  • Dark Rum
    Aged 3-8 years in bourbon and sherry casks, Brugal XV is a complex, but still smooth and sippable rum. That smoothness sets it apart from Brugal's tendency to err on the dry side, and makes it a good one to try for people who might have been turned off by their Extra Dry or Añejo.
  • Rhum Agricole
    Rhum Barbancourt Réserve Spéciale is a delicious rhum agricole—meaning rum distilled from pressed cane juice instead of molasses—produced in Haiti. Its pale gold color comes from spending 8 years in oak barrels, and despite being relatively inexpensive it's a great rum to sip neat or on the rocks (or even to use in the increasing number of rum cocktails that…

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