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If you love whiskey, you’re not alone—and that’s becoming a problem. Anyone who’s recently tried to find a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle can tell you, demand for high-end whiskey is far outstripping supply. As the report above notes, whiskey producers have two options for avoiding a shortage: age their product for less time, thus lowering its quality, or raise prices to counter demand.
If you don’t relish the thought of buying substandard bourbon or paying more for the good stuff, here’s a suggestion: Discover the pleasures of really good aged rum. You’ll satisfy your bourbon cravings with rum’s vanilla-tinged richness while discovering new flavors that whiskey could never give you. And great rum can be drunk exactly like great bourbon or Scotch: neat or on one big rock. To help you embark on your spirited journey, here are three perfect starter bottles.
Brugal 1888 ($55)
Aged twice—first in American oak, then in Spanish sherry casks—this Dominican rum is drier than many other bottles, which makes it a good transition rum for whiskey drinkers. Rum’s signature molasses-y sweetness sits in the background while oak, smoke and dried dark fruit take center stage.
Santa Teresa 1796 ($47)
This Venezuelan rum starts as a blend of rums aged four to 35 years, and then further aged using the solera method—popularly used by Spanish sherry makers. The result is silky smooth, with lots of nutty caramel flavors and hints of super-dark chocolate. Though it’s best sipped alone, it’s also fantastic with a few dashes of orange bitters, tasting like the best-ever version of one of those chocolate oranges sold around Christmas.
Flor de Caña Centenario 12 year ($37)
This Nicaraguan bottling is relatively light, with lots of baking spices and some aromatic floral notes and a touch of honey. It’s a perfect rum to sip slightly chilled on a balcony or beach.