Rum Tasting with Drinks by the Dram

June 19, 2020

I’ve been looking for things to keep me occupied during lockdown and was pleasantly surprised when I was invited to a rum tasting session with two dozen like minded chaps.

We received the Drinks by the Dram tasting kits in plenty of time and, adorned with Hawaiian shirts and Panama hats, joined our Zoom call. All with the exception of one speedo clad, hot tub bathing individual. A good time was had by all; Lots of variety and just enough booze for things to stay civil.

If your looking for a bottle of rum then you might be interested in the Plantation XO Barbados 20th Anniversary which was deemed to be the best rum of the night by the committee. It had a lovely soft, almost caramelly taste and was very well rounded on the tongue. Personally, I preferred the Ron Zacapa Centenario Sistema Solera 23 which was a deserving runner up with some lovely soothing honey notes.

In last place, by a long way, was the Trois Rivieres which failed to find any uplikes at all.

Having said that, I will also say that I know very little about rum. Fortunately, the tasting notes that come with the set are in depth and make up for my untutored palate. Compare, for instance:


DbtD: Fresh honey, more grassy notes, dry tobacco and chopped raisins.
Me: Like brandy. Burns in the throat. £50.


Most of it is comparisons with other spirits and, even worse, comparisons between prices. It turns out that the samples are fairly pricey (bottles are around £50) so the kits are a good introduction to high quality spirits.

The full range of tasters were as follows:

  • Mezan Jamaica XO
  • Plantation XO Barbados 20th Anniversary
  • El Dorado 21 Year Old Special Reserve (the most expensive at £90 per bottle)
  • Ron Zacapa Centenario Sistema Solera 23
  • Trois Rivieres VSOP

I’d also like to mention Gourmet Deli who recommended some wonderful taste pairings, which meant scooping gorgonzola and Beemster Gouda (lots of short, punchy flavours) as well as some deliciously pickly pickled onion nuts and an amazingly balanced sweet & spicy cranberry jalapeno chutney (who'd have thought!). You can find them all below.



Assorted goods, all recommended by the guys at Gourmet Deli

A good buy made better with company. A great belated Father’s Day gift and a good choice for any upcoming birthdays (they do other spirits too). There’s lot’s of choice for Christmas gifts as well (advent calendars, crackers etc.) if you remember them 6 months down the line.

You can find Drinks by the Dram here on their website.

And you can find our Gourmet Deli pairings on the Leigh on Sea shop here:


Westcombe Cheddar
Creamy Crumbly Cheddar.

You can find this product here



Scooping Gorgonzola
Creamy and Soft Gorgonzola.

You can find this product here



Beemster Gouda
Mild Beemster Gouda.

You can find this product here



Noisy Snacks
Noisy Snacks - 45g Pouch Pickled Onion Nuts (Vegan)

You can find this product here



Hayes Candied Jalapenos Cranberry
"Sweet with a little Heat" Hayes Candied Jalapenos Cranberry

You can find this product here



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