16 Jamaican Rum Brands, Ranked

assorted Jamaican rum bottles with beach background
assorted Jamaican rum bottles with beach background - Static Media / Getty
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Rum's affiliation with the Caribbean is widely known, but each rum-producing country and region has qualities that make them stand apart from one another. Consequently, each type of rum is worth exploring, including rum produced in Jamaica.

Jamaican rum is held in high esteem by rum lovers around the world. The island nation's spirit contains unique flavors and characteristics that set the style apart from others. Furthermore, like Scotland with scotch and the U.S. with bourbon, Jamaica has implemented strict legislation regarding its rum production (one of the few rum-producing countries to do so).

I've sampled and served numerous Jamaican rums during my career as a professional bartender and cocktail creator. While Jamaican rum is pretty dependable overall, it also varies in quality. Having shaken, sold, and served this style of rum countless times over the years, I'm well-suited to discuss some of the more well-known brands. Encompassing a range of flavors, styles, ages, and uses, here are 16 Jamaican rum brands ranked.

Read more: 13 Liquors Your Home Bar Should Have

16. Wray & Nephew

 Wray & Nephew overproof rum
Wray & Nephew overproof rum - Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum - US / Facebook

It's impossible to talk about Jamaican rum without mentioning J. Wray & Nephew. First opened in 1825, it holds the title of the country's oldest registered company. Although it's now owned by The Campari Group (an Italian drinks conglomerate), its roots remain firmly in Jamaica where it produces some of the region's most beloved rums -- like the eponymous Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum.

Now, at 63% ABV, this isn't the style of rum you want to sip neat, and few people may want to drink it with a mixer, either (outside of Jamaica, at least). But there's also a reason you'll find it behind a huge number of bars. Overproof rum is a key ingredient in many Tiki-style cocktails, including Mai Tais and the infamous Zombie, and Wray & Nephew is easily the most flavorful and complex of the strong white rums. It may come in last on this list, but any ranking of Jamaican rum brands wouldn't be complete without it.

15. Coruba

Coruba rum and cocktail
Coruba rum and cocktail - hojokoboston / Instagram

Another brand produced by J. Wray & Nephew, Coruba rum was originally conceived by a Swiss merchant who became enamored with rum after visiting Jamaica at the end of the 19th century. Determined to bring the spirit back to his homeland, he launched a venture that imported matured rums from Jamaica, before blending and finishing them in Basel, Switzerland.

A Jamaican rum brand that's stuck around for nearly 150 years despite being somewhat low quality, Coruba's longevity seems to come from professional bartenders who see it as the perfect ingredient for tropical rum-based cocktails. Like Wray & Nephew, it provides a funky, punchy backbone in mixed drinks that contain softer rums, and the addition of glycerin and caramel flavoring boosts the sweetness of its flavor profile. This gives it a chewier texture, which improves the mouthfeel of cocktails it's used in -- and keeps it out of last place.

14. The Duppy Share

The Duppy Share rum bottle
The Duppy Share rum bottle - theduppyshare / Instagram

When alcoholic spirits are aged, their volume decreases over time due to evaporation. In whiskey-making, the lost alcohol is referred to as the "angel's share." However, when it comes to Jamaican rum, malevolent spirits from local folklore (Duppies) are assigned the blame for the missing distillate -- hence the name of The Duppy Share.

A relatively new brand, The Duppy Share was created with the intent of showcasing the best aspects of Caribbean rum. It achieves this by expertly blending the powerful funk of Jamaican rum -- from the famous Worthy Park distillery -- with mellower rum from the Foursquare distillery in Barbados. The result is an extremely approachable range that includes a classic Aged expression (an award-winning spiced rum), and a hugely flavorful 100% Jamaican white rum.

Now, the only premium aged rum made by The Duppy Share is a fully Barbadian blend, so it ranks near the bottom of Jamaican rums. But the brand has many strengths, and rum lovers are paying close attention to what might come next.

13. The Funk

The Funk rum and absinthe
The Funk rum and absinthe - boleterestaurant / Instagram

We've mentioned the word "funk" several times already, and it's a unique characteristic of many (though not all) Jamaican rums. Jamaicans even have their own term for it: hogo. Now, when we talk about funky flavors and aromas in rum, we mean notes that range from extremely ripe tropical fruits (like banana, mango, and pineapple) to fruit that's so over-ripe it's nearly rotten. With that in mind, The Funk boldly showcases the hogo profile.

Distilled at Worthy Park, The Funk is bottled in Bardstown, Kentucky -- right in the heart of bourbon country. Although sipping The Funk is a great way to familiarize yourself with the hogo style, it's what most bartenders call a seasoning rum -- or one that should be used sparingly to add depth and nuance to fruit-forward cocktails. While these elements can be wonderfully complex, they're not always as appealing as they might sound. So The Funk comes in at number 13.

12. Plantation Rum

close view of Plantation rum bottle
close view of Plantation rum bottle - Port of Call Duty Free Jamaica / Facebook

Born out of the famous French Cognac house, Maison Ferrand, Plantation Rum takes a uniquely European approach to barrel-aging and applies it to rums sourced from Jamaica, Barbados, Panama, Guyana, and Trinidad. Most of Plantation's products are a blend of different terroirs, but it does offer one fully Jamaican expression.

Plantation's rums vary in price and quality, but each variety is approachable and a great value for the cost. You could treat every one of its rums as a sipper, although the younger bottles go down a bit more easily with a light mixer. The Bar Classics selection is a must-have for cocktail enthusiasts and includes a light, dark, and overproof rum. It also contains what's arguably the best Plantation offering: a pineapple rum that beats all others. Void of the synthetic character of many flavored rums and tasting deliciously close to the real deal, you won't be disappointed.

11. Hamilton

row of Hamilton rum bottles
row of Hamilton rum bottles - 901wineandspiritsmarket / Instagram

When it comes to modern rum experts, few are as experienced as Ed Hamilton. A sailor who fell in love with the spirit while sailing the Caribbean in his youth, Hamilton's passion led him to launch the Ministry of Rum. The company was dedicated to importing the finest blends of the spirit, as well as sharing his extensive knowledge with enthusiasts around the world.

Now, Hamilton's rums aren't all sourced from Jamaica. But several of its finest expressions -- such as Hamilton Jamaican Pot Still Black and Jamaican Pot Still Gold -- come from the renowned Worthy Park Estate. The distillery at Worthy Park has been growing sugarcane and producing spirits since 1670, which is why so many other brands (including several on this list) place trust in it.

Hamilton's Jamaican expressions are generally rich and earthy with more than a hint of sweet, ripe bananas. The brand may just miss our top ten, but it's undoubtedly a fine brand.

10. Doctor Bird

doctor bird rum bottles
doctor bird rum bottles - theinfernoroom / Instagram

Named after Jamaica's national bird, Doctor Bird has more than a few things in common with The Funk. Both rum brands use distillate from the Worthy Park Estate, and both finish and bottle the product in the United States. However, while The Funk is produced down south, Doctor Bird is made in Detroit, where it's aged in Moscatel wine casks.

Doctor Bird is big on hogo flavors, with an incredibly sharp, in-your-face funkiness that boasts notes of past-ripe fruit and hints of acetone. As such, Doctor Bird works best in tropical cocktails where you can split your base rum and adjust the flavor to your liking. Now, whether alone or in a light mixer, Doctor Bird may be a little too pungent for all but the most ardent funk fans. Still, like The Funk, it's a stellar seasoning rum with the power to cut through almost any degree of sweetness.

9. Blackwell

blackwell rum bottle
blackwell rum bottle - ALKO LV / Facebook

Much of Blackwell's recognition appears to come from the brand's creator Chris Blackwell: the founder of Island Records and former producer for Bob Marley. Yet one shouldn't assume it doesn't have robust roots in the Jamaican rum world. After all, Blackwell's grandfather once owned J. Wray & Nephew. And though the company is no longer in the hands of the Blackwell family, it still produces this brand of rum.

The sweet vanilla aspect of Blackwell Rum might have you thinking it was a spiced variety if it were a touch more saccharine. Now, since Blackwell's a relatively rough, young rum, it's not quite smooth enough to work as a sipping rum for everyone, but it goes great with a mixer. If you're new to Jamaican rums and want to ease yourself into the style without being overwhelmed with too much funk, Blackwell is a fantastic option (and one that earns its ninth-place ranking).

8. Myers's Rum

Myers's Rum bottle and limes
Myers's Rum bottle and limes - The Muck & Dunder / Facebook

Ignoring the grammatically questionable name, Myers's Rum is an extremely dependable spirit that's earned its place as a staple on bar shelves around the world. Named after the brand's founder, Fred L. Myers, the distillate is imported from Jamaica and bottled in Louisville, Kentucky -- making it another Jamaican rum that's found a home in the region famed for bourbon whiskey.

Myers's Rum isn't necessarily renowned for being an especially outstanding rum. Rather, it's an extremely dependable spirit that deftly highlights the alcohol's best features, particularly the Original Dark expression. Caramel, molasses, leather, dried fruits, and dark chocolate are all present in abundance, making it the go-to base rum for countless cocktails -- and one of the best rums to cook with. Since it's affordable enough to use in food and bold enough to make all the difference in recipes that call for the spirit, Myers's Rum belongs in the middle of this list.

7. Monymusk

monymusk rum bottles
monymusk rum bottles - Port of Call Duty Free Jamaica / Facebook

Though Monymusk dates back to the 1800s, the brand now belongs to the state-owned organization National Rums of Jamaica Limited. Its rums contain distillate from two of the country's most acclaimed producers: the Long Pond Distillery (which the company owns outright) and the Clarendon Distillery (where it maintains a 73% stake).

Monymusk superbly demonstrates the inherent fruitiness of Jamaican rum without too much funk. The brand's core range is relatively small, but it covers all the bases with an overproof rum, gold rum, a dark special reserve, and a deliciously tropical coconut rum liqueur called Whispering Breeze. The majority of its rums are perfectly at home in cocktails and mixed drinks, and quite suitable for sipping neat, as well. While some of its more premium rums can be harder to find and demand a higher price, they're certainly worth seeking out for anyone considering themselves a connoisseur of Jamaican rum.

6. Smith & Cross

person holding smith cross rum
person holding smith cross rum - rumbaseattle / Instagram

Smith & Cross is a London-based company that blends its rum in Amsterdam. While that may make it sound less authentic, it's gained a reputation for serving as an excellent representative of Jamaican rum. The bottled product is made with 100% Jamaican rum from a range of distilleries, including the revered Hampden Estate.

Smith & Cross is heavy on the hogo, although it's hard to compare it with the likes of The Funk or Doctor Bird. While those two are best used as seasoning rums -- being slightly too rough around their edges to be enjoyed neat -- Smith & Cross doesn't have that problem. If anything, with a proof bordering on navy strength? Its bold profile makes it too temperamental for cocktails, and this rum may be best enjoyed with a splash of water or a couple of ice cubes. If you think you're ready for the full hogo experience (one that won't break the bank), then this is the rum to try.

5. Long Pond

closeup long pond rum bottle
closeup long pond rum bottle - Tabaccheria Cigars and Co Milano / Facebook

The Long Pond Distillery is another nationally-owned Jamaican rum brand. While it produces distillate for many other brands, including Captain Morgan, its eponymous Long Pond rum is considered the holy grail among rum lovers.

Part of the reason for its acclaim comes down to its quality, with the distillery pouring 270 years of experience into its product. However, Long Pond rum is also somewhat scarce -- thanks to a slew of bad luck and disasters in recent years. In 2012, leaky storage tanks forced the distillery to shutter for extensive repairs. Then, in 2018, the distillery narrowly survived a fire that took out 65,000 liters of precious rum.

Long Pond has resumed operations as of 2024, but it may take some time for its premium rums to become affordable to the average drinker. Of course, even if that places the Jamaican rum brand at number five, it's worth snapping up a bottle if you're lucky enough to find one.

4. New Yarmouth

clode view of new yarmouth rum bottle
clode view of new yarmouth rum bottle - tokyorumroom / Instagram

New Yarmouth is one of Jamaica's six rum distilleries. Though it produces distillate for other established brands, it's also been known to release occasional expressions under its own name. Now, this Jamaican rum brand can be hard to come by and often commands a high price (so it just misses the top three). But few rums demonstrate a master over esters -- or compounds produced during fermentation -- like New Yarmouth.

Part of what makes New Yarmouth's rum special is how long it's aged, as the decades spent in barrels make it exceedingly rich and smooth. However, the distillery's true skill lies in the art and science of fermentation. Extended fermentation and the use of special yeasts have resulted in expressions that show the full potential of high ester Jamaican rum. While each New Yarmouth bottle has funk, the style varies, showcasing a huge range of fruity and vegetal characteristics you'll be hard pressed to find elsewhere.

3. Hampden Estate

hampden estate rum bottle with glass
hampden estate rum bottle with glass - hampdenestaterum / Instagram

While Hampden Estate rum is a somewhat new brand, the distillery that bears its name is one of the oldest in Jamaica. Using its own sugar (reputed to be some of the finest in the nation), the distillery's revitalized range includes some of the best heavy pot still rum in the Caribbean. Using a blend of medium and high ester distillates and demonstrating a mastery of cask-aging, Hampden Estate rums are intense without being overpowering.

With characteristics from extended time spent in barrels, the marriage of funky banana, citrus, and superior molasses results in a deeply sumptuous range that includes notes of vanilla, dark chocolate, coffee, and hazelnut. Furthermore, the rum's maturation occurs in the humid heat of the tropics rather than overseas. This amplifies the aging effects -- meaning a rum aged for 8 years has the complexity and profile of a rum aged nearly four times as long elsewhere.

2. Worthy Park Estate

worthy park rum bottle by water
worthy park rum bottle by water - 1423.dk - World Class Spirits / Facebook

It's hard to rank the six remaining rum distilleries in Jamaica given each has merits backed by centuries of rum-making experience. But Worthy Park Estate has a few things that set it apart from the others. After all, it's the only one that produces Single Estate rums -- a collection made of rum produced with molasses that comes from sugarcane grown by the distillery itself. The result is a range of award-winning rums that truly deserve every accolade they've received.

More than that, Worthy Park Estate rums are still affordable compared to many other premium rums on the market. It even offers a budget range (Rum-Bar) that sits below its core offerings. These are especially well-suited for backbars and cocktails, with a selection that's diverse enough to work in all manner of mixed drinks. Ultimately, you'll find it hard not to discover a rum you love under the Worthy Park name.

1. Appleton Estate

row of appleton estate bottles
row of appleton estate bottles - Club Mobay / Facebook

Nestled in the lush Nassau Valley is arguably the most famous of Jamaica's rum producers: Appleton Estate. With records stretching back to the mid-18th century, Appleton Estate has built an unparalleled reputation. The brand's success in developing world-class rums comes in part from its heritage and craftsmanship. But it's also due to its unique terroir, which produces some of the finest sugar in the region and provides an ultrapure spring water source.

The bottle selection may not be huge, but its core range covers an array of age statements up to 21 years (with one special release aged 50 years). The younger varieties are a superb value, as well, and affordable enough to use in cocktails while being great entry-level sippers.

Simply put, connoisseurs, bartenders, and casual rum drinkers can all find something to love in Appleton Estate rum. Since it's hard to imagine another distillery having the same impact on the world of rum as this one, it's easily the number one Jamaican rum brand.


tropical cocktails prepared
tropical cocktails prepared - Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

Like any spirit, there are great Jamaican rums, terrible ones, and plenty that fall somewhere in the middle. With 16 years of experience in the bar and restaurant industry, I've been fortunate enough to sample and work with a huge range of international spirits and attend masterclasses with global brand ambassadors. Additionally, as a history enthusiast with a grandparent from the West Indies, I've always had a keen interest in rum due to its remarkable Caribbean heritage.

The above rankings consist of Jamaican rum brands I found the most success with as a bartender (and later bar manager) and would hope to find in any rum bar worth its salt. It features a balance of spirits that suit any occasion, from the familiar and the unique to entry-level rums for newcomers. I also considered each Jamaican rum brand's taste -- both in cocktails and when sipping -- when assembling these rankings, along with its availability, affordability, variety, and history.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.