SpiritsHandpicked by IWSC

16 award-winning rums

Rum is at an all-time high, with appreciation for the sugar-cane spirit rocketing all over the world. Here are 16 of the best rums to try from the IWSC 2023

Words by IWSC judges

rum cocktail with sugar cane, lemon and lime
Handpicked by IWSC

Rum: a spirit that comes in a range of styles and plays a key part in some of the world’s most adored drinks. We’re talking the Mojito, the Daiquiri, and the Piña Colada. But don’t stop there: the spirit continues to gain more followers who are interested in sipping and savouring the drink in its pure, neat form. And there’s an increasing array of exceptional rums from all over the world to try, with Gold-and-Silver medal winners in abundance at the IWSC 2023.

Sugar cane remains the key base ingredient wherever the drink is made, be that in the form of molasses or sugar-cane juice (the latter used to make rhum agricole). Molasses can be made into almost all styles of rum, from white to golden, dark and spiced – and below we’ve gathered up some of the best rum made from molasses, with 16 bottles that stole the show at this year’s IWSC.

a collection of rum casks resting

There was Desert Diamond Distillery’s Gold Miner 11 YO Barrel Reserve Rum, a spirit from Arizona with a near-perfect score of 99/100 and which judges described as ‘heavenly’. Among other standouts were a handful of spirits backed by Scottish producers – from Matugga’s Mavuno 2022 to two expressions from Holyrood Distillery, sourced from Guyana but matured in Edinburgh. And Black Tot Master Blender’s Reserve Rum took the trophy for the category thanks to its complex, fruity and chocolatey palate.

For top examples of white and dark rums made from molasses from this year’s IWSC, read on.

a daiquiri cocktail in coupe glass with lime garnish


We run a tightly structured, rigorous spirits tasting process. That means that each spirit sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC spirit judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the drinks industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.


Only the best spirits sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, spirits have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver wines range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.


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