Overproof rum, also known as “navy strength,” is a potent type of rum that’s not made for the meek of heart.
Fans of this particular spirit always have one or two bottles handy in their home bar – you never know when you might need it for an extra-strong Old Fashioned or another fun rum cocktail like the zombie.
And if you’re a true lover of overproof, you might even be bold enough to sip on it solo. Sipping it on ice can help slowly dilute the strength, which might be necessary considering just how potent this liquor is.
Popular Overproof Rums
Curious about overproof rum? I’ve compiled a list of the best overproof rums, so read on to learn more about them.
Don Q 151
Don Q 151 rum is named for its overproof quality, considering it’s a whopping 151 proof.
This incredibly smooth dark rum is aged up to three years and offers a bold flavor. Look for notes of vanilla and oak in this award-winning blend, along with hints of smoke and tobacco.
The flavor is ideal for the manly man, both robust and well-rounded. It won the silver medal at the Madrid International Rum Conference in 2016 and has earned several other awards and high ratings since 2015.
Don Q has been in the rum business since 1865, giving the company over 150 years of experience.
The family-owned business has been passed down through six generations, each of whom has ensured the same quality has remained.
Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof
Although not quite as snappy as Don Q, Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof Rum is an excellent rum from the United Kingdom that boasts an impressive 109 proof.
Pusser’s Gunpowder is a spiced rum, which gives it a bold and unique flavor. This particular rum is dark amber and starts with a deep molasses taste.
It also offers notes of chocolate, vanilla, and cinnamon with hints of banana and mild ginger.
The flavor profile alone is captivating but not quite as impressive as the brand’s winning Bartenders’ Brand Awards 2021 Champion Spiced Rum.
It also won the World’s Best Contemporary and Botanical run the same year by the World Rum Awards.
The Pusser’s brand has a rich history in the Royal Navy, serving as the drink of choice for sailors in the 17th century.
Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum
Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum is known as a Jamaican classic.
A product of the Campari Group, this white rum is 126 proof, which is 63 percent alcohol.
It has a complex flavor profile that makes this spirit stand out among other white rums.
Unlike other white rums, Wray & Nephew is not aged, making it a naturally clear liquor. It tastes strongly of pineapple and banana with hints of brown sugar. Not only does it have a sweet, fruity flavor, but it smells tropical too.
If you take your time, you’ll also catch notes of vanilla, coconut, and molasses. Wray & Nephew is excellent on the rocks, but its strength takes a little a long way in punches and cocktails.
Hamilton 151 rum ranks with Don Q in terms of actual alcohol content. The high proof is challenging, but the flavor is rewarding.
This Demerara Distillers rum is a favorite in the Tiki community, competing heavily with Lemon Hart 151. Its dark color is a testament to its flavor profile, which is equally as heavy and rich.
Expect a bold blend of smoke, burnt sugar cane, and woody flavors alongside a hint of fruit and brown spice. You may also catch some molasses in there for a truly endearing flavor.
For a spirit marked at 75 percent alcohol, it surprised me just how drinkable this overproof rum is.
Plantation O.F.T.D. Rum
What does O.F.T.D. stand for, anyway? It simply means old-fashioned traditional dark.
If you enjoy a dark rum, you’re going to love Plantation’s take on the overproof style.
Plantation O.F.T.D. has a raw base of molasses, which gives it its dark undertones. The classic blend also used just a hint of cane sugar caramel.
As far as flavor goes, the Plantation family was extra careful to ensure very specific tasting notes. Each sip is full of orange, coffee, plum, jam, and truffles. It’s a very unique yet intense combination.
The drink also contains elements of rich chocolate, vanilla, and caramel with smoky accents and a lingering feeling of dark chocolate and clove.
It’s truly a complex profile that reeled me in on the description alone and the taste built upon it by leaving a lasting impression.
The Plantation brand was created by entrepreneur Alexandre Gabriel, a businessman who has a passion for perfection.
Privateer Navy Yard
Privateer Navy Yard rum is an all-American barrel-proof rum rooted in New England tradition.
It’s made from 100 percent molasses and is double distilled in new American oak barrels.
As a traditional New England American rum, you can expect this spirit to offer classic oak flavor with a full-body, copper color, and rich-tasting notes.
Privateer holds nothing back, offering tastes like brown butter, apricot, hazelnut, and figs.
Add some ice to bring out the pastry and custard in this profile. Its aroma is quite distinguished, and it does well on its own or in a cocktail.
If you’re a rum drinker, you’ve probably been waiting to see Bacardi introduced on this list. After all, it’s a company known for its great rum.
Unfortunately, as popular as the brand is, it did have to discontinue its Bacardi 151 overproof rum in 2016. The company has spared the details and left us with a note about its customers’ health and wellbeing.
The rum will always be a part of the brand’s history and has truly become a legend. It was best used in sweet, tropical drinks.
If you’re lucky, you can still find it on some shelves. But beware of its strength (particularly its flammability).
What Is Overproof Rum?
The most significant difference between overproof rum and standard rum is that overproof rum has more alcohol in it. As its name suggests, it is higher proof, making it stronger than the average bottle of rum.
Most rums are 80 proof, while overproof rum can be 115 proof or more. Many of the overproof rums mentioned above are closer to 150 proof, or 75.5 percent ABV.
Overproof rum is particularly popular in the Caribbean. It’s made using sugar cane. The distillation process produces alcohol that can be up to 190 proof, and it’s then diluted to the appropriate alcohol content.
Popular Overproof Rums
- Don Q 151
- Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof
- Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum
- Hamilton 151
- Plantation O.F.T.D. Rum
- Privateer Navy Yard
- Bacardi 151
Given its extremely high alcohol content, overproof rum may not be for everyone. It’s certainly an acquired taste, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.
However, there are several high-quality brands to choose from, whether you’re already a fan or you’re trying it for the first time.
If you’d rather stick to the standard alcohol content, check out our favorite rum brands!
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