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Rum Journal: The Best Rum in Belize

belize rum don omario

Don Omario 10-year.

The focus of the rum world has traditionally been eastward. The vast number of distilleries across the islands of the Eastern Caribbean have always dominated the attention of rum consumers and connoisseurs alike, with only Guatemala’s Ron Zacapa and Nicaragua’s Flor de Caña managing to make a significant mark from the western side of the Caribbean Basin. 

In recent years, though, one rum-producing country has quietly been starting to gain attention: Belize, the stunningly beautiful country on the Caribbean coast of Central America. 

In recent years, Belize, whose rum industry always been led by the Travellers Liquors company, has started to see the growth of some new boutique brands, most notably Copalli, a sugarcane-juice rum made in the rainforest of southern Belize; and Tiburon, a partnership with Travellers that is becoming a cult favorite in places like Ambergris Caye. (That’s along with a growing demand for Belizean rum by independent bottlers, including outstanding bottlings by Eric Kaye’s Holmes Cay rum.)

The two upstarts are helping to shift popular attention back to Belize’s rums, whose modern history begins in the 1950s with the birth of Travellers — a distillery that actually has its roots as a bar. 

Today, Travelers’ premium rums remain the best from Belize, led by one particular expression: Don Omario’s Vintage Rum, a 10-year aging that is named for the company’s founder, Don Omario Perdomo. 

If you’re in Belize, this is the one you’re likely to find on the shelf of a bar with a good rum selection (other expressions like the 1981, The Wolf and the 18-year are far more difficult to obtain), or in a good liquor store or Duty Free shop. In other words, this is the standard-bearer for premium from Belize.

So what is Don Omario like?

You’ll find a nose marked by apricot and a whisper of cacao; the flavor profile is marked by vanilla, creme brûlée and a hint of confectioner’s sugar. 

The finish is round and robust, with notes of caramel and coffee bean.

This is a delicate rum, one with elegance and substance; a column-still, ex-bourbon aged expression that shares many flavor notes with Bajan rum; but one that stands on its own as authentically Belizean.

It’s a very, very fine rum indeed. 

In other words, it’s time for rum lovers to start looking to the west. 

— CJ

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