Ah, Rum, also known as Rumbustion, Rumbullion, Rhum, Ruma and Kill Devil; it was the drink of choice (although pirates generally were not all that picky). The fact was that rum was plentiful and cheap in the Caribbean. It, also, had the benefit of not going 'off ' as fast onboard ship as beer or wine would.

I won't pretend to have an extremely cultured taste for rum, but I do know what I like. I, also, take pleasure in being a little adventurous in trying a variety of labels and mixes. As I form an opinion (it might take a bottle or two, just to be sure), I will post a rating and perhaps some rum based recipes that I like. P-)

Anguilla Rums, Planters Gold Pyrat XO Reserve (Anguilla, British West Indies) - dark amber coloring, smells of berries with a sweet butterscotch like flavor, good for sipping or mixing, distinctive bottle if you are into bottles

Appleton Estate (Jamaica) - medium amber coloring, not quite the smoothness or complexity I enjoy in a sipping rum, it still offers good flavors when mixed in a Mai Tai

Bacardi, Superior (Puerto Rico) - clear coloring, slight sweetness to the taste, not at its best sipped straight, this rum is best for mixing, I recommend using it in a 1:1 ratio with a dark full flavored rum when putting together a rum drink of your choosing

Captain Morgan, Private Stock (Puerto Rico) - I know Captain Morgan, mass produced swill right? Not so the Private Stock, it is very smooth, perfect for sipping neat, I would not waste this in a mixed drink, dark amber coloring

Cruzan Black Strap Rum (St.Croix, U.S.V.I.) - nice dark rich coloring, very sweet flavor with strong molasses scent and flavor, I could see sipping this one neat or mixing it [thanks for the taste Bill]

Gosling's Black Seal Bermuda Black Rum (Bermuda) - rich dark color and flavor, a little harsher than the Morgan Private Stock above, but still good sipping neat, would mix well in drinks calling for dark rum [thanks for the taste Bill]. Official site

Havana Club, 7 Aņejo (Cuba) - where to start, of the rums I have tasted, this puts all of the others to shame, smooth only begins to describe it; this rum is for sipping, it would be a waste to dilute it in a mixed drink; rich amber in color, the sugar of the cane drifts in as you savor each sip [for now, I can only dream of what the 15 Aņejo must taste like]

Kilo Kai Spiced Rum (Curaįau) - Amber or pale caramel in color, rich flavor probably due to the aging in old bourbon barrels, definitely a bit of a twist in the flavor over normal spiced rums, good sipping neat, mixes well in drinks

Myers's Rum, Original Dark (Jamaica) - rich dark color and flavor, strong molasses flavor, but good sipping neat, mixes well in drinks calling for dark rum

Mount Gay Eclipse Rum (Barbados) - touted as the oldest of all rum brandings, light amber color, good sipping neat although a tad harsh, but better mixed as a light rum

Newfoundland Screech Rum (Canada) - labeled as a Jamaican rum and a product of Canada, aged and blended in oak barrels, dark amber in color, the aroma and flavor are a bit on the harsh side for my tastes, I can drink it neat, but prefer to use it as a mixer

Pampero, Ron Aņejo, Aniversario Reserva Exclusiva (Venezuela) - dark color and strong flavor, very, very woody, fairly good sipping neat, mixes very well in drinks calling for dark rum [the woodiness gives a nice extra dimension to a Mai Tai]

Pusser's Rum (British Virgin Islands) - purported to be the recipe the British navy used for some 300 years until 1970 (Black Tot Day) when the practice of a daily rum ration was discontinued. Strong stuff, 95.5 proof (most rum is only 80 proof), burns on the way down if drunk neat, nice amber color, mixes well

Ron Zacapa Centenario, 23 years (Guatemala) - medium coloring, a smooth rum with a rich sugary scent, an excellent choice for sipping

Rum Barbancort (Haiti) - medium coloring, like a fine cognac, smooth, not quite as sugary as the Zacapa above

Rum Flor de Caņa Gold - Aged 4 Years (Nicaragua) - Caramel coloring, the molasses flavor comes through, a little rough sipped neat, not as smooth as some others listed here, suitable for mixing

Sea Wynde (Jamaica & Guyana) - light amber color, over proofed at 92, this rum is a bit harsh if drunk straight, it fairs better as a mixer

Spiced Jack No. 94 (Undetermined) - the romanticized back story from the label talks of this rums origins in Bermuda, but the lack of any definitive markings on the labels leads me to believe that this is a blend of indeterminate origins, light amber color, the 'secret' blend of spices give a pleasant flavor and aroma, the over proofing adds a little extra kick, this is another rum that I can drink straight, though I prefer to use it as a mixer