Kara Newman

Spirits Editor

Reviews spirits.

Kara Newman is the Spirits Editor for Wine Enthusiast Magazine, and author of Cocktails for a Crowd (coming in Spring 2013) and Spice & Ice: 60 tongue-tingling cocktails, both from Chronicle Books. An active member of the New York cocktail and mixology scene, she loves dive bars and speakeasies alike.

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98
points

Appleton Estate Aged 21 Years

  1. $140
This gorgeous copper-hued rum seems to shift flavors with every sip, encouraging contemplation. It starts with dry notes of espresso and bittersweet chocolate, then morphs into dark, mouthwatering brown sugar, toffee and clove, before easing into a spiced finish reminiscent of chai tea with a hint of white peach.  — K.N.  (8/1/2014)
97
points

Facundo Paraíso XA Rum

  • Online Exclusive
  1. $250
Nut-brown in the glass, this conveys deep toffee, espresso and fudge notes, plus a heady sprinkling of baking spice. The finish is dry and spiced, flaunting dried orange peel and a light sherried note. The hefty, decorative bottle features images of the original Bacardi distillery and the Edificio Bacardi in Cuba. Part of a special-edition rum line intended to…  — K.N.  (8/1/2014)
96
points

Cockspur Old Gold

  • Best Buy
  1. $21
Bold and flavorful, this amber sipping rum offers sweet allspice, birch beer, brown sugar and caramel, plus darker notes of espresso and fudge. Finishes long, with a delicately spicy fade.  — K.N.  (8/1/2014)
96
points

Facundo Eximo Rum

  • Online Exclusive
  1. $60
A blend of rums aged 10 years, this dark-amber beauty delivers big, sweet notes of brown sugar, Nutella and toffee finishing with allspice and clove. The notably silky, luxe feel makes for easy sipping. Part of Bacardi’s special-edition rum line.  — K.N.  (8/1/2014)
95
points

Angostura No. 1

  • Online Exclusive
  1. $50
From the company best known for aromatic bitters, this limited-edition bottling (only 9,600 bottles released, starting in January 2014), is rich, velvety and dessert-like. Look for bold, relatively sweet flavors: brown sugar, vanilla and caramel, finishing long and smooth, with warming notes of hazelnut, fudge, allspice and dry cocoa. Delicious as an after-meal…  — K.N.  (8/1/2014)
95
points

Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaica Rum

  1. $29
A top pick for tiki and tropical drinks, this practically begs for lime juice. Scented with warm honey notes, the palate shows lots of brown sugar and spice, plus an enticingly untamed, funky finish (the fabled “hogo”). Since it’s “Navy Strength,” you might not want to sip it straight up—the producer wisely recommends exploring the profile first in a…  — K.N.  (8/1/2014)
94
points

Mount Gay Black Barrel

  1. $30
Finished in “deeply toasted and charred” Bourbon casks, this mouthwatering small-batch rum skews to the sweeter side, offering bold notes of cola, allspice and vanilla, finishing brisk and spicy. Sip straight or mix for the ultimate rum & Coke.  — K.N.  (8/1/2014)
94
points

Facundo Exquisito

  • Online Exclusive
  1. $90
This bottling is made with a “blend of rare and exquisite rums aged from 7 to 23 years.” The flavor shows brown sugar and caramel sweetness at first but dries pleasingly on the finish, conveying dark chocolate, espresso, and spice cake. Consider as a dessert pairing or post-prandial sipper. Part of Bacardi’s special-edition rum line.  — K.N.  (8/1/2014)
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