As it's good manners to introduce one's self when entering a forum, I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Edge, and I'm a former Marine SSgt, father of two, hack actor in community theater, stupendously awesome R/C pilot, and known among my friends as a rum drinker. I won't go so far as to say I'm a connoisseur, but I do have my opinions!
My first experience with rum was in the Marines where my best friend Stevie and I (we were both Corporals at the time) used to hang out poolside at the apartment complex I lived at in Tustin, California (at the time, we were both stationed at MCAS El Toro). We were quite taken with the poolside lifestyle, bbqing sausage and drinking tropical drinks out of coconut shells. We found that rum went well with the tropical juices, and we began with Whaler's dark rum. We then found we liked rum more than the tropical juices and began drinking the rum neat. At the time, we were really quite poor, so Whaler's was very much in our budget (and heck, it was a good tasting rum). Imagine our surprise when we found out it was bottled a few blocks from where I lived!
From there, we began to experiment with other dark rums: Pusser's and Meyer's were two I remember us buying and imbibing quite a bit. I then discovered Whaler's had a spiced rum, and my love affair with spiced rum began while Stevie still preferred (and still does to this day) the darker rums.
As a Staff Sergeant, I did my best to introduce my troops to the finer aspects of rum and drinking responsibly. I used to have cookouts at my house in base housing every weekend, and it became a contest among my Marines for them to bring a new and unusual rum for us to all sample (and "kill"). I would say we came across some Havana Club once after performing a color guard for a Canadian consulate, but that would have been illegal for us to possess (don't worry, we did our duty and got rid of it in the name of Justice.. the right way!).
Currently, I would list my favorites (read: the stuff I keep in stock here at home and in no particular order) as:
Cruzan Single Barrel Estate
English Harbor (this stuff is incredibly delicious!)
Ron Anejo Aniversario
Captain Morgan's 100
Captain Morgan's Private Reserve
Whaler's Spiced Rum
Whaler's Vanille Rum
I am currently in the process of making my own spiced rum. I began with some Cruzan Estate Light Rum and added vanilla bean (Madagascar tahitensis that I had purchased in bulk last year, but still fresh due to vacuum sealing), cinnamon (stick), allspice, star anise, cloves, nutmeg, and orange zest. I will filter it this weekend and share it with Stevie when he and his girls (wife and two daughters) come over for our regular weekend get-together time (our families are very close). I've had one small taste of it, and while I think I overdid the star anise a bit, it is very delicious!
So, that's a little bit about me. I'm still learning more and more every day about this wonderful drink and I look forward to learning from you all here and sharing my experiences/taste with you all.