Meet Juan del Busto, an enthusiast from South Florida who has been on a quest for the world’s best rums for more than 35 years. Check out our interview!
With a personal stash of more than 300 rums, Juan del Busto boasts one of the most extensive collections we’ve seen. We sat down with him recently to get some insight into his favorite rums and passion for collecting. Here’s what he had to say.
RC – How did you become interested in rum?
Juan – I became interested in rum at a young age when my father and his cousin during the Christmas holidays would have a “Cuba Libre” and talk about “Bacardi” and “Habana Club” rums they used to have in Cuba. I also started traveling to the Caribbean in my early twenties and was intrigued by all the varieties and started purchasing rums in all the countries I visited.
RC – When did you start collecting?
Juan – As I mentioned earlier, I was always aware of rum and in my late teens, I started collecting domestic rums and in my early twenties I started collecting internationally.
RC – How many rums are in your collection?
Juan – I have over 300 different rums from around the world, including places such as India and the Philippines. I also have 23 different Cuban rums and, of course, many domestic as well as from the Caribbean. While I have over 300 varieties, my collection totals between 450 and 500 bottles and there are many duplicates of the ones that I really enjoy!
RC – What are some of your favorite rums?
Bacardi-Light – Puerto Rico
Tommy Bahama-White Sand – Barbados
Ruby Rey-Single Barrel – Puerto Rico
Bacardi-Gold Reserve – Puerto Rico (discontinued)
Pyrat-Planters Gold Reserve – Anguilla
Havana Club-Barrel Proof – Cuba
Appleton Estate-21-Year Old (Blue) – Jamaica
Zacapa-Centenario XO Extra Old – Guatemala
Barbancourt-Reserve du Domaine 15-year old – Haiti
Havana Club-Añejo Reserva – Cuba
Mount Gay-Extra Old – Barbados
Captain Morgan-Spiced Rum – Puerto Rico
Pampero Ron Añejo Anniversario – Venezuela
RC – What is your favorite cocktail?
Juan – My favorite cocktail is the traditional “Cuba Libre” with the exception of diet coke. You can use many different rums in the original recipe and obtain a great variety of tastes.
RC – Do you have a favorite rum bar?
Juan – My favorite rum bar is the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. It’s called “Rum Jungle” and has a great atmosphere and a tremendous amount of rum varieties. There you can sample numerous rums and then acquire the ones you like to add to your collection.
RC – Do you have a favorite spirits shop for buying rum?
Juan – There are various shops around the world where I usually shop for rums as well as in various cities in the United States. As a Miami resident, locally, I buy a lot of rums at Sunset Corners; they have a great variety and great customer service.
RC – What is a rum that you’d travel outside of the US for?
Juan – I travel extensively around the world and I am always looking for new brands and new varieties. I even looked for rums in Estonia, Lithuania and Croatia, but no luck. Of course, you have to travel outside the US to obtain Cuban rums. Rum is a fun passion. When traveling around the world and you find a new rum that you have never seen or heard of, it is like winning a jackpot on a slot machine or finding that missing coin for a collection! It is always fun to try a new rum.
Thanks, Juan for sharing!