Exhibit A: this gorgeous bottle from Bacardi that’s a whopping $28.50.

It’s that time of year when the emails start pouring in: What bottle should I buy X for Christmas? And I’ll be honest…I love researching such requests, figuring out price, tastes, goals and then scouring the web for hidden deals. To be honest most of the time I’m dealing in whisky, mostly Scotch but plenty of sojourns into Irish, Bourbon and Canadian if the fit is right.But this year I’m going out on a limb for the above generic request of a bottle that looks more expensive than it is, or the the bang-for-the-buck award. Rum. Aged Rum. I know, it shocks me too, as I’ve never been much of a rum drinker, but the past few years have seen even the big brands retool to shift some of their focus from being the main ingredient in a rum and coke to something with a little more ability to stand alone, or at least add some character to more serious rum forward cocktails (like the underrated rum old-fashioned). Nicaragua’s Flor de Cana has been a leader here, and even stalwart Appleton has gotten in on seriously aged rums, but for the most part those are very niche spirits aimed at, and more importantly priced for, the serious rum aficionado. But I’m looking for something that’s out of the ordinary, looks pricey but won’t break the bank. Enter the newly redesign aged series from Bacardi.I mean, look at this bottle. It looks like you spent a fortune, when in reality you spent $28.50, or to put it in perspective a measly $6.50 more than a simple bottle of their very common Amber rum. And if you really want to throw down the gauntlet buck up the $35 for their 10 year old and imagine the recipient’s face when they open this up: Although, full disclosure, I actually prefer the 8 to the 10 here, as it has a hair less burn on the finish. On the other hand a bottle of Ardbeg 10 (which I have mad love for) clocks in at $92, so it’s all about perspective here.In the coming weeks I’ll drill down for a few more detailed picks but for the person who doesn’t know what the person drinks but want to make a low $$$ impact – you can’t do much better than this.