The difference with Rum

There's More to Rum than meets the eye...


National Rum Day brings the spotlight on Rum, a beautiful spirit, that is all too often unappreciated. The difference between white, navy, aged & unaged Rums are huge, and did you know colour is often no indicator to age or quality.

With so many Rums on the market it’s easy to get lost, but luckily we have Peter from The Floating Rum Shack here for all our Rum needs, and below he has highlighted details and differences on this distilled sugarcane beauty…

The world of rum has far more permutations and taste possibilities than pretty much any other spirit category thanks to some variations in source material, plenty of variation in fermentation, distillation and maturation. The latter step sometimes being skipped entirely!

Categorisation such as white, gold and dark rum are often thrown around. But let me turn that kind of categorisation around. Would you step into a bar and ask for a dark Scotch whisky? Or a perhaps a nice gold Cognac? Nope ¦ of Course not. Not unless you wanted to be laughed at that is. These spirit categories have spent time and money educating people as to their qualities. Here in the world of rum, we’ve let sloppy categorisation weaken the image of rum. Instead of letting colour dictate, we should consider how the rum is made and if that makes no sense, let me elaborate ¦

White rum. Obviously a mixer right? Well there are expressions of white rum that have been aged for some six years in tropical conditions, before being colour stripped and bottled. Equally there are plenty of unaged examples of see-through rum that have been produced through pot still distillation and they are quite frankly some of the most powerfully flavoured rums in the world.

Rums from Jamaica (Wray & Nephew, Worthy Park & Hampden Estate), Clairin from Haiti, St Vincent’s Sunset Strong Rum and Rivers Antoine from Grenada these bad-boys don’t need time in a barrel to add character the unaged rum sings its own song!

There are rums on the market that exhibit some beautifully beguilingly attractive shades of yellow, gold and amber but I’m afraid it’s at this point that the notion of spirit caramel adjustment needs to be considered.

Just how much time in cask has a rum had? How active was the barrel? Just how much caramel did you add? Actually, the notion of caramel takes us into the category of Navy where darker equals better, but the problem is that the rums tend to be younger! Just how do those relatively young rums get so dark? Only in the world of rum can you have an unaged gold and a long aged white rum.

So while there are people who are passionate about rum, it’s going to take a fairly large sea change to make sense of a new categorisation that relies on production details to guide the rummy on their way!

Rum brands can be just as complicit easy categorisation by colour rather than educating the consumer on the details that matter! But that’s why you’re coming to The Spirit Show right? A little education will set you up quite nicely!

Book your tickets to the show here. 

The Floating Rum Shack will be running Rum masterclasses at the Spirit Show, check back for more information or sign up to our newsletter.