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Know your spirits

The production process

Rum is a wonderfully varied spirit category with a vibrant tropical heritage. It has a rich range of flavours and styles, from light white rums that are excellent for mixing in cocktails, to rich, characterful aged rums, perfect for sipping on their own.

Rum can be made from sugar cane or its by-products (typically molasses or sugar cane juice).

Rum must be distilled in a sugar cane growing country but can be aged anywhere.

Rum Chart
Rum

The distilled rum is then sometimes aged or flavoured to create “spiced” rum (or a “rum-based spirit drink”).

Alternatively, caramel (burnt sugar) can be added to the distilled rum to create a navy style rum.

Types of rum

  • Dark, navy rum
    Dark, navy rum

    Dark, navy rum

    is typically a light style of rum that has been heavily flavoured and coloured with the addition of caramel (burnt sugar).

  • Spiced / Golden rum
    Spiced / Golden rum

    Spiced / Golden rum

    Spiced Rum is typically a light style of rum which has spices added to impart a unique flavour and character specific to an individual brand.

    Golden Rum tends to pick up more character from the aging process in oak barrels, the longer the aging process the more colour, flavour and character will be imparted.

  • Light style rum
    Light style rum

    Light style rum

    is usually distilled in a continuous still while heavier styles of rum are usually distilled in a pot still.

    Light or white rums tend to be un-aged and have a more neutral, dry character although some light rums are aged and then filtered to remove the colour which has been imparted through aging.

Did you know?

Historically the SPANISH speaking islands of the Caribbean have favoured the use of continuous stills to create lighter styles of rum.

The ENGLISH speaking islands favour the use of pot stills to create a heavier style of rum.

The FRENCH speaking islands have also tended to use pot stills to create their rum but typically use sugar cane juice rather than molasses as a base.

This produces a rum with a distinct vegetal character similar to Brazilian Cachaca which is known as Rhum or Rhum Agricole, roughly translated as "agricultural rum".

Conclusion

RUM can be made from sugar cane or its by-products. Rum must be distilled in a sugar cane growing country but can be aged anywhere.