Rum is made from fresh sugarcane juice, cane syrup or molasses, which is the byproduct
of processing raw sugarcane into refined sugar. There are deviations, as there are
no regulations regarding ingredients or distillation of rum. But, molasses contains
minerals and non-sugar organic compounds that give molasses-based rums special flavour
The label can help you decide which rum to choose and whether to drink it in mixed
drinks or to enjoy it on its own as you would a fine brandy. Sipping rums are generally
heavier and dark, while clear and light rums are great combined into cocktails.
What to look for while tasting
Treat aged rum the way you would single-malt Scotch or fine, aged tequila. Pour the
spirit into a snifter or chimneyed spirits glass, which will focus the aroma.
Appearance: Swirl the spirit in the glass and judge the colour and clarity. The longer
a rum ages, the darker it will be.
Nose: Be warned that while mellowed, aged rum will be a pleasure to inhale, a young,
raw rum could burn your nasal passages. Keep your nose above the rim of the glass
as you look for hints of vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, tobacco, and leather.
Taste: Sip the rum and savour the flavours. Just as your nose may have picked up
a wide variety of scents, your tongue will discover a plethora of flavours. Seek
out caramel, brown sugar, tobacco, molasses, and leather. A little water mixed with
an overproof rum might soften the jolt to your taste buds.