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About  Rum

Rum, and its fraternal twin, cane spirit, are made by distilling fermented sugar and water. This sugar comes from the sugar cane and is fermented from cane juice, concentrated cane juice, or molasses. Molasses is the sweet, sticky residue that remains after sugar cane juice is boiled and the crystallized sugar is extracted.

 

Most Rum is made from molasses. Molasses is over 50% sugar, but it also contains significant amounts of minerals and other trace elements, which can contribute to the final flavour. Rums made from cane juice, primarily on Haiti and Martinique, have a naturally smooth palate.

 

Depending on the recipe, the "wash" (the cane juice, or molasses and water) is fermented, using either cultured yeast or airborne wild yeasts, for a period ranging from 24 hours for light Rums up to several weeks for heavy, full varieties.

 

Distillation of Rum

Rum is distilled in the manner described in the introductory chapter of this book. The choice of stills does, however, have a profound effect on the final character of Rum. All Rums come out of the still as clear, colourless spirits. Barrel ageing and the use of added caramel determine their final colour. Since caramel is burnt sugar, it can be truthfully said that only natural colouring agents are used.

 

Lighter Rums are highly rectified (purified and blended) and are produced in column or continuous stills, after which they are usually charcoal-filtered and sometimes aged in old oak casks for a few months to add a degree of smoothness. Most light Rums have minimal flavours and aroma, and are very similar to vodka, particularly those brands that have been charcoal-filtered. Heavier Rums are usually distilled in pot stills; similar to those used to produce Cognacs and Scotch whiskies. Pot stills are less "efficient" than column stills and some congeners (fusel oils and other flavour elements) are carried over with the alcohol. Some brands of Rum are made by blending pot and column distilled Rums in a manner similar to Armagnac production.

 

Classifications of Rum

White Rums are generally light-bodied (although there are a few heavy-bodied White Rums in the French islands). They are usually clear and have a very subtle flavour profile. If they are aged in oak casks to create a smooth palate they are then usually filtered to remove any colour. White Rums are primarily used as mixers and blend particularly well with fruit flavours.

 

Golden Rums, also known as Amber Rums, are generally medium-bodied. Most have spent several years aging in oak casks, which give them smooth, mellow palates.

 

Dark Rums are traditionally full-bodied, rich, caramel-dominated Rums. The best are produced mostly from pot stills and frequently aged in oak casks for extended periods. The richest of these Rums are consumed straight up.

 

Spiced Rums can be white, golden, or dark Rums. They are infused with spices or fruit flavours. Rum punches (such as planter's punch) are blends of Rum and fruit juices that are very popular in the Caribbean.

 

Añejo and Age-Dated Rums are aged Rums from different vintages or batches that are mixed together to insure a continuity of flavour in brands of Rum from year to year. Some aged Rums will give age statements stating the youngest Rum in the blend (e.g., 10-year-old Rum contains a blend of Rums that are at least 10 years old). A small number of French island Rums are Vintage Dated.

 

Rum Regions

The Caribbean is the epicentre of world Rum production. Virtually every major island group produces its own distinct Rum style.

 

Grades

Example of dark, spiced, and light rums.

The grades and variations used to describe rum depend on the location that a rum was produced. Despite these variations the following terms are frequently used to describe various types of rum:

 

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