3 Rums to Better Understand Rum
You can use them to make mojitos, daiquiris, Cuba Libre (sounds better than rum and coke), or whatever you want, but these three rums are best enjoyed on their own. They are three rums of different styles that will help you understand the aromatic profile of each product according to its origin. Not all rums are the same, so learn to distinguish them…with distinction!
Firstly, what is rum?
Before explaining why origin is so important, let’s first look at the process of rum production. Rum is a distilled beverage with an alcoholic content of between 40 and 55%, made from fermented sugarcane juice or molasses, which is also fermented.
And here is where a crucial difference comes in: the raw material. If we recap, the three elements that determine the nature of a rum are: production, raw material, and origin. Now let’s return to origin. Rum can be French (or agricultural), British, or Spanish. You may be wondering, “But isn’t rum from the Caribbean?” Yes, but don’t forget that Europe divided the world into colonies about 200 years ago. So let’s take a look at the characteristics of each of them.
— French or Agricultural Rum:
The raw material used to produce agricultural rum is sugarcane juice. This type of rum comes from the French Caribbean, including Martinique and Guadeloupe. In French rum, sugarcane juice (also known as guarapo) is fermented directly. It is then distilled in a column still and aged statically (not in Solera). This results in very herbaceous, rustic, strong, and dry rums. If it was aged in a barrel, the robust side will be reduced, but it will still have a marked raw character from the sugarcane juice.
A good example is the Rhum Vieux VSOP Clément produced in Martinique. Patiently aged in oak barrels for a minimum of 4 years, it obtains its great complexity thanks to the use, alternately, of new French oak barrels and old bourbon barrels. The aging is static. When you taste it, you will notice the characteristic notes of pure sugarcane juice.
— British Rum:
In addition to turquoise seas, former British colonies such as Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Saint Lucia can also boast of rum. British-style rum, like Spanish rum, is made from molasses, not sugarcane juice. Molasses is what remains of the juice after the sugar has been squeezed out, a thick, dark, and sticky liquid. Although British rum and Spanish rum share the same raw material, the big difference is that British rum (which can be distilled in a traditional still or a column still) is much drier and aged statically.
Doorly’s Xo rum is the result of a blend of different rums from Barbados that undergo a second six-year aging in sherry barrels. Its taste is complex and sophisticated, and it must be savored slowly to distinguish its aromas of vanilla, banana, and orange.
— Spanish or Latin Rum:
Spanish-style rum is undoubtedly the most well-known and popular of all. This is because big industry brands such as Bacardi or Havana Club come from Spain. In the late 19th century, continuous distillation (column) became popular in Cuba, and today it is one of the characteristics of this type of rum.
Other characteristics include being made from molasses and usually aged in Solera, which largely determines their flavor profile. This does not mean that all Latin rums are in the range of sweet rums. Cuban or Puerto Rican rums, for example, are lighter, while those from Venezuela have a light body and age longer.
Now that you have tasted rums from different origins, you can distinguish them. But, between us, why choose?