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Rum… how to choose?

By: Andrew Nicholls


Staring at the Rum aisle in your local liquor store can be daunting to say the least!

There are so many to choose from and the range includes variances in colour, countries of production, the labels mention phrases like Pot Still, some have an age statement, others don’t and what the heck is an Oloroso Sherry cask finish?

Bottom line is that Rum is pretty fantastic across all varieties, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble picking something out. Start with Caribbean Rums. This is where Rum as we know it today originated from and will give you the best understanding of how varied the category is.

Barrels1.jpgNow, the whole white or aged discussion. Think about the influence of aging a spirit in oak. It makes sense that the longer a Rum spends in a barrel, the more attentive the blender has to be to ensure it will not start to taste of that barrel. I hope we all agree on that… So, think of the flavour profile you are looking for. If you are looking for something light and fruity with occasional notes of cacao and nuts then white Rum is your baby!  Sure, most of the time you’ll only come across it if it’s mixed with Coke or in a Cocktail, but why not get to know it? Give White Rum the same attention and care as you give Dark or Gold Rum and I’m pretty certain you’ll make a new friend for your glass.

That being said, not everyone is looking for the luscious tropical fruit notes of White Rum and this is where we cue Mr Barrel. The right amount of wood aging will take those fresh fruit notes, slap them around the back of the head and hang them out to dry. Yup, enter the notes of dried fruit, spices and more developed notes of nuts, cacao and vanilla. It seems a little more grown up somehow and if you’re like me, its something you look forward to at the end of a long day of hard work, or even at the end of a long session of White Rum drinks.

Then, there’s that bottle that seems to encapsulate the dark, eerie, yet electrically exciting feeling you feel at the end of a blazing hot tropical day, just before the almost gothically colored clouds above you decide to unleash their fury. Dark Rum tends to be rich, slightly sweeter and echo the spicy notes of their golden cousins.

When it comes to Rum, it really is difficult to go wrong. If you’re still stuck, visit your favorite bartender and ask him or her to guide you through a few options. We like doing stuff like that…



‘The views expressed above are the opinions of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of WIRSPA Inc’.

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