Rum is available in a wide variety of weights, ages, and blends. If you aspire to become a connoisseur of fine rums, start with the basics.
Step 1: Learn what rum isn’t Learn what rum isn’t. Unlike single malt Scotch, for example, environmental conditions like climate and soil have little to do with rum variations. Rums vary due to methods of production, aging, and blending.
TIP: Rum ages much faster than Scotch whiskey. A five-year-old bottle of rum can be the age equivalent of a 15-year-old Scotch.
Step 2: Learn what rum is Learn what rum is − rums are sugarcane or molasses based. Rum classifications include white rum, dark rum, golden rum, spiced rum, and blended aged rum.
Step 3: Learn differences between rums Learn the differences between rums. White rums are the most popular and are used typically with mixers; golden rums can be sipped; dark rums are typically molasses based; and blended rums are made from a selection of rums of varying vintages.
TIP: Spiced rums can include ingredients like ginger, allspice, cloves, vanilla, cinnamon, cherry, mint, and edible plant bark.
Step 4: Learn differences between rum production processes Learn the differences between rum production processes. Some white rum is filtered multiple times in column stills for a smoother taste; aged rum can take on the flavor of barrels previously used for other substances.
Step 5: Attend a rum-tasting event or seminar Attend a rum-tasting event or seminar. Taste rums from different producers, and visit the Ministry of Rum website for their list of tasting events and rum festivals.
TIP: First-time rum drinkers should start with a mixed drink, such as a daiquiri or a Mai Tai.
Step 6: Learn how to properly taste rum Learn how to properly taste rum. Tasting begins with smelling the aroma above the glass rim, then smelling below the rim, sticking your nose into the glass, for full aroma. Then take a small sip and breathe in through your mouth as the rum washes over your tongue; swallow slowly.
FACT: Mount Gay, from Barbados, began making rum in 1663, making them the world’s oldest operating rum producer.