Can a single sip of rum send you sailing to a tropical island in your mind? We are convinced that rum has this superpower! And if you are reading this blog post, you are probably a fan of rum and want to know how to choose a good tipple. We will tell you a little bit about the place, where rum was born and how it’s made, describe the tasting profiles of each style of rum so that you can easily choose the one you will enjoy.
Rum is produced in different places across the globe, such as Asia, Latin America, and Australia. However, 80% of the world's rum is still produced in the Caribbean, the place where rum was born. So, belt up, guys, — next stop, the Caribbean islands.
Colonial Styles of Caribbean Rum
In the 17th century, Caribbean islands were colonized by Britain, Spain, and France. The history of these colonies greatly influenced the methods of rum production, it’s main ingredients, flavors, and, of course, taste.
Caribbean rum has come a long way from the sipping poison to the exclusive and diverse libation we know it today. The rum producers have spent over 200 years improving the art of distillation, aging and blending.
The five main factors that affect a rum’s flavor and overall quality are:
- type of sugar used (it can be fresh sugarcane juice or the sugar byproducts, such as molasses),
- time of fermentation,
- type of distillation. Rum, distilled in pot stills, is very intense in flavor, color and taste. Whilst column distilled rum is smoother, spicier and a little bit drier.
- ageing period,
- blending. The final stage of rum production is blending, and this stage is equally important as ageing process. At this point, a number of rums are skillfully combined with the personality of the countries and a shot of heritage to produce the true Caribbean rum.
There are three main rum producing areas in the Caribbean: English speaking islands, French speaking islands, and Spanish speaking countries. Although the colonial classification of rums is not perfect, many rum producers still make rum according to certain rules and regulations, established two centuries ago. Hence, to choose a good rum, you should know the main features of each style of Caribbean rum. Let's go!
English-style rum production method
If you prefer dark, aromatic rums with a generous spiciness, then you will enjoy English-style rums. English rums are made from molasses and aged in casks for years. Most of the rums are blended together before bottling. The producers use both pot and column distillation methods.
- St. Lucia
French-style rum production method
French rum is also called Rhum Agricole. It is made of fresh pressed sugar cane juice. It is distilled in column stills, and aged in Cognac and Armagnac casks, developing its complex taste and fresh sugar cane notes. French-style rum will be a great choice for people, who enjoy fruity notes in spirits and a little bit of dry mouthfeel, with subtle grassy tones.
Spanish-style rum production method
Spanish-Style rums are also known as rons. They are produced from molasses, just like English-style rums. But, unlike English and French styles, Spanish rons are lighter-bodied and chrisp. Spanish rum producers began to charcoal filter their rums to make those spirits light and clear. Hence, charcoal filtration and column distillation are two significant factors that differ Spanish rums from other colonial styles. If you prefer to use rum in mixed drinks and cocktails, then a bottle of light and dry Spanish-style rum is a must have for your drinks cabinet.
- Puerto Rico
- Dominican Republic
We are super excited that rum is finally gaining the attention it deserves, and with it, a variety of new great brands appear on the market providing us with a vast choice of rums. For example, The Duppy Share is a new brand of Caribbean rum. The Duppy Share is a perfect blend of two awarrd-winning brands: a 100% pot still rum from the Worthy Park distillery in Jamaica, aged for 3-years in oak barrels combines with a 100% column still rum from the Foursquare distillery in Barbados, aged for 5-years in bourbon barrels. Delicious both neat and in your mixed drinks. Give it a try!