About Your Rum...

Posted: Apr 22 2014

Rum is a spirit obtained by distilling the fermented sugarcane juice or molasses, a by- product of sugar making. Rum is often aged in ex-bourbon or cognac cask and colored with caramel. Rum is one of the oldest distillates made, dating back thousands of years of years. However, rum as we know it today was born in the West Indies, exactly on which island being open to conjecture. In 1493, Christopher Columbus played a role in rum’s history by bringing sugarcane plantings on his second voyage to this region. Rum is produced throughout the Caribbean as well as in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Hawaii, Indonesia, Madagascar, Peru, the Philippines, and the continental United States.

Manufacturing Process

  • Raw Materials

The production of rum begins with harvesting sugarcane, once it reaches a height of about 15ft and weight about 7lbs. Harvesting is usually done by hand with a sharp machete some have more modern day equipment but most is still done by hand. The leaves are removed and the stalks are transported to the distillery or sugar mill to be processed. The sugarcane is then crushed between rollers to extract juice known as vesou. Rum is obtained from fresh fermented sugarcane juice, or the juice is extracted and boiled down to syrup. Syrup can be fermented directly, or pumped into a centrifuge, which crystallizes the sugar. What remains after the crystals are removed is a dark brown molasses.

  • Fermentation

There are two categories of rum. Rum Agricole is obtained by distilling the fermented wash of sugarcane juice. Rum Industrial is obtained by fermenting molasses. The longer the molasses or sugarcane juice is fermented, the heavier the rum will be, the more the rum is distilled the lighter it becomes in flavor.

  • Distillation

Rum can be distilled several times by continuous distillation or pot-stills, rums produced from pot-stills are usually more rich, robust and aromatic then rums that are produced from continuous distillation. As is done with blending scotch, combining rums from both pot and continuous-stills mat create blends of precise flavor and texture.

  • Maturation

Young rums need to be cured of their rough edges, the best way to mature young rums is to age them in American white oak barrels. Heavier and more strongly flavored rums need longer time in cask for this process the barrels chosen are usually previously used charred bourbon casks or cognac cask or even sometimes sherry casks.

  • Blending

Rums are blended to achieve a variety of different tastes. After the initial tasting the chosen rums are blended and further maturation, which may take a few months or a few years. Hundreds of different rums are produced, each have there own tastes and characteristics. They differ from how they are processed the quality of water used the length of time aged and many other blending techniques, all which change the final rum tastes and texture.


  • Silver or White: Following a short fermentation (1-3 days), white or silver rums are distilled in a continuous-still not less than 80% abv, or sometimes they are exceptional blends from pot stills or light column still rums. There are premium white rums that are aged in oak casks then up to three years then charcoal filtered to remove the color.
  • Grappe Blanche: This is a French un-aged rum produced from rum agricole that is 50% abv.
  • Amber or Golden: These rums can be made from both pot-still or continuous-still they are aged for a few years and can reflect a sweet taste amber or golden rums are mostly used for mixed drinks to enhance rum flavors.
  • Full Bodied: Rums that are fermented up to 12 days, these heavy, dark and full- bodied rums are the oldest type and have a strong molasses flavor. Clear after distillation, caramel is often added to gain consistency of color after aging. Typical in Jamaican rums.
  • Anejo/Vieux: These rums turn from pale to deep amber color from the length of time spent in cask. All traces of roughness have vanished from these rums, which from smoothness and complexity often compared to fine cognacs. Vieux is a French rhum designation that indicates that rhum is aged for a minimum of three years in cask not bigger than 650 liters.

  • Appleton- Jamaica                                                      
  • Barbancourt- Haiti
  • Brugal- Puerto Rico
  • Captain Morgan- Puerto Rico (spiced rum, parrot bay, private stock)
  • Coruba- Jamaica
  • Cruzan- Virgin Islands (single barrel, estate diamond, fruit flavors)
  • Gosling’s Black Seal- Bermuda
  • Malibu- Barbados
  • Marti- U.S.A. (previously made in Cuba)
  • Mount Gay- Barbados (extra old, eclipse, special reserve)
  • Myers’s- Jamaica
  • Pyrat- Anguilla (pyrat xo, pistol, cask 23)
  • Seagram’ Rare RumsR.L. Seal’s (Barbados) Myers’s Legend (Jamaica),Gran Blason (Costa Rica) Diplomatico (Venezuela)
  • Whalers- U.S.A. (Hawaii)

-By Beverage Brian
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