White Rum or Gold Rum?

by Raúl Pérez

Rum is an alcoholic beverage which is obtained by fermenting and subsequently distilling sugar cane. The resulting liquid is then aged in oak barrels and depending on the time it spends in the barrels you end up with a white or a gold rum. There are also other variants such as dark rum, or premium rum, which are made using other techniques. However, in this post, we will mainly be focusing on white and gold rums.

A Bit About the History of Rum

We will not be going into detail about the rich history of the origin of rum today. But as it is one of the most important spirits in the world, we will do a small recap on where rum comes from.

This liquor was first mentioned in documents from Barbados in 1651, and it was known under names such as Kill-devil or Rumbullion. In the French colonies, it was known as Guildive or Tafia. But the spirit became popular and was widely known as Rum in 1667. The term is derived from the Spanish word Ron which means ”root” in Arabic.

We also know of earlier rum-like drinks such as the development of fermented beverages made from sugar cane which were produced in ancient Greece. The first modern-day rum distillation was carried out in the Caribbean sugar cane plantations in the 17th century. The slaves on the plantations were the first to develop this popular spirit.

Rum Producing Countries

Rum can reach an alcohol content of up to 80 % through distillation, however, this percentage is reduced by adding purified water. Each country that produces rum has adopted its own quality standard for their products. In fact, there is no worldwide consensus on what the standard for rum should be. Therefore, you can find great variety and many styles of rum throughout the world.

Spanish speaking countries generally produce dry and light-bodied rums which are similar to brandy. English and French-speaking countries often produce more full-bodied and spicy rums.

The Most Important Rum Producing Countries

The 2 Great Types of Rum:

White Rum

The white rum obtains its absence of colour by being filtered through charcoal which removes the characteristic gold colour. Some factories bottle the rum directly after distillation and a gold rum is usually a bit stronger. The rum will normally age between 18-36 months.

Gold Rum

The gold rum gets its beautiful colour from the oak barrels where it is stored during the ageing process. The more time it spends in the barrel, the darker the rum will become. It is also worth noting that part of the distilled alcohol evaporates while being kept in the barrels. This means that the rum gets a softer finish and the rum will also be more expensive. Commonly rum is aged for 5 years, but many fine rums are aged for much longer (7 years, 12 years, 23 years …) which results in a premium rum of much higher quality.

Translated by Karoline Arlberg

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