Hello rum fans. I am rather new in the beautiful world of rum & this is my first post here. After several tastings of rums from different countries I have come to the conclusion that I prefer the rums with a rather sweet character & discernible flavours of fruits & molasses (a good example would be Abuelo 7 & 12) and that the "drier" ones with intense tobacco & leather character (Dictador, for example) are not my cup of tea.....eeee rum! So my question is this : which rums (under 50$) would you recommend to me, serious, pleasantly and not excessively sweet rums & not Zacapa-like drinks? I know that the issue "sugar & substances in rum" is big & controversial, but I would like to know your opinions anyway. Thanks in advance for your answers.
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Hey Rumaniac - welcome :) Have you tried Zaya? To me it's more of an in-between rum but slightly on the sweet side.
Thanks Andy :-) Unfortunately Zaya can't be found in Greece (I can't complain though, several other labels are sold here, although in a higher price than in U.K. or U.S.)
Greece? Yassou! Most of us unknowingly started with secretly altered, heavily sugared rums which were actually more liqueurs, like Zacapa or Zaya. There are many others. The sugar is dominant and easy to drink, but it rather covers up the real character of a good rum.
Sugared rums are made cheaply, or cheapened and depend on the hidden added sugar and flavorings for what is really a false profile. Yet these are what we are told is "rum". They aren't.
In time most of us discovered real and pure rums like the Seale's products (there are many others), and in very little time you will develop a preference for the real thing. Compare to good whiskies or bourbons - these are not altered or sugared.
But I do understand your problem. One approach may be to look for rums that are only moderately altered (say 10 or 12% sugar), then try some lightly altered rums, say 6-8%. At that point you will surely appreciate a truly pure rum. Regular visitors here are aware I'm sure of the Master Sugar List, which summarizes about 840 rum tests for sugar.
You can consult the list, and find sugar levels for these, here:
Yassou Captain, I am aware of your arguments about alteration & sweetening of rum & I find the issue something that we rum fans should bear in mind, but in the end of the day & regardless of laboratory measurements, we choose what really suits & satisfies us, don't we? For example, I do know that souvlaki isn't the healthiest food out there & despite I generally look after my diet, I always have one or two every week :-)
The Greek Festivals are coming up here and I can't wait for all those homemade Greek desserts I love so much. Just one correction: these are neither simply arguments, nor are they mine alone. Any number of leading commentators are aware of the problem: Serge, Dave Broom, Richard Seale and many, many others.
All are keenly aware of the law which is clear: addition of sugar or other flavorings must be labeled, and this is for rum, whisky, bourbon, vodka and others. Simply the label must used the word "flavored" - and - must identify the primary flavoring used, eg. "Sweetened Rum" or "Prune Surprise", et al.
All these spirits operate under the same regulations and sections, and with the exception of about half the rums, all tend to comply.
El Dorado 8; A "modest" 15g of sugar, about the upper limit personally. Underneath the sweetness of El D rums, is a quality product. I find it fascinating that you are in Greece looking for sweeter rums and I'm in America drooling over Velier products.
I like Bernudez 1852 Aniversario. Packaging not the best, but well priced and very easy to drink.
Jimbo, looked at your list....
Bermudez 1852 Aniversario: 0 thefatrumpirate 0
Bermudez1852 Aniversario 12 Anos: 26 Capn Jimbo 26
Is there a reason for this? I would be (pleaseantly) surprised if it was zero
Thanks for the post, very interesting. I've contacted the Pirate (Wes) to see if we can both rerun this one. It is entirely possible - if our tests remain the same - that we've caught Bermudez adding sugar for the American market...
Mine is UK stock and sweet enough. I would love it to be 0 but in all honesty I really can't imagine it is. Whenever I see descriptives of "caramel" which Bermudez uses, I imagine it has sugar added.
Nice to see one of my current favourites (excluding Seale's) the Sunset Captain Bligh XO being at 0.
Just retested my Bermudez (serial # 12011190, purchased in US), and got the same about the same result (27g this time). The Pirate states his bottle is from 2013; he speculates that Bermudez may have switched to glycerine instead of sugar (apparently to evade the hydrometer test while still adding artificial sweetness and faux "smoothness"). I asked him to retest if possible.
I long ago speculated that rums are "modified" to the market, and my Bermudez was purchased in the US - the American "sweet tooth" is well known....
If Pirate needs a sample from my bottle, happy to post it to him.
700ml bottle (so not for USA market) Batch - 08121190
This used to happen with champagne. I think it was Veuve that added some for certain markets, but then it used to get shipped on the parallel market to all corners of the world and tasted "wrong" and I think it was all more hassle than it was worth. Might be wrong though!
PS - as for adapting rums to markets, my mother was in South America a while back and brought back a litre bottle of Abuelo 12yo. I think she might have picked it up in Miami while transiting. Anyway, it was 37.5% while the UK stock is 40%. Usually I would expect the UK to have the lower strength due to our high Duty rates based on ABV.
I'll check... btw, your batch/serial is one digit shorter than mine - can you check it?
Update: Wes (the Pirate) stated he'd already retested his Bermudez, and again, his bottle tested out at 0g. Wes and I do agree that the distillers are keenly aware of the Master Sugar List, and the now widespread testing for sugar, ergo he believes Bermudez may have substituted glycerine.
Richard Seales position is that glycerine has long been used but in relatively small amounts (about 1g/l). He states that glycerine exhibits about 2/3rds of the sweetness of sugar, and if used in the typical amounts is added primarily for mouthfeel. He feels that certain barrels (ie ex-sherry) seem to retain some of the glycerine previously used, thus "finishing" seems to pass along the ex-glycerine in small amounts, adding a touch of sweetness to vodka, rum, even some whiskies.
My position at this point is that such small amounts of glycerine (1g) - while affecting mouth feel - cannot possibly compare to the sugar bombs that have 20-40g of secret sugar.
Batch number is as stated. Same number of digits (ie 8) as yours :)
Oops... right you are. First it's the blue pill, then it's counting digits...
RL Seale is a good sweet rum as well Cane Mill 8year
Zaya is very sweet and good. Sorry you can't get it.
I kind of like that same kind of rum and found that Barbados rums tend to be more to my liking
Diplomatico Mantuano and El Dorado 8 are around 15g/l, but they're better as mixers.
Abuelo 12 isn't very good at all, quite disappointed with it.
If you've concerns with sugar the best advice is you give the more pure rums more time to get used to.
Mount Gay XO, Seale's 10, Appleton 12 all around the same price and very good once you get used to them.
Captain Jim could we get a test on the plantation new recipe of the double dark aged rum ?
"Captain Jim could we get a test on the plantation new recipe of the double dark aged rum ?"
For future reference:
For future reference about 40 tests have been performed on Plantation rums, and ALL of them have been sugared, some over 20g/l - this is the equivalent of 5 teaspoons of rum/bottle - a LOT of sugar. The Plantation tests include even tests on their "Single Barrel" releases, and a dark from Trinidad.
Since all the test show serious evidence of sugaring, it's hard to assume that any Pee rum is free of sugaring. Your very best bet is to consult the Master Sugar List before your purchase. Companies that sugar probably will continue to do so, the half of rums that are produced honestly will be by distillers you will come to trust.
Example: Appleton, Mount Gay, Seales, Barbancourt et al. Check the list and get familiar with it...
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