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LostSoul

Posted 11 Jul '20 from Greece with 14 ratings

I am at a turning point, expanding, experimenting, in search of good stuff. Problem is, there are lots of contradictions, especially if you read ratings and reviews in other places simultaneously. Obviously, it all comes down to personal taste, at the very end... But still, i see people being divided and kinda bickering over. Especially whenever sweet or very sweet rums are being involved. As well as a large portion of people criticizing harshly a well established product that has a set of well recognizable values/qualities with unanimous praise behind it, at times.

I admit that i like sweet things, but at the same time, i like quality things. So naturally, whenever i see lines such as "sugary scam", i cannot help it but be alarmed and stand at the tip of my toes; even though the rum in question is iconic. Or "tags" such as: "petrol", "gasoline", "ethanol", artificial" etc.

So! Since i am organized and always plan beforehand, i have an accordingly organized wishlist, with its bottom being my immediate priority. But hey, among the few bottles there, some are commonly known "sugarbombs". To the matter at hand, then. Despite the occasional harsh criticism, are sugarbombs that much bad, as far as "authentic rum" or "experienced connoisseurs" go? Will rums such as Plantation 20 XO, Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, El Dorado 15, Millonario XO, Zacapas etc disappoint me? Some of those are expensive too, with lots of people sticking that to their "accusation list" also.

To sum it up, what is your opinion, on that matter? To Sugarbomb or not to sugarbomb and instead, lean over to Foursquares, roughs and drys?

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Harrie

From Netherlands with 49 ratings Replied 11 Jul '20

It is all up to you of course and calling someones taste good or bad is tricky to say the least. When I started expanding my rum-horizon I knew I wouldn't like sugarbombs but I was not an anti-sugar purist. I found out however that my tastebuds have more principles than my mind as I simply don't like added sugar; flaws are hidden by it and you actually taste less and although the sugar makes a rum appear more full-bodied it is in reality just a very cheap way to 'pump' it up.

The point is that when you like your rums sweet you can always add sugar but there is no way to get it out again once it is added. For me adding sugar by the distiller means; 'I made a shitty product but want to sell it anyway' but a lot of people are so used to overly sugared foods and drinks they don't even notice it when 10-20gpl is added and still review those rums as being dry.

Just try out what you want to try, dry or sweet, and find out what you like. I wouldn't care too much about what others think of your taste; it will evolve anyway and the only thing that really matters is that you discover what you like.

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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 326 ratings Replied 11 Jul '20

LostSoul and Harrie:

You have both come to the right place with this question! Before joining Rum Ratings, my favorites had been El Dorado 12 (over ED15 or ED 8) and Matusalem 15. Then this site led me to DRE as the one with the most reviews, one that I had never heard of up until here. I tried it and loved it. At first!!!! Then I found out about certain rums not tasting the same after sitting in the bottle for at least a month. Then I found out about added sugar through Captain Jimbo's Rum Project. Meanwhile, I also experienced my butt being welded to the royal porcelain throne the next day. I then knew the evils of added sugar in rums!!! Did I join the sugar police? Hell no! I did more research and came up with my own categories for added sugars that many have already seen here before.

Basically, 0-9 gpl of added sugar is dry in my book. The sugar police disagree with anything above 0 gpl, but they are entitled to their own opinion. Moving up, 10-19 gpl of added sugar qualifies as semi dry in my book. This is a happy medium for most. Moving up to 20-29 gpl of added sugar makes them sweet. In this case, the only sweet rums that I will still buy are Plantation XO and Vizcaya VXOP. Then come the sugar bombs, with 30-49 gpl of added sugar. The only one of these that I still buy is Dos Maderas 5+5. How on earth do they pull it off is a mystery. Any "rum" with more than 49 gpl of added sugar is considered to be flavored or spiced. Drink at your own risk!!!!

So in my attempt of satisfying everyone on here, if you love those sugar bombs, make sure to consume the entire bottle in less than one month while exercising moderation. For sweet rums, your bottle may last longer with less ill effects the next day. For those who agree with the sugar police of having 0 gpl of added sugar, stick with unflavored rums from Barbados, Jamaica, or Nicaragua. However, many of these can be quite boring in my opinion. Also notice that Flor de Cana has to add some sugar to it's 25 year release because the flavors had all been diluted by then.

As for trying to make all of these rum companies display added sugar on their bottles, forget it. This has been tried before and with no success. There are simply too many countries involved with their own laws. It is up to us to report who uses additives!!!! Once knowing this will let each one of us know what to expect for a long term investment or a waste of money after only one month.

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Immiketoo (PREMIUM)

From Greece with 33 ratings Replied 11 Jul '20

As a new connoisseur of rum, I think that your taste buds evolve over time. I like a sweet rum, but I can appreciate a dry as well. What I can’t stand is the taste of a clearly artificially flavored rum.

To me, the chemical taste of some products is off putting, while sweetened rums done well are highly enjoyable.

A lot of it depends on my mood, what I’ve eaten and how balanced the particular rum is.

Also, my wife and I have recently started a no sugar diet, with rum being my exception. I have found that overly sweet rums don’t sit well with me whereas exquisitely balanced rums are easy to drink, regardless of the sweetness.

I’ve also found more rums taste sweet since eliminating sugar in other areas.

I’m not going to eliminate a sweet rum from my likes if I enjoy it. However, if it leaves a bad taste or hurts my digestion, it’s off the list. After
Today, I think there’s a selection of rums for everyone, having been to a bar with over 100 different types!

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vomi1011

From Germany with 162 ratings Replied 12 Jul '20

I still enjoy Zacapa and ElD15 as well as Hampden and Caroni. I don't think you will be disappointed.
In my opinion all this rums are of good quality.

Some people are purists and they don't accept rum with additives.
Their taste buds have got used to high-proof alcohol and they can enjoy the intensity of dry rums. But there are much more people who can't enjoy it, they want mild rums with additives.

I would recomend you to try all of them. If you are open minded, you will also enjoy the best rums of both worlds.

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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 326 ratings Replied 12 Jul '20

Immiketoo:

Notice at the top of my cabinet are four from Dictador. This company has figured out a way for all of us to have our cake and eat it too. They also sell coffee beans, which are stored in their barrels. Many of their barrels have also been used to age aguardiente, which is the Columbian equivalent of the Brazilian cachaca. In other words, the sweetness is already in their barrels, so there is no need for them to add sugar except at a bare minimum. Moving up to their XO line of rums, they take the rum out of the barrels at a certain point and char those barrels again before returning the rum to their original casks. This is why the XO rums cost so much. This double charring process also removes most of the coffee notes. Research really pays off well!!!!

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Immiketoo (PREMIUM)

From Greece with 33 ratings Replied 12 Jul '20

Paul, the XO Insolent is one of my favorites right now, and I plan on trying the others in their lineup as well, however, I just got a second bottle of Ambassador and I have a bottle of Centenario Real on the way so it will have to wait a bit :)

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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 326 ratings Replied 12 Jul '20

Immiketoo;

Wow! You went through that bottle of Ambassador fairly quick! By the way, at Frankie's Tiki Room in Las Vegas, the Ambassador is the most expensive one ounce pour that one can order, presumably for when one wins the jackpot.

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Immiketoo (PREMIUM)

From Greece with 33 ratings Replied 12 Jul '20

Paul, I did, and it surprised me. I fee like I have a lot of catching up to do, and one drink isn’t really enough!

BTW, why does rum come in 70 cl bottles?

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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 326 ratings Replied 12 Jul '20

Immiketoo:

Over here, I have never seen any spirit being sold in 70 cl bottles. They are either 750 ml or 1 liter bottles. This goes back to the late seventies when the metric system was forced upon those still using ounces and quarts and gallons. To a degree they have succeeded. A fifth always meant a fifth of a gallon, so 750 ml closely approximates the same number of ounces that were found in a fifth.

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Immiketoo (PREMIUM)

From Greece with 33 ratings Replied 12 Jul '20

Weird. Since I moved to Europe, all alcohol like rum and whiskey and vodka are all sold in 70 cl bottles.

In the states I remember 750 ml as well. Strange phenomenon.

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5691Aa (PREMIUM)

From United States with 24 ratings Replied 25 Jul '20

I am not a Puritan on these topics, if you like your rum sweeter, enjoy! I do concur on the need for transparency. If adding sugar, customers should have some visibility to this. Other than that enjoy your rum however you like

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Harrie

From Netherlands with 49 ratings Replied 25 Jul '20

5691Aa:
You have the essence by the balls (sorry if this offends); what we need is regulations about the information on the label. Everybody should enjoy what he or she likes but when crisps or whatever product has to state detailed product information on the label I don't get why spirits don't. Some producers do (sort of) like Tecnoazucar (Cuba) or Hampden (Jamaica) but overall they can do what they want and keep us in the dark. Transparancy is what we need indeed!

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Immiketoo (PREMIUM)

From Greece with 33 ratings Replied 26 Jul '20

Since this post started, I fell into several conversations about sugar and additives and got my head blown off by some folks who are purists.

It surely takes some of the luster off my new love of rum, but the reality is that I like what I like, and that’s that.

Some very sweet rums are sitting in my shelf and I’ll try them again in a month to see how they are.

Meanwhile, I can’t stop guzzling Plantation XO. It’s my guilty pleasure of a sweet rum and it’s delicious. They never last a month. My poor liver.

I’ve delved into Foursquare products and there is a noticeable difference in quality in these rums compared to some other brands, and they have sweetness all their own. I quite like them so far.

So, to each their own. To the OP, where in Greece are you, and where are you buying from?

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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 326 ratings Replied 26 Jul '20

Immiketoo:

If you can get your hands on a bottle of Vizcaya VXOP 21 for about $45 US per bottle, go for it. I have had this one ranked higher than my other recommended sweet rum, Plantation XO. Tasting side by side, this Vizcaya once again beats it in the taste test. It is a Cuban style rum distilled in the Dominican Republic and uses the 21 year solera method of aging. Like the Plantation XO, both are sweet without becoming sugar bombs. And yes, most rums with zero added sugar can be downright boring, but few care to admit this. Keep the added sugar down to 29 gpl or less and one's rum life will be just fine.

I hate to see what the crap was like that the pirates drank, which is why it was called Kill Devil. If you want of hint of what those were like, spend the bucks on one of the Hampden products.

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Immiketoo (PREMIUM)

From Greece with 33 ratings Replied 26 Jul '20

I imagine it was vile and harsh. I have no desire to waste cash on that sort of product. The Foursquare offerings are quite nice so far, as are the Appleton Estate lineup. My fave is the Plantation XO though. Woah...

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vomi1011

From Germany with 162 ratings Replied 26 Jul '20

Hampden is one of the best distilleries in the world.
They make an exceptional rum.
If someone doesn't like Hampden or Caroni, it means that the taste buds have not yet developed.

Here is a distillery ranking for the orientation:
https://singlecaskrum.com/2020/03/19/14482/

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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 326 ratings Replied 26 Jul '20

vomi1011

Sorry to strongly disagree with you, but my one try at a Hampdem rum (Estate 8 tear) was a total disaster! I thanked them for showing us what rum was like before master blenders took over and greatly improved things. If you like any of the Hampdems as well as falling for their very high prices, may I suggest Wray And Nephew Overproof from Jamaica. I would not even clean toilets with that shit!!!

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vomi1011

From Germany with 162 ratings Replied 26 Jul '20

I think you like only spanish style rums (solera and column distellation). That's not a problem, but you can not compare an english style pot still rum with spanish style column distellation rum.
They have another flavour profiles and intensity.

There's a difference in the statement that it doesn't taste good and I don't like it.
A connoisseur can evaluate and rate a rum, although he doesn't like it.
This includes knowledge of the distilleries, their products and their flavours.
Hampden Estate 8 is not a great or special, but overall a good rum.
One try is not enough to undestand Hampden.

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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 326 ratings Replied 27 Jul '20

I happen to like all three styles, Spanish, British, and French. But when I find a bad one, I will gladly tell the world about it. My one bad try on Hampdem was my first and last and they will get no more of my money. There are rums that I did not like and rated them fairly for others who may not agree with me. Overall, my ratings come in at 10-60-30. This means 10 percent for those that I rate at 8 and above, 60 percent for those rated at a 7 or a 6, and 30 percent rated at 5 or below to never be bought again. If it were not for the help of fellow reviewers, there is no way that I could have achieved these numbers on the high side.

In my champagne years, I got into heated arguments with a French lady who I worked with. After lots of research and tastings, I would declare which ones were good. She insisted on me calling them only as the ones that I liked. What this meant for me was that my educated opinion did not mean shit at all according to her. Our arguments ensued and I wound up winning. Basically, Monk Dom Perignon did lots of research with all of the time on his hands, and then leave it to California to come up with cheaper methods to achieve similar results. She could never accept this fact. In 2005, our panel did a test from three of us on Dom Perignon versus Louis Roderer Anderson Valley Estate at a huge price difference. Her mother and I could not tell them apart, but my ex-girlfriend swore up and down that she could tell the difference. Liar, liar, pants on fire!

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vomi1011

From Germany with 162 ratings Replied 27 Jul '20

A blind man walks along the street towards a group of passengers. The people in the group stand together and stare at a rainbow. The blind man asks the group why the group is blocking the way.
A stranger tells him they're staring at a rainbow, it's beautiful.
The blind man replies it's not beautiful because he doesn't see it. The group broke up and the blind man continued on his way.
What is the truth? Everything is true, the blind cannot see a rainbow and the rainbow is beautiful.
And how can someone make a blind man see? No one can, except Jesus maybe.

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DFW.TX

From United States with 23 ratings Replied 27 Jul '20

vomi1011, I'm right there with ya!

First, I'm lucky I came from bourbon & tequila and prefer dry rums. Cannot stand dosed rums. We started on ED12 and it was waaay too sweet for us. If you like it and others, THAT'S GREAT! It's like someone who wants to buy Clase Azul or Casa Dragones though.... thinking they're good b/c of the fancy bottle or celebrity endorsement. That's fine and all, just educate yourself and know what you're buying and drinking. Not traditionally made, with additives to MANIPULATE the final flavor.

Second, a few months ago I never would've thought I would be digging funky Jamaicans. Man, have I done a 180. Hampden Overproof, Hampden 46%, Stolen Overproof, Worthy Park Single Estate, Rum Fire, Rum-Bar, Hamilton Pot Still Black/Gold... YESSIR!!! Can't get enough of these right now. The 1st 4 have been excellent sippers. The others I've been finding ways to blend them into our cocktails.

That said, everybody has different tastes and likes. Our palates are different. BUT, that can evolve over time. That's why I take reviews/recommendations with a grain of salt and I've tried to be less critical of other's choices. What may be a 'bad' rum or bad 'value' for you isn't the same for everyone else. I'm going through Hampden Overproof now. 3 months ago... I wouldn't have paid the $80 to begin with... but I would've taken a whiff and a sip and been happy giving it back. Now, I would rate it a solid, solid 8 and want to try some of the other Velier Hampden offerings.

It's all relative. You do you. Drink what you like. Recommend what you like. Don't be a dick about what you don't like however. ;)

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