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Garganos rum classification system

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Posted 12 Sep '20 from Germany with 208 ratings

I wanna discuss Garganos classification in this post and how we can benefit from it.
For a long time rum was classified into colors (dark, white, golden) or country styles (French, English, Spanish).
Rumratings has also a classification system, it's a mixed classification system with following types: aged, agricole, cachaca, dark, gold, light, overproof, flavored.
I don't use this classification yet, because almost all rums that I'm interested in are in the aged section.

Garganos classification became popular and some sellers already adopted it, see thewhiskyexchange.
Who not know the system yet, you can find some information here:

Fatrumpirate wrote some benefits of using this system.
"The key to the classification is that it is giving you information. Thus educating and giving you a better understanding of rum."

What do you think about this system and the integration of Garganos classification into the rumratings site? Would you use it, or would you don't benefit from it?



From Netherlands with 54 ratings Replied 12 Sep '20

In my perfect world there would be a geographical indication on rums and a G.I. would only be given when a rum is made by the national laws of the country/region it came from. A bit like what is used by wine labeling in Europe. More clarity on the label about the contents would also be more than welcome. For me that would be more helpfull than any classification-system but I don't see that happening in the next years (decades).

I think the Garganos classification is better than using color or style but it is a system that is probably nice for aficionados but I don't really see it stick to a larger audience. As long as the bulk of rum sales concists of edited vodka-like concoctions most people will probably be happier with gold/white/spiced as classification.



From United States with 337 ratings Replied 12 Sep '20

I agree that the rum types on this web site were a starting point and need to be revised. Over the years, I came up with 13 categories that suit me fine. Since I had so many Coconut rums reviewed, I had to make that as a separate classification from Flavored. Notice that my categories start out dry and gradually add sugar, which seriously needs to be addressed. Gold Mixers are nothing more than White rums with just a bare minimum of aging or artificial coloring.

As I get a new rum, I enter it into my spreadsheet. Then I rate it within that category and yesterday was a new white rum. Then I rank in within that category. Then I sort by all rankings to see if it can move any further up in my rankings. This is VERY important because it ultimate governs which ones are good buys and which ones are not. Taste and overall ranking counts twice as much as price in my book.

Here are my 13 categories:
Aged Dry
Aged Semi-Dry
Aged Sweet
Sugar Bomb
Gold Mixer

And I agree with Harrie that the Garganos rating system would suit aficionados more than anyone.



From Germany with 208 ratings Replied 12 Sep '20

I thought the most of us are aficionados. The classiffication is of course more important for us that for someone who just want to drink a bottle of rum without much knowledge about it.
Most of the points mentioned are already included in the system.

The geographical origin is of course mandatory and belongs to the classification system, like thefatrumpirat wrote:
" shouldn’t really judge whether a 15 Year Old Jamaican rum is better than a 15 Year Old Demerara. Apples and Pears."

Additives are also considered in the system:
"It is also worth noting that whilst the classification doesn’t mention additives (such as sugar added post distillation) wherever 100% is used in the classification it means just that. So if you have added anything (barring water for proofing reasons) to your rum it must be placed in the Modern Rum category". This is a point which is very clear – once it has been pointed out to you. In my case Richard Seale made this (now obvious) point clear to me.

On the Velier Foursquare bottle in the link of fatrumpirate you can see how the classification works.
If you see "Jamaica Pure Single Rum" on the bottle, you already know that it's an aged rum, that it's from Jamaica, the type of distillation "pot still" and used material "molasses".
I think the most important step is to differentiate between pot, column and multicolumn production.
Because the produced flavors are different. I expect other aromas in a pot still rum than in a column still rum.

If we had this system on rumratings it would be pretty clear which rums are clean, how they were produced and what we could expect.


Stefan Persson (PREMIUM)

From Sweden with 163 ratings Replied 14 Sep '20

I like the Garganos classification system, but I think it will be really difficult to implement it on the site.
It’s already difficult to get members to publish their reports in the right place and even worse is when “some“ of the members create their own.
Then we have the lack of information from the producers/bottlers. I checked some of my bottles and on some there are lots of information, for example Hampden. On others there’s no information at all. I was surprised that the bottles from Foursquare/R.L.Seales had so little information.



From United Kingdom with 143 ratings Replied 14 Sep '20

@vomi1011 interesting suggestion to get more granular in RR's 'classifications'. As @Stefan and @PaulB mentioned, one of the main difficulties is simply gathering the data. I've found over the years even the flavored category gets contentious...

That said, I'd be game for creating a few new classifications if you + the community would lend a hand filling in the information to a shared spreadsheet?

I could envision creating a few new selectors:

1) 'Raw material' with options A) Molasses, B) Cane Juice, C) Unknown
2) 'Manufacture method' with options A) Pot still, B) Single column still, C) Multiple column still, D) Unknown

If you're interested in helping to complete the sheet, let me know and I'll export the companies/brands. Let me also know if the above categories make sense and/or if any others are needed. Also, I'm not quite sure if the 'Agricole' distinction still makes sense with the addition of a raw material selector, could be removed if it makes sense.



From Germany with 208 ratings Replied 14 Sep '20

Sure, I would help to fill the spreadsheet.

I think it's difficult to adjust the classification system according to Garganos system. We should refine and discuss the changes.
I would use a "type rum section" instead of the used "raw material". Zacapa is made from sugar cane honey (heated sugar cane juice) but is not an agricole for example.

How do you like this suggestion?
1) Type -> [A] Rum, [B] Agricole, [C] Spiced (or flavored), [D] Liqueur
2) Distillation -> [A] Pot still, [B] Column still, [C] Pott + Column still, [D] Multiple column still, [E] Unknown/Mixed
3) Manufacture -> [A] Single Cask, [B] Pure blend (one distillery), [C] Blend (multiple distilleries), [D] Solera

If you only want to use two sections, this classification system can do that too.
1) Type -> [A] Traditional rum, [B] Traditional agricole, [C] Modern rum (Solera), [D] Spiced (or flavored), [E] Liqueur
2) Distillation -> [A] Pot still, [B] Column still, [C] Pot + Column still, [D] Multiple column still, [E] Unknown/Mixed

Some explanations:
Dictador 20: 1c + 2c
Zacapa would be: 1c + 2d

I'm not sure if we need an additives section. It would be cool to have a filter option "without additives".

@Stefan, yes it's difficult. But the community can gather any information.
Once we have the information many rum lovers would benefit from it.


Charles M

From United Kingdom with 132 ratings Replied 17 Sep '20

My issue is one with the differentiating between gold and dark. I did a quick look on line, and dark rum is stated as being aged in oak longer. So for example, I have some 40yo+ Cuban rum which is pretty dark, about the same as Lamb's Navy Rum. I really don't think that these two should be both classified as dark.

And then of course there is caramelisation of rums to add colour, which makes the whole thing a bit of a nonsense.So I would classify as only white or dark (or use gold, but not both).

I suppose we all have separate ideas on what we would like in a classification. I do a fair number of whisky bottlings, so base some of my thoughts on that. I think it probably quite important to not over complicate things.

The areas I would classify:

Geographic....Rum from a single distillery vs blended rums, which would then be separated into blend from one region/island or multiple regions/islands.

Age...the thread about XO rums shows a need for clarity in some instances. If distillers are going to use an age statement or indicator (like VSOP, XO) then it should relate properly. Another example (also a recent thread) is Kirk & Sweeney's 12 Reserva. The predecessor was 12 Year Old so not an issue. The 12 Reserva I have my suspicions it is not a 12yo any more, yet the labelling suggests it is. I think this really needs addressing.

Addditions....what's been added - spice, colour and sugar. I seem to recall the word "Pure" being bandied about. This is the hardest part to convey information to the customer. Not the "pure" or spiced one's but the ones that have had colour and sugar added. Maybe colour is ignored, and sugar has various designations dependent on the level has been added

So all in all, I would like to know 3 things: where the rum comes from, to not have misleading age statements (or inferences that it is older than it is) and has it had anything added to it.

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