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Why are white rums so maligned?


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Paul B (PREMIUM)

Posted 1 Jan '21 from United States with 411 ratings

Let's face it folks! White rums are what start out becoming the aged rums that we all love. Get it wrong on this first part and there is absolutely no hope for improvement. So here are my top rated molasses based white rums, all at my rating of 7 and displayed in order of my own ranking.

Selvarey White
Cana Brava 3 Year Old (no longer available)
Plantation Artisinal 3-Stars (with 13 gpl of added sugar)
Foursquare Probitas
Vizcaya Cristal
Marsh House
Diplomatico Planas
Doorly's White
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Mujuru

From United States with 77 ratings Replied 1 Jan '21

You forgot your Clairin Le Roche and Neisson Blanc that you rate very highly ;)
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 411 ratings Replied 2 Jan '21

Mujuru: I should have specified white rums that are molasses based. Those two that you mentioned are agricoles from cane juice.
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Mujuru

From United States with 77 ratings Replied 2 Jan '21

Yes. I figured as much. I was mainly joking. I would add Havana Club 3 Year (the Cuban version) to that list also. It is nearly identical to Selvarey White (though Selvarey White is just slightly better in my opinion)
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 411 ratings Replied 2 Jan '21

Mujuru: Here in the USA, we cannot get any Cuban products because of the embargo. I also live too far away from Canada where Cuban rums can be found. A few years ago, I did get to try Havana Club 7 Year at a bar in New Orleans. I never saw that rum again.
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Mujuru

From United States with 77 ratings Replied 2 Jan '21

Yeah I know. I suffer from the same frustration. Hopefully at least the traveler restrictions will be eased again to allow travelers to bring back Cuban rum for personal consumption that they bought abroad. I found Selvarey White because I had had Havana Club 3 Year the last time I was in Germany (I go to Germany every 4 years or so), and I was looking for something like it. It is remarkably similar, in fact almost identical but with the flavors in Selvarey White being slightly more pronounced.
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Stefan Persson (TASTING CLUB)

From Sweden with 224 ratings Replied 2 Jan '21

I fully understand that you only listed molasses based rums, but I still want to say that molasses based white rum is completely inferior to white Agricole rum in general. The only ones that can compete are those that have been aged for some years and then been filtered to become white again.
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Mujuru

From United States with 77 ratings Replied 2 Jan '21

@Stefan Perrson I disagree. “Inferior” is a highly subjective term. Molasses based distillates are different from Cane Juice or Cane Syrup based distillates and I happen to like both of them for different occasions and for different purposes. I would not say Molasses based rums are inherently chemically inferior to Cane juice based rums.
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 411 ratings Replied 2 Jan '21

The reason that it is very hard to find Cana Brava 3 Year is because that has now become part of Selvarey White, which Bruno Mars is a part owner of. I did a taste test of the two side by side. Eventually my suspicions were confirmed. Don Pancho got a really good deal out of that one. I happen to like just about any rum, but I do classify Whites, Agricoles, and Cachacas separately. I do classify Barbancourt and Clairins from Haiti as agricoles, even though those laws are not as strict as the ones from the French West Indies. The yeast and type of sugar cane is basically what makes Haitian rums different from true agricoles. So why can a US citizen drive into Canada to buy Cuban rums and bring them back? Because none of the profits in Canada go back to Cuba. Back when cruise ships were still allowed to sail from Tampa to Havana, I seriously looked into going. However, a cruise of similar length that did not go to Cuba was about a thousand dollars cheaper per person. Why? That extra grand per person to sail to Havana went straight into Castro's pocket. Those cruises did not last long and I never got to go.
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Stefan Persson (TASTING CLUB)

From Sweden with 224 ratings Replied 2 Jan '21

@Mujuru Maybe inferior is a too strong word, but what I really mean is that white molasses based rum got to be aged to come near white Agricole rum when it comes to rich flavors.
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Mujuru

From United States with 77 ratings Replied 2 Jan '21

Actually, Paul, due to an executive order signed by Trump in September 2020, US citizens can no longer drive to Canada and bring back Cuban rum legally. He undid Obama’s allowance for that. Hopefully, Biden will reverse that policy soon because I am hoping to be able to bring some good Cuban rums back when I go to Germany this summer.
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Stefan Persson (TASTING CLUB)

From Sweden with 224 ratings Replied 2 Jan '21

I really hope that you can buy Cuban rum again. I think that they in general, even though I really like some Panama rum, are among the best Latin styled rum. Maybe because they have rules about adding sugar, if I remember right it’s just 15gpl that’s allowed.
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 411 ratings Replied 2 Jan '21

I was unaware that when Trump ended cruises to Cuba, it also entailed not being able to bring Cuban rums into the US from Canada. That is utterly ridiculous. I am sure that Biden will turn things around, but he has a lot worse things to worry about when he takes office in a few weeks. As for rhum agricoles, I have found that they are too delicate and cannot really be aged for more than 3 years because too much of the charred oak flavor will be absorbed. Clement 10 Year tastes just like a Kentucky bourbon and costs a lot more.
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 411 ratings Replied 3 Jun '21

Since I first posted on this thread 5 months ago, a few things have changed. Doorly's White Rum has fallen from my 7 rating to a 5 and is no longer in the mix. Resurgence White Rum from Ocala Florida has replaced it at the bottom ranking of my 7 ratings. I would also like to add some honorable mentions all rated as a 6. The entire group of these 12 white rums rank in my top 18% to 40% of all that I have reviewed. My previous second ranked Cana Brava 3 Year has been removed from the list because it is no longer available. Grab a few bottles IF you can still find them.

Selvarey White
Plantation Artisinal 3-Stars
Foursquare Probitas
Vizcaya Cristal
Marsh House
Diplomatico Planas
Resurgence White

And now for the honorable mentions.
Carta Vieja Silver
Panama Pacific Blanc
Proof & Wood The Funk
Bounty White
Lyon White Rum
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rumtrinker

From Germany with 28 ratings Replied 8 Jun '21

Personally, I do not care about the colour of my rum too much. I would rather like distillers and bottlers not to add colouring agents. Most of what we get in the cheaper price segment has only been agreed for a very short time and would look like Havana Club 3, were it not for the generous use of colouring. So, yes: looking down on white rums or light coloured rums is unwise. Plus there are white rum flavour bombs like Wray and Nephew...

And as for the question the why white rums generally have a bad reputation; the answer probably is "Bacardi".
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 411 ratings Replied 9 Jun '21

rumtrinker:

The first three white rums in my original post are actually minimally aged "dark" rums with color later removed by filtration. These are, Selvaryey White, Cana Brava 3 Year, and Plantation 3-Star. No wonder they are all so good, because the aging has been disguised by removing color. There are certain kinds of drinks whereby anything other than a white rum would ruin the appearance of the drink. These three fit the bill, but Cana Brava 3 Year is no longer available, since it has become part of the Selvarey White blend.
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rumtrinker

From Germany with 28 ratings Replied 9 Jun '21

You bring up another important point: White rum is considered to be mixing rum. I find that unfortunate, as most of the not-terrible white rums are also good for sipping. They are not worse than coloured to rums, the bad sort of which is not good for sipping. "Bacardi" image is the same as "cheap mixing rum" image. It brings up the idea of vile firewater that is only good for making with other ingredients. (Why these people do not use vodka or other neutral spirits instead of beyond me. I doubt I could tell Bacardi apart in a blind tasting among vodkas and korns.)
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