Why the Words “Dark Rum” Are Meaningless


Of all the major liquor families to populate the well of your average bar, none is so fundamentally misunderstood on almost every level by the American consumer as rum. And really, it’s not their fault—rum, as a topic, seems to possess an almost mystical power to compel mythology and misinformation.

Its histories are murky and rife with inaccuracy. Many national rum industries get away with inconsistent or downright misleading labeling practices. Unlike homegrown American liquor terms such as “bourbon,” merely seeing the word “rum” barely gives you any information at all as to what is inside a bottle. It’s the most confounding of the major spirit categories … and one of the most delicious as well.

In general, though—and especially because we’ve recently conducted some rum blind tastings and general rum reviews —this feels like a good time to clear up some misconceptions on exactly what “rum” truly is, and exactly why so many rum labels aren’t particularly meaningful in classification.


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