Tales of the Tot

Tales of the Tot

The Black Tot Journal: A Beginner Learns About Spiced & Flavoured Rum

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What should you look for in a spiced or flavoured rum? Read below for some tips.

Hello all! I’m Edel, Brand Marketing Executive with Elixir Distillers and Black Tot Rum, whisky fan and novice to the rum world. The purpose of these Black Tot Journal articles is to discuss my journey into rum. This is from the perspective of somebody completely new to the category and I’ll be writing in a (hopefully) engaging way that makes the spirit more accessible to others who are just discovering it too. We’re all in this together, so we may as well enjoy it!

For this article, I’m going to look more closely at another type of rum you may be familiar with – spiced and/or flavoured rums. Often, we novices don’t really understand the differences between various spiced/flavoured rums or even between them and other types of rum. At Black Tot Rum, we don’t produce a spiced/flavoured rum, so I’m looking at this from an even more objective standpoint, hoping to glean some more understanding on this small corner of the intricate rum world. Hopefully, this article will help to clear things up for you a little too.

Firstly, I would be remiss not to mention that most of us probably had our first foray into the rum world with a spiced rum. The ones we may have tasted are generally crowd pleasers, stocked in the most popular bars and pubs and often the usual go-to for a simple serve (Captain Morgan and Coke anyone?). However, a lot of the time, many of the mainstream spiced/flavoured rums can’t even actually be called ‘rum’ because the ABV is too low (it needs to be 37.5%) - have you ever noticed the term ‘rum based/spirit drink’ or the fact that the word ‘rum’ often isn’t actually on the label of these bottles?

Typically, a lot of these widespread flavoured/spiced ‘rums’ have a pretty mellow rum base, often unaged or at least quite young, or a blend of both, sometimes with added colouring. But there are bottlings and brands with beautifully intense and characterful, sometimes well aged base rums which are perfectly complemented by the additional flavours – popular spice flavourings include cinnamon, cloves and ginger, while fruit flavourings such as coconut, banana or pineapple are also seen. Quite often, one has to take the ‘fruit and/or spice’ mentioned with a pinch of salt – it may not actually include natural spices or flavours, but pull all of its seasoning entirely from artificial flavouring.

However, despair not! There are some fantastic spiced and flavoured rums out there which do use natural spices and/or flavours. These rums will taste all the richer for the authenticity, meaning you can forgo thin and artificial aromas and flavours, and really appreciate the richness that well-sourced and balanced ingredients can contribute. 

So, now that we know a bit more about spiced and flavoured rum, I’ll leave you with a rundown of what to look out for the next time you fancy adding a bottle to your home bar: try to find out what you can about the quality and origin of the base rum, ensure the spices and/or flavourings are natural rather than artificial where possible and be mindful of your palate and what flavours you usually enjoy in order to find something to really augment your rum experience.

Until next time!

 

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