welcome, initiate
enter the rumbustion society

Smuggler’s Cove offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of sugarcane spirits as a member of its rum club, The Rumbustion Society

The Rumbustion Society is free to join, and consists of three levels:

Level I: Disciple of The Cove

The first level of the club consists of sampling your way through 20 lessons to learn about the main styles and flavor profiles of rum. Your progress will be tracked with a punch card. Upon completion, you will be given a quiz to demonstrate your newly gained rum knowledge. When you pass the quiz, you will become a Disciple of The Cove, and will receive a Rumbustion Society membership card, merit badge, and access to your own online rum checklist.

Level II: Guardian of The Cove

Disciples can embark on the second level of the club, which consists of sampling your way through 80 rums of your choosing out of the vast Smuggler’s Cove collection. You will have access to a secret online site where you can track your progress and notes. Enjoy 80 rums, including at least two Immortal Rums, and you will become a Guardian of The Cove. In an elaborate initiation ceremony, you will be awarded special prizes, a certificate of completion, merit badge, and your name will forever be emblazoned on the walls of Smuggler’s Cove for all to see. You will also have the opportunity, should you dare, to move on to Level III.

Level III: Master of The Cove

The third level of the club invites you to sample 200 additional rums, including six more from our Immortal Rums Collection. This achievement will be honored with the title Master of The Cove. You will then have the opportunity to trace the spirit back to its birth as you join other Masters of The Cove on a private distillery trip.


Level I: Disciple of The Cove

Chapter Index

(Click on a link to jump to view the chapter or scroll down the page to view all the chapters in order) 


chapter one: the raw material

The Sugar:

All rum comes from sugarcane and its by-products, which Smuggler’s Cove broadly categorizes into rums that are molasses-based (made from raw materials like molasses, sugarcane syrup, evaporated cane juice, and unrefined turbinado sugar) and fresh cane juice.

Unlike wine, there is very little influence of terroir (soil quality, climatic conditions, availability of water) on molasses-based rums, though you will see some influence of terroir on rum made from fresh cane juice (such as rhum agricole – introduced in Chapter Nine)

In the case of molasses-based rums, the beauty of the final product is less in its raw material, and more in the skilled hands of the distiller and blender (See Chapter Six).


Rum production starts by adding yeast to the sugar source (e.g. molasses or sugarcane juice). This yeast may be wild and naturally occurring, or cultivated.


During fermentation, yeast converts the sugars into alcohol to create a wine. The type of yeast used and the duration of the fermentation will affect the final flavor and aroma of the rum.

Fermentation may be as little as 24 hours or as long as 2 weeks. The longer the fermentation, the more congeners (parent term for flavor and aroma compounds that include esters, tannins, aldehydes, etc.). You’ll often taste the effect of long fermentation in high-ester rums from Jamaica which gives those rums their distinctive “funky” flavor and aromas.

Experience: $12

Now taste the difference in two rums made from different raw materials:

  • Rum Fire Overproof - unaged high ester rum made from molasses (Jamaica)

  • J.M White 100 Proof – unaged rum made from fresh cane juice (Martinique)

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chapter two: pot still (batch) production

  • After fermentation (Chapter One), the fermented wash gets distilled

  • Possibly as early as the Sixteenth century, there was distillation of fermented cane juice in Brazil (known today as cachaça – See Chapter Fourteen), and perhaps even earlier in India. However, molasses-based rum has its earliest known origins in the Caribbean, with mid-Seventeenth century documentation showing rum production on Barbados.

  • This early rum would have originally been distilled in a simple alembic copper pot still, probably holding less than one hundred gallons. The rum produced would have been heavy and full-bodied with many impurities.

  • A pot still is in essence a large kettle, and because alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, the spirit vapors rise and are condensed and collected.

  • Double distillation was soon introduced in Barbados which produced a stronger, yet less toxic product, and soon Jamaica began producing rum as well.

  • Early ties between Barbados and other British colonies in North America meant that when rum began to flow, it made its way north. Soon New England colonists themselves tried their hand at distilling, making rum as early as the 1660s.

  • The pot still remains the choice among producers of whiskey, cognac, and many other spirits in addition to rum because there are certain compounds that are impossible to create through continuous distillation (See Chapter Three).

Experience: $12

These two rums are contemporary molasses-based rums made using the traditional pot still method.

  • Owney’s New York Rum – unaged

  • Wright & Brown – lightly aged (less than 4 years)

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chapter three: column still (continuous) production

  • In 1764, rum making became legal in Cuba and by the 1780s Cuba was exporting both molasses and rum to the newly formed United States.

  • In 1832, an Irishman named Aeneas Coffey patented his column (continuous) still, which allowed the production of a lighter bodied, more highly rectified spirit.

  • With the invention of the Coffey still, rum producers in Cuba and elsewhere could now more efficiently produce an even lighter-bodied rum, and by the early twentieth century producers like Bacardi in Cuba had switched entirely to column still production.

  • When Prohibition hit America, thirsty American travelers flooded to Cuba, and discovered and fell in love with the lighter column still rums and the cocktails that featured them, like the world-famous daiquiri.

  • As demand for this style of rum grew, so did the column stills – taller with more plates. Soon some producers would replace their one- and two-column stills with multicolumn facilities to ultimately increase production efficiency and yield an ever lighter distillate with fewer congeners, in some cases so neutral as to be virtually indistinguishable from ethyl alcohol.

  • Column stills remain very expensive, but their upside (compared to the pot still) is that the actual production is much more efficient. If you wanted to create a light-bodied, more neutral rum with a pot still, it would take several passes, and a great deal more energy and raw material.

Experience: $12

These two rums are molasses-based rums made using a continuous still

  • English Harbor 5 Year – an aged rum produced in Antigua (Coffey still) (more on age in Chapter Five)

  • Don Q Añejo – an aged rum produced a in Puerto Rico (Multicolumn still)

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chapter four: blended production

  • Economic pressures combined with consumers’ changing tastes contributed to the implementation of a new style of rum in the early to mid-twentieth century.

  • Following the lead of the Scottish, who had discovered the benefits of marrying pot and column distillates to produce blended Scotch whisky nearly a century earlier, rum producers took to producing blended rums and created a new medium-bodied style of rum.

  • These medium-bodied rums have the flavor and body of the pot still rum lengthened with the more efficiently-produced column still rum.

  • In some instances, the pot and column rums are blended prior to aging, and in others they are aged separately, then blended.

  • Blended rums offer many advantages. By adjusting ratios in the blends, a wide range of products can be produced that have multiple profiles and applications. A little pot still rum can go a long way in a blended rum and also allows a blended rum to be smoother on the palate at a younger age, just as the blended Scotch makers discovered years before.

Experience: $8

Now taste a molasses-based rum made using both pot and continuous stills, with rums from each being blended after aging

  • Appleton Estate Reserve – an aged blended rum produced in Jamaica (more on age in Chapter Five)

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chapter five: growing with age

  • If aging in a barrel, the wood used will impart its own qualities on rum (which vary depending if the wood is new or used), including vanillin, tannins, and color, as well as some influence from any spirit that previously aged in the barrel (bourbon, sherry, etc.), and any charring done to the barrel’s interior prior to contact with the rum.

  • A second influence of age is that, over time, compounds that were produced in the yeast fermentation (Chapter One) and remain in the distilled spirit oxidize and produce sweet and fruity aromas. Even a rum aged in a steel tank will change some with time.

  • Rum in the Caribbean ages in a different way due to the higher heat and humidity, which can exert more barrel influence over the rum at a faster pace than if it is aged in a colder climate.

  • Some rum producers in Central and South America and a few Caribbean islands use a variation of the solera method (which is used to make sherry in Spain), in which older rums are added to younger rums in the cask and allowed to mature together.

  • Age statements on a rum bottle can be a blend of ages, solera, minimum age, average age, or none of the above and just called “anejo”, “XO”, or “Extra Old” – terms that imply age, but don’t reflect strict aging guidelines.

  • At Smuggler’s Cove, we use the following broad age categories: unaged (rested a few weeks or months); lightly aged (1-4 years); aged (5-14 years); long aged (15+ years).

Experience: $14

Now taste the impact of age on a blended rum (Chapter Four) by comparing the same molasses-based rum from Barbados that has been aged for 5 years and for 12 years.

  • The Real McCoy 5 Year

  • The Real McCoy 12 Year

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chapter six: the art and science of rum

Master Distiller:

The Master Distiller is the person who oversees the fermentation and distillation of the unaged rum. They are responsible for creating a consistent and quality distillate that cherishes and celebrates the characteristics formed during fermentation.

The Master Distiller must also use great skill in operating the at times unpredictable nature of batch distillation as the selection of the cuts relies upon their individual sensory analysis. Some of their decision-making is informed by what the anticipated time aging in the barrel will be.

Master Blender:

The Master Blender has the incredibly challenging and highly regarded role of creating a final, consistent product that matches the desired “signature” of that brand’s particular product or range of products.

This may involve blending one or more batches of rum that has been aged for the same amount of time, but which have slight variations due to the natural differences produced in the aging process. The Master Blender may also blend rums of various ages, different strengths, or blend distillates produced with different methods either before or after aging.

The Master Blender uses scientific equipment but, at the end of the day, a lot of their job comes down to smell and taste. For this reason, some companies are rumored to have insured the nose of their master blender

Experience: $16

Now is your opportunity to try your hand at being a blender! You’ll now be given three of the molasses-based rums you’ve tasted in earlier chapters and an empty glass. Blend various proportions of each and see what you come up with!

  • Rum Fire Overproof - unaged high ester pot still rum from Jamaica

  • Don Q Añejo – an aged column still rum produced in Puerto Rico

  • The Real McCoy 5 Year – an aged blended rum from Barbados

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chapter seven: production comparison (light age)

As you learned in Chapters Two, Three, and Four, each means of rum production has its own advantages. There are certain flavor and aroma compounds that you need a pot still to create, yet if you want a more neutral and lighter bodied rum, the column still is the most efficient means of production, and a blend of rums from each method can allow a range of products to be created.

Experience: $18

The best way to understand the impact of production method on a rum’s character is to compare three against each other. Here, you have the opportunity to compare three molasses-based rums of light age (1-4 years) from each of the three production methods:

  • Wright & Brown – pot still, lightly aged, rum from Oakland, CA

  • Don Q Anejo – column still, lightly aged rum from Puerto Rico

  • Chairman’s Reserve – blended, lightly aged rum from Saint Lucia

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chapter eight: production comparison (longer age)

  • As you’ve now learned, both production methodology and aging impart important qualities on a rum.

  • It is for this reason that the widespread use of the term “Gold” in the rum industry is a useless one.

  • A rum that is gold in color may be that way from the addition of color or through actual aging, and even when a rum is gold because of aging, you now understand that the production methodology brings important differences in flavor profile and body that will give you three completely different molasses-based “gold” rums. In Chapters Nine and Ten we will re-visit raw material’s influence on rum in the production of rhum agricole, adding additional variability to what a “gold” rum’s character may be.

Experience: $20

Once again, the best way to understand these key differences in rum is to compare three rums against each other. Here, you have the opportunity to compare three aged molasses-based rums from each of the three production methods:

  • Golden Devil Hampden 9 Year – pot still aged rum made in Jamaica

  • Don Q Gran Anejo – column still aged rum made in Puerto Rico

  • Mount Gay 1703 – blended rum made in Barbados

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chapter nine: rhum agricole blanc

  • Besides the broad category of molasses-based rums we’ve previously explored, there are rums produced from fresh pressed cane juice and made primarily in French Caribbean islands and Brazil (Brazilian Cachaça will be discussed in Chapter Fourteen).

  • Fresh sugarcane juice may be distilled in a pot still (as you tasted in Chapter One) or in a column still. A prominent style of column still rum made from sugarcane juice is rhum agricole.

  • In Martinique, there is a designation for rhum agricole as an Appelation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) product just like champagne and cognac.

  • To earn this designation, the rum must be made from the fresh juice of sugarcane, and adhere to strict rules about when and how the cane is harvested and pressed, and how the sugarcane juice is fermented and distilled, including that it must be distilled using a single-column still.

  • Because there is so little variation in how rhum agricole is produced, it’s perhaps the best style in which to appreciate terroir in rum (See Chapter One)—the north and south of Martinique have different soil conditions and annual rainfall yielding perceptible differences in the final products.

  • Rhum Agricole Blanc is the youngest style, which is either bottled immediately or within a few months after distillation, and is traditionally bottled at 100-120 proof

Important Notes: Not all agricole-style rum has an AOC designation, as it applies only to Martinique, and all Martinique rum is not rhum agricole. Also, rhum spelled with an “h” simply means it is produced in a French-speaking country, and does not mean it is made with sugarcane juice. There are “rhums” made from molasses as well, referred to as rhum traditionnel.

Experience: $8

  • J.M White 100 Proof – rhum agricole blanc

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chapter ten: rhum agricole vieux

  • As we learned by exploring several aged molasses-based rums in Chapter Eight, the use of the term “gold” rum makes no sense because of different methods of production and whether aging has occurred or whether color has been added.

  • Add to those reasons the fact that a rum may be made from a different raw material (fresh cane juice), and you have yet another set of rums that would fit in the “gold” category that are nothing like the others.

  • As with molasses-based rums, rums made from sugarcane juice can also be aged. Rhum Agricole is classified by the AOC into categories comparable to the blanco, reposado, and añejo categories of tequila.

  • In Chapter Nine you tasted an unaged (blanc) version of rhum agricole. The second age category is élevé sous bois, meaning rested under wood. These rhums are typically aged between one and two years in a combination of French and American oak casks, and traditionally bottled around 100 proof. Rhum Agricole Vieux, the third AOC category, is aged a minimum of three years in French and/or American oak casks, and traditionally bottled at 90 proof.

Experience: $16

Explore the impact of age on rhum agricole from Martinique with the following two expressions:

  • Duquesne Rhum Agricole Élevé Sous Bois

  • Neisson Réserve Spéciale Rhum Agricole Vieux

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chapter eleven: why “white” rum makes no sense!

  • By now you’ve seen that gold is a useless term for rum, primarily because even if the gold color comes from age, the rum that has been aged can have significantly different character depending on raw material and production.

  • Perhaps even more confusing and unhelpful, is the widespread use of the term “white” or “silver” or “clear.” In addition to differences in raw material and production, which you’ve already explored in other chapters, a “white” rum might be aged and then had the color filtered out.

  • In Cuba, the Bacardi family bought a distillery in 1862, and started with a pot still that they ran multiple distillations with to create a lighter spirit that was then aged in oak for a few years. They subsequently charcoal filtered the aged spirit to remove most of the color and some impurities, a technique that created a lighter-tasting rum with just enough age to smooth out the harsher edges.

  • Even with the invention of the Coffey still, the use of charcoal filtration became widespread and continues to be used today. The end result? Plenty of aged “white” rums with the color filtered out.

Experience: $8

  • Plantation 3 Star – blended molasses-based rum from Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad aged a minimum of 2 years and including older rums that is then filtered to remove color.

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chapter twelve: why “black” rum does make sense!

  • Created as a way of imparting a rich, full flavor to rums without longer aging, Black Rum became very popular, particularly in the 1920s, as “Planter’s Punch” style rums launched.

  • The term “Dark Rum,” while in common usage, can be vague and apply to both Black Rum and premium aged rums, which makes it confusing.

  • In our opinion, however, a Black Rum is the only style of rum that should be referred to by color, because the addition of color itself is what defines the category.

  • Black Rum may be column distilled, blended, or pot distilled, and thus may be light, medium, or heavy bodied. They tend to have little, if any age, but are defined by the addition of caramel and/or molasses to the finished rum and are typically much darker in appearance than even 50 years in a barrel could achieve.

Experience: $12

These two rums are both examples of Black Rum made using two different production methods, helping to showcase how different they can be in body and flavor, while both retaining the historic Black Rum color made famous all those years ago.

  • Hamilton Jamaica Black – unaged rum made from molasses and distilled in a pot still giving it a heavy body and strong estery flavor

  • Coruba – unaged blended rum made from molasses characterized by much less pronounced pot still flavor than the Hamilton and a medium body.

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chapter thirteen: rhum with an “H” (for Haiti!)

  • As you learned in Chapter Nine, not all “rhum” is made in Martinique, and not all rhum gets classified as rhum agricole.

  • Haiti is an example of a country that produces a rum from sugarcane juice distilled using a two-column Coffey still as opposed to the single-column still that must be used to make AOC Martinique rhum agricole.

  • The addition of the second column in its rum production results in a Haitian rum that is lighter-bodied than a typical AOC Martinique rhum agricole.

  • There are also hundreds of very small distilleries on Haiti that produce a local, unaged moonshine from sugarcane juice using pot stills that is called Clarin.

Experience: $14

Here is a taste of Haitian rum made from sugarcane juice using a two-column Coffey still

  • Rhum Barbancourt 5 Star –aged 8 years

  • La Maison & Velier Clarin – pot still unaged rum

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chapter fourteen: cachaca

  • Certainly, both planters and slaves drank fermented cane juice during the earliest days of sugar cultivation and production, and history suggests that there may have been distillation of this fermented cane juice in Brazil as early as the early sixteenth century, a spirit we know today as Cachaça.

  • While it was in Barbados that rum was first refined and commercialized in the seventeenth century, Cachaça continued to be the drink of workers. Exportation was not permitted, and Cachaça was even made illegal in Brazil at various points in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

  • Today, Cachaça is the national spirit of Brazil. Fermentation and distillation varies widely across Brazil as it is made in thousands of locations. A small amount of sugar may legally be added.

  • Cachaça can be poorly made industrial distillate, a hand-crafted artisanal product, and everything in between. Cachaça is produced in enormous quantities, with 1.5 billion liters consumed annually in Brazil.

  • Cachaça is now recognized by the US as a spirit category distinct from rum.

  • While most commonly sold unaged or rested, there are also Cachaças that are aged. To be labeled aged, a Cachaça must be aged a minimum of 1 year in wood (“premium”) or a minimum of 3 years in wood (“Extra premium”).

  • Cachaça is often rested or aged in various native Brazilian woods which adds unique aromas and flavors.

Experience: $14

These two cachaças are made with a pot still and allow you to compare the impact of age and wood on the spirit.

  • Avuá Still Strength – rested in stainless steel for 6 months to 1 year

  • Avuá Amburana – aged for about two years in Brazilian Amburana wood.

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chapter fifteen: navy style

  • As Britain colonized parts of the Caribbean in the mid-seventeenth century, there were more frequent and longer voyages by sea. Leaving Britain with just water and beer on board, the water soon turned bad and the beer was soon drunk, creating a demand for more alcohol rations on board.

  • With several of the British Caribbean islands now producing rum, the navy had an easy solution, and began to purchase vast quantities of it. Over the decades, rum became an acceptable way to keep up morale and discipline on board, for sailors were often press-ganged into service and subsequently served in terrible conditions.

  • An alcohol ration became part of official British Naval regulations in 1731, and in 1775 rum became integral to those rations through a parliamentary act.

  • Though the amount of the ration would continue to be cut, and the proof lowered to a measly 109 (!), the daily tot was part of a formal ritual that continued for centuries on board Royal Navy ships, announced daily by the bosun’s call of “Up Spirits!”

  • After much heated debate in the British parliament, it was determined that the rum ration should be abolished. The dreaded day arrived July 31, 1970, and was nicknamed Black Tot Day, complete with mock funerals and sailors wearing black armbands.

  • While the ration may have ended, the style of rum (heavy-bodied, pot-distilled, and high-proof) remained popular primarily in the UK and eastern Canada, and variations of this style are still sold today as “Navy Style” rums.

Experience: $8

An adaptation of the formula originally blended under contract for the Royal Navy for 190 years has been reproduced since 1980 as Pusser’s Rum.

  • Pusser’s Rum – a blended aged rum made from molasses

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chapter sixteen: regional blends

  • Increased demand for rum and a growing European population in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries meant that more product was brought to Europe to mature, which had the added advantage of less evaporation.

  • In the nineteen century a Dutch wine and spirits company, E&A Scheer, opened an office in London, and began to purchase rum stocks from ED&F Man, the company that supplied the British Royal Navy (Chapter Fifteen). Companies like Scheer would buy rum in bulk and age it, and then sell it to smaller companies to bottle and sell as their brand.

  • By the 1920s, E&A Scheer imported a large variety of rum and had in-house master blenders to craft the flavor profile and maintain consistency. The master blender understands the stocks that E&A has available and how to use them to meet the profile request of the customer.

  • It is with companies like E&A Scheer, which is still going strong today, that new rums come to market already 8 years old from a brand that hasn’t opened a distillery.

  • Rums from multiple countries are often blended to achieve a particular flavor profile, which we refer to on our menu as Regional Blends.

  • This is also where the tradition of Independent Bottling began (See Chapter Seventeen).

Experience: $8

Here is an example of rums blended by Scheer to create a specialized regional blend for a client. You’ll see this rum featured in the Smuggler’s Cove Mai Tai, as it is an attempt to recreate the flavor and age profile of the rum Trader Vic used when he ran out of both Wray & Nephew 17 and 15 year. (long story)

  • Denizen Merchant’s Reserve – a blend of aged Jamaican pot still and a molasses-based rhum traditionnel from Martinique

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chapter seventeen: cask finishes & independent bottlers

  • In Chapter Sixteen, you learned about rum merchants such as E&A Scheer that buy rum in bulk, age it, and blend it for resale to brands to bottle and sell.

  • It is also from these rum merchants that the Independent Bottling tradition was born.

  • Independent bottlers buy bulk rum from a company like Scheer or directly from the producer, and then do their own aging and finishing before bottling.

  • Finishing refers to aging done in used barrels that previously held other wine, spirits, or even beer. The aging of rum in these used barrels imparts not only the influence of the wood but also some of the flavors and character of the liquid previously in the barrel, making for some truly unique and interesting rums.

  • Independent bottlers often have a range of products from a variety of countries with a country of origin and year on the label (e.g. Panama 1998, Barbados 2000, and Guyana 2002). In the back of our rum list you will find a list of Independent Bottlers that Smuggler’s Cove carries.

Experience: $8

One independent bottler that is heavily featured at Smuggler’s Cove is Plantation rum. In addition to their range of independent bottlings available to the general public, we carry multiple bottlings that are exclusively made for Smuggler’s Cove, including the one you’re tasting now:

  • Barbados XO Mackmyra – an aged blended rum from Barbados purchased by Plantation who then finish the rum in France in both Cognac casks and used Swedish whisky casks.

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chapter eighteen: spiced rum

Spices have been added to rum since its birth, and when you travel in the Caribbean you will find all kinds of rums in street markets that have been infused with local spices.

Early on spices were added to cover up the harshness of poorly made spirit, but the tradition has continued. Most Americans were introduced to spiced rum through the launch of Captain Morgan in the early 1980s, and therefore it is worth noting that there is not a single recipe from the golden age of tiki that calls for spiced rum. The spices in those historic exotic cocktails were added with syrups, liqueurs, and . . . spices.

There is one house rule for whether Smuggler’s Cove will carry a commercially made spiced rum: Is it real? Has the rum ever seen a real spice? We only carry those rums where we have seen the actual spices infusing in the rum (versus synthesized flavors from a lab being added).

Experience: $8

Our house-made spiced rum is infused with vanilla, orange peel, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, black pepper, and ginger. Try it now!

  • Smuggler’s Cove Spiced Rum

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chapter nineteen: sweetened rum

There is a very common misperception that somehow rum is more caloric because its raw material is sugarcane or a sugarcane byproduct. This isn’t true- sugar does not travel through the distillation process. There is as much sugar in rum as there is in bourbon, vodka or tequila.

When you taste a really well-distilled rum, (and this is regardless of raw material or distillation method), there should be a perceptible sweetness to the product. Just as you would still taste the vegetal agave flavor in young tequila, or a grain flavor in genever, you will taste fresh pressed cane in an unaged agricole, or molasses in an unaged pot still rum.

Having said all that…it is a fact that several rum producers on the market today do willingly add sugar to their final product after distillation. There are many reasons for this decision, some noble, some not so noble.

The danger of the addition of sugar is twofold: 1) It can mask a very young rum, making it seem more “premium” than it is and 2) Because some high-end rum producers add sugar to their expensive rums, it is beginning to shape consumer taste to equate sweetness with “smoothness,” such that they only think sweet rums are good rums.

However, there are several brands that are honest that they add a bit of sugar at some point in their process post-distillation. It’s important that brands are truthful about the addition of sugar, so the consumer knows what they’re drinking (and paying for!)

Experience: $8

Here is an example of a producer that is honest about the addition of sugar to their product in order to create their desired profile and accent the underlying flavors:

  • Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva – a molasses-based blended rum produced in Venezuela

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chapter twenty: tips on how to taste

  • Set your expectations – learn as much as you can about the rum in front of you. Where is it from? Is it a pot still rum, a column still rum, or a blended rum? Has it been aged? Does it have a special cask finish?

  • Tilt the glass to the side to create a thin edge and look for a slight green hue where the spirit ends. This indicates more age. Don’t be as obsessed with the “legs” on the glass as they more often indicate alcohol content and the uneven interaction between alcohol and water rather than quality or age.

  • Smell that beautiful rum! Swirl the rum first to enhance evaporation and release more aromas. Put your nose deeply into the glass then breathe in with your mouth outside of the rim rather than through your nose. You will find that even when breathing in with the mouth, your body will still breathe in through your nose at the same time, only at a much reduced rate, allowing you to avoid any sharp burn on the nose. Are you enjoying the aroma? Does it conjure up fond memories or evocative destinations with inviting scents?

  • To “condition” your mouth, sip a small amount of the rum and let it roll down all sides and coat your mouth.

  • Now take a larger taste and let it remain on your tongue while you note how the flavors evolve. Then swallow and see how it further evolves in the aftertaste. Do the flavors linger? Or is the finish short? Was the overall experience complex with different notes of oak, molasses, spices, and fruits?

Experience: $8

Practice now by enjoying a custom rum made exclusively for Smuggler’s Cove by The Real McCoy.

  • The Real McCoy 12 Year Smuggler’s Cove Limited Edition 92 proof – a blended aged rum from Barbados

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CONGRATS! You’ve finished your education!

Ask a bartender for your test and then get your membership card and pin!