UK sales of rum reached £991m for the nine months to the end of September, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), which expects the annual figure to top £1bn! But with so many new rums brands appearing on back bars and supermarket shelves, how do you ensure that you are getting the best bottle for your buck?

Why are some rums better than others?

Unfortunately, as with most spirits, for years brands have been getting away with producing rum for as quickly and as cheaply as possible, fooling everyone to accept that this is how rum is supposed to taste. But no more, the rum revolution is here! 

Some rums aren't even rums!

The heartbreaking truth about many of the mainstream so-called 'rums' is that they are NOT EVEN RUMS. The producer's bottle below the minimum level of alcoholic strength that would designate them as a ‘rum’. Here in Europe, this is 37.5% ABV (EU LAW)  and many rums are 35% or lower, sometimes much lower. Malibu is only 21% and many retailers list it as ‘rum’ when it is really on a ‘spirit drink made with rum’.

Next time you pick up a Captain Morgans bottle you will notice that they are not allowed, by law, to call themselves a rum, instead, they refer to themselves as a 'Spirit Drink.' Basically, this means that the producer gets away with paying less on duty and makes more money from rum that isn't even rum! 


Spiced and not so spiced 

Spiced Rum has been a driving force in the overall popularity of rum and they offer a perfect example of how these rum masqueraders are always looking to cut corners. The less imaginative brands use little more than sugar and vanilla but the very worst of them will use synthetic flavourings! 

However, the better brands use a range of blended spices from around the world and macerate them in real rum. This process is more time consuming and you’d expect the human effort and cost of production to result in a more expensive product. 

For example, CUT SPICED sources;

- Natural cinnamon & aniseed from Sri Lanka (16,244 km)

- Peppercorns & vanilla from Madagascar (14,142 km)

- Butterscotch, aniseed, coriander seeds from South India (15,616 km)

- Ginger & nutmeg from the West Indies (1,149 km)

Our ingredients travel a total of 47,151 km from their source to be blended with our rum but every km is worth it to create a liquid that delivers a multitude of real flavours.


Click here to find out more about our CUT Spiced Rum.

Dig deeper into the production methods

Often when a rum producer decides to use mass production methods they will use column stills in which to distill the alcohol. Usually, molasses-based rum is going to be distilled via a column still, which is kind of a continuous distillation process which means no impurities or unwanted chemicals can be removed from the liquid.

Smaller craft batch rum producers use pot stills, which allow the producer to have much more control over the liquid. They can remove those unwanted chemicals which occur naturally when producing alcohol. The Difford’s guide offer a great article on the alcohol distillation process here.

Find out about the unique production method we use to create the UK's first Smoked Rum. 


Watch out for added caramels or synthetics 

Originally, gold or dark rum was coloured by ageing the rum in charred oak barrels but, mass producers decided this process took too long and cost too much. Unfortunately, it is now common practice to use caramels to colour the liquid quickly, however, this results in a sickly artificial sugar taste.

Taking the time to colour rum through ageing or using real ingredients or natural colourings should be a timely and costly activity. CUT Smoked Rum, for example, is made using 100% sugar cane and is rested in oak barrels for 3 years to produce a natural toasted oak flavour. 


Now it’s up to you… 

It's easy to be seduced by an exciting story, the history of rum is woven in scandal and violence, from which brands have cleverly resold to blind us from the actual liquid that they sell.  

Next time you are at a bar or in the supermarket, ask yourself these questions;

1. Does it say rum on the bottle?

2. Which ingredients have they used?

3. Where have the ingredients come from?

4. Who produced the rum?

5. Does it say artificial flavours or sweeteners on the bottle?