White rum

White rum is a much broader category than you might think. In France, we have the idea that it must be unaged, most often agricultural, but in reality most white rums sold in the world are just the opposite!

White rum is a much broader category than you might think. In France, we have the idea that it must be unaged, most often agricultural, but in reality most white rums sold in the world are just the opposite!

White rum is a much broader category than you might think. In France, we have the idea that it must be unaged, most often agricultural, but in reality most white rums sold in the world are just the opposite!

The white (or rather transparent) character of a rum does not presage its style, its strength or its aromas. So to go further and to find your way around a little better, it is best to ask yourself what you want to do with a white rum. It is often this criterion that will define its style, and the tradition from which it will come.

White rum from pure cane juice

Agricultural rum

These are the most famous white rums in France. They come from Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyana or Reunion. They are mostly consumed in Ti'punch, and in this case they are at least 50% proof. They are also perfectly suited to Planteurs and all kinds of long drinks.

For the past ten years, we have enjoyed discovering them in pure tasting, because the quality and technicality of the distilleries are constantly improving. The first to have emphasised the specificities of a variety of cane and a harvest year were Clément, with the famous Canne Bleue. HSE has also followed this trend since 2000.

In Guadeloupe, Longueteau has gone even further by bottling rums from a very specific plot of land. Smaller distilleries such as A 1710 even offer rums which, in our opinion, are more dedicated to tasting than to cocktails.

It is also worth mentioning Madeira's rums, which differ from "French" rums with a style all their own. On the island, the vast majority of these rums are consumed in Poncha. This is the classic Madeira cocktail, the recipe for which is as follows:

In a small pitcher, add :

- 10 cl of white rum

- Juice of one lemon and some zest

- 2 tablespoons of cane honey

Stir vigorously (ideally with the traditional " Pau da Poncha ").

The O Reizinho distillery stands out with an agricultural rum distilled in a still. It is a real sugar cane brandy, perfect for tasting as well as for poncha.

La cachaça

Industrial cachaça is usually clear, as it is rested in stainless steel tanks. Traditional cachaças are also almost colourless, but most of them have a slight straw colour. They are not aged, but rested for a few weeks, like all white spirits. The difference is that this rest is done in wooden vats, sometimes with quite fragrant essences like umburana.

It is usually drunk as a Caipirinha (1/2 lime, 3 teaspoons of brown sugar, 6 cl of cachaça and crushed ice). In Brazil, it is also popular as a Batida (with coconut water). Some cachaças are also suitable for drinking when the strength is a little higher. This is the case with the Magnifica Bica do Alambique, for example.

The Clairin, the Grogue, and other Aguadientes...

These cane spirits are wild spirits, distilled using very traditional methods. Their full, natural flavours lend themselves to mixology, but the expression of their terroir can never be appreciated as much as when drunk neat.

White molasses rum

Filtered old rum

The vast majority of white molasses rums are rums that have been aged and then carbon filtered. This filtration makes it possible to retain and erase all the colour of the wood that has been acquired during barrel ageing. This is of particular interest in the context of cocktails, a field for which these rums are exclusively intended. These rums, which are often light, gain a whole range of aromas when they come into contact with the barrel, but avoid altering the colour of a cocktail thanks to filtration which gives them a translucent colour.

They are essential to the great classics, especially Cuban ones, such as the Daiquiri or the Mojito. The most famous of these are Bacardi Carta Blanca or Havana Club 3 Years. Houses that are more oriented towards tasting also offer their counterpart for mixology. This is the case of Botran, Doorly's or Pampero.

The Jamaican Overproof

In Jamaica, Overproof rum is an institution. It is the most widely consumed rum on the island, and has gained worldwide recognition, notably with the iconic Wray & Nephew. These rums are all 63% proof, which is something of a staple of the style. They are unaged molasses rums with a full-bodied character and aroma. They are most often enjoyed with sodas (the famous Jamaican Ting, equivalent to our Gini) or fruit juices. Their strength is an asset in many cocktails. All Jamaican distilleries have their own overproof, like Hampden, Worthy Park and Monymusk.

151 rums, column or alembic crudes

Alongside the Overproof rums are the champions of strength: 151 proof rums. These rums are 75.5% alcohol (151 proof in American measure) and are used in Tiki culture, often for fiery cocktails.

As far as the column or still crudes are concerned, their philosophy is quite different. They are rather offered in this form so that enlightened amateurs can appreciate the work of a distillery without any blush. The rum is harvested at the end of the distillation process. Often brewed and rested to remove some of its aggressiveness, it is then bottled as is, without the addition of water. Esprit de Neisson is one of these precious eaux-de-vie, but Savanna Créol Straight is another. A few independent bottlers are also interested in molasses distillation crudes.

Blends of several origins

These multi-origin blends are mainly aimed at bartenders, and focus on balanced and versatile blends. They are therefore capable of enhancing any cocktail. Often there is a splash of Jamaican rum for funkiness. A lighter, fruitier rum (e.g. Barbados or Trinidad) is also often needed. Depending on the desired character, you can also enjoy the freshness of a pure cane juice or the roundness of a Latin rum.

In France, La Compagnie des Indes and Plantation have made their mark in this style with Tricorne and 3 Stars. Banks' 5 Island Blend and Veritas are other international references. Read less

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