White rum tastes different than vodka

White Rum vs. Brown Rum - What's the Difference?

Mixed in delicious cocktails, on ice or pure: Rum brings the Caribbean flair home like hardly any other spirit. With the different types of rum, the different colors immediately catch the eye. But why is there white and brown rum at all? And what are the differences between the two variants?

What is rum actually and how is it made?

Rum is a spirit made from sugar cane or, in most cases, from sugar cane molasses. The same raw materials are used for both brown rum and white rum.

During rum production, a mash is produced from the sugar cane molasses and water. This mash is first fermented by yeast cultures until an alcohol content of approx. 4-6% is reached.

Then the solid and liquid mash components are separated. The alcohol-containing liquid is now also known as sugar wine. This sugar wine is distilled in large column stills, less often in smaller copper pot stills, to an alcohol content between 65 and 75%.

White rum is now as good as done after a short storage period. In the case of brown rum, there is now another important step in the production process.

The main differences between white and brown rum

After distillation, white rum is only stored briefly in steel tanks and then bottled (usually diluted to 37.5% alcohol). White rum is also often referred to as white rum or blanco.

In contrast, brown rum is stored in oak barrels for several years. American ex-Bourbon barrels are often used for this. Brown rums are often referred to as AƱejo, Reserva or XO rum. If these spirits are stored in oak for a longer period, the color tends to be darker. However, it depends on the barrels used, the storage conditions and other factors.

The maturation of brown rum takes place either in a solera system (similar to sherry) or quite normally for several years in warehouses. As the rum matures, it absorbs more aromas, but it also tends to get its darker color.

Both white rum and brown rum may be tinted with caramel before bottling, if this is declared on the label. Natural rums do not have any coloring. A dark rum color does not always indicate a particularly long maturation of the spirit.

The difference between white and brown rum is mainly to be found in the storage of the rum: white rum is mainly bottled unripened, while brown rum is matured in oak barrels. Incidentally, this is also the difference between Tequila Silver and Tequila Gold.

White rums can also be stored in barrels

In addition to white and brown rum, there is also a hybrid: white rums are available that have been matured for three to six years in wooden barrels and already have a brownish tint due to the influence of oak.

In some bottlings, the slightly brownish color is not desired. For example, white rum is filtered in a similar way to vodka (for example through activated charcoal) and thus made "white" again.

Recommendations for white and brown rum

Last updated on 05/23/2021 at 7:33 a.m. / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API


Takamaka White Rum

The white Takamaka Rum is triple distilled from fresh sugar cane juice in the Seychelles. Then it is only stored briefly in stainless steel barrels and thus comes clearly into the stylishly designed bottle.

Last updated on May 23, 2021 at 7:33 a.m. / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API

Botucal Planas

The Botucal Planas from Venezuela is a blend of 50% stronger pot still rums and 50% lighter column still rums. The Planas is aged in oak barrels for up to 6 years. Then it gets its clear color back through a carbon filter.

Last updated on 05/23/2021 at 7:33 a.m. / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API

Plantation Three Stars

The Plantation Barbados Three Stars is a blend of four Caribbean rums from Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad. The mixture of 3 to 10 year old rums is filtered and therefore almost clear for bottling.

Last update on May 23rd, 2021 at 8:03 am / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API

Mount Gay XO

Barbados' Mount Gay XO uses brown rum that has been matured under the Caribbean sun for between 8 and 15 years. In tasting, this rum pleases with a balanced combination of fruit and spice.

Last updated on May 23, 2021 at 8:33 am / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API