Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Color in Your Rum: Where Does it Come From?

Burnt and Unburnt Barrel Stave's
     The color of rum, it is what draws you in and makes you really want it.  In the case of the white rums a yellowish tinge will generally turn you away from, but why?  The yellow is the color that rum turns when it has spent a short period of time in an oak barrel that is unburnt.  This is a indication of the natural flavoring, but it is filtered out to make the white rums clear.  The only problem is that it filers out some of the flavor as well.  The darker colors are brought about by charring the barrels before filling them with the rum.   Only time in the barrel will give the rum it's natural glistening color that the true rum lover desires.   The longer it spends in the barrels the darker it tends to be.

Caramel E150A Color
    However, some rums are filtered and then artificially colored with caramel colors that are produced for the purpose of coloring everything from soda to rum to whiskey.    Some times they are added to improve the color of aged rums that didn't quite make expected color, and other times they are added to make unaged spirits look aged.

     The really good thing about the E150A Caramel Color is that has been given a clean bill of health both in the United States and in Europe.  These colors really do nothing except improve the "eye appeal" of the beverages that they are put into.

     It seems that a few of the "bulk rum" producers have found that the United States palate is easily appeased with very young rums that have had vanilla, sweeteners and color added rather than the high quality naturally finished rums.    This is why when you go to many parts of the country as I did last week you will only find mostly these bulk rums in the bars and very little else.  They are cheap and fit the palate of a large number of people.   

   Give me a glass of fine aged rum that has no additives that has been aged in a variety of barrels to attain the flavor and I'll pay the few extra dollars.  The real flavor is re
ally worth it and the purity of these rums is really noticed the next morning when the impurities and the sugars kick in when you wake up.   I think Ernest Hemingway had it right when he told Constante at the El Floridita to double the rum and leave out the sugar in his daiquiri, "It will only make me sick".     Here's to some fine barrel aged rum and a relaxing time to enjoy it.  ;o)