The base distillates for rum production are cane sugar and molasses, and the column still is most commonly used. In contrast to other spirits, color is not a dependable clue to its age, as this can be stripped by the process of charcoal filtration.
There are myriad styles of rum based on the type of raw material, distillation vessel, aging regimes, and sweetening methods (such as the use of sugar or molasses).
Rum Regions and their Styles:
- Cuba: Known for white rums. These can be oak-aged, charcoal-filtered.
- Jamaica: Ranges from white to deep gold in color; made by low-strength distillation with lots of flavor - exotic fruit to nutty, roasted notes.
- Barbados: White, golden and dark rums that are fruity and elegant.
- Guyana: Influenced by a much more tropical climate; the rapid aging of these rums leads to complex sweet and spicy flavors, golden in color.
- Martinique and Guadalupe: These areas specialize in rums made from cane juice; many are white in color with aromas of grass and apples; aged versions also exist.
- Brazil: Called Cachaca; made from cane juice, and are inexpensive and popular rums.