People can get overwhelmed with all the various types of rum on the market and that is because rums are designed or blended to achieve specific characteristics for targeted market segments. They may be described as premium, super-premium, luxury, over-proof, aged 10,20,30, 35 years etc. In addition, there are various colour ranges such as:
White: These rums are clear in colour and may be blended with other whites fto achieve distinctive blends. They may be distilled via a column or a pot still.
Light: These rums are generally light or clear in colour, not usually strong and used in the making of cocktails containing stronger rums.
Gold: These rums are usually golden in colour and aged for varying periods in oak Burbon barrels although other barrels may be used. They are usually blended with other rums, not necessarily from the same distillery to produce specially prepared blends.
Dark or Black: These rums derive colours from the barrel aging process and other times from certain wood chips added to achieve the desired result. They can also be brought into contact with charcoal to create a truly strong colour. These rums are usually stronger, that is, having a higher alcohol to volume ratio.
Spiced: These rums are usually gold with added spices.
Infused: These rums are blended with fruity flavours such as pineapple, banana, coconut, mango among others.
Another question that people ask is"what exactly is the proof, what does it mean". The word proof originated from sailors wanting to ensure that their rum was not watered-down. They thus developed a way to prove it by dousing gunpowder in it and tested it for ignition. If it ignited it was proved, hence the word "Proof Spirit" and "Proof". To be more precise, gunpowder will not burn in rum with less than 57.1 % alcohol by volume. Thus rum at 57.1 is set at 100 degrees proof. There are certain rums that are listed as "over proof", this means that they have an alcohol to volume greater than 57.1. They are usually about 63 %.
At Hampden Distillery all our Bulk Rums are sold in Liters Absolute Alcohol ( LAA.) and is at a minimum 86%+ Alcohol to volume. Hampden's Rum Fire white rum is sold at 63% alcohol to volume. It should be noted that other countries such as Australia use a unit of measure called a "Standard Drink" which equates to 12.6 ml. of alcohol. This was adopted because it took an adult one hour to metabolise 12.6 ml. of alcohol. Within the United States, 100 US proof is set at 50 % Alcohol to Volume. We should also recognize therefore that in the USA alcohol proof is twice the alcohol by volume (abv) while in the United Kingdom it is 1.75 times the expressed %. Thus 40% abv is 80 proof in the USA and 70 proof in the United Kingdom.
We will write more on this topic in the near future, until then drink responsibly and make it Hampden again and again.