Rum gets a bad name from some people since it is most often looked at simply as a cheap spirit best enjoyed chilled and mixed with sweetened tropical fruits. While we enjoy our rum this way, there's a whole new world that opens up when you begin to explore premium rums. That's what we got to do recently with Juan Coronado from Bacardi as we explored how to taste Bacardi Anejo Quatro, Reserva Ocho, and Gran Reserva Diez on our #MenWhoBlog Virtual Happy Hour!
Although tasting differs among individuals, there exist typical flavors that all tasters can identify. Sipping entails separating the nuances first before narrowing down to the original flavors methodically. For instance, one may recognize the taste sweetness resembling fruit and further try to identify the fruit itself or its family.
Before tasting rum, one has to clean the mouth properly to identify the taste with high precision otherwise. Palate cleaners include unsalted cookies or bread. Other mouth cleaners include water, chocolate, coffee, sorbet or cocoa. However, most experts prefer the use of bread and avoid cocoa, coffee or chocolate since they might interfere with the tasting process. Before drinking and in between different brand rum tasting requires cleaning of the palate.
Additionally, rum tasters must note the last meal they had or drink since it influences tasting. The variety of substances affects aromas and tasting, and an individual has come across in the past. For instance, one cannot detect the smell of vanilla or molasses taste if they have neither tasted nor smelled them in the past. History and experience of diverse aromas and tastes informs and makes rum tasting more interesting.
The color of rum influences its taste since it prepares the brain on what to expect. Color ranges from cloudy, light, dark to golden. One can note the possible addition of food coloring agents, especially when fully aware of the details.
One can use either a wine glass or a sherry glass, and then tilt it against a white backdrop or sunlight. Assessing the edges of the sherry glass at the point the rum coincides glass for color. The color will appear as a ring with the degree of green color from light to dark translates to the age of the rum. Straightening the glass after allows tasters to determine the rum’s viscosity.
The process of rum-running down after straightening is termed as legs. The denser the legs, the slower it moves and hence means it has a high alcohol content. Moreover, thick rum legs translate to higher viscosity. Fully bodied rums present with thinner legs.
Sniffing of rum is best carried out through short but quick sniffs. Additionally, short sniffs enable tasters of rum to capture the diverse aromas. The process involves sniffing via both nostrils and experts recommend sniffing immediately after opening the bottle. Furthermore, the process occurs under seven seconds before the nose loses the sensation of the aromas.
Experts in rum tasting advise tasters to swirl the glass with the rum and smell deeper to capture subtle aromas. Additionally, tasters achieve nose resetting via smelling the back of their wrists. However, the taster should avoid aftershave or perfumes since they might interfere with sniffing and resetting.
Preferably, the first taste shocks the tongue and thus should be small to capture the flavors. Tasters should take the second sip slower and allow it to float inside the mouth so that flavors evaporate to the nose to capture more aromas. Initial impressions identify sweetness, bitterness, acidity and spiciness. The third sip captures the consistency of the rum in terms of viscosity or flavor intensity. Consistency measures syrupy, light, smoothness or flavor intensity.
Taking further sips allows the taster to identify more flavors and aromas. Popular methods such as rum with ice enable the taster to identify subtle aromas and flavors since it decreases the sharper characteristics.