Evaluation Method

The Rum Gallery evaluates any rum based on how well the distiller and master blender achieved their goal.  The text of any review is my humble contribution to the knowledge base of rum.  

Dave Tasting Notes

RG Rating
The numerical rating is an over-simplified crutch for viewers who feel they need such a thing.  But a digit doesn't do justice to the patience, effort and craftsmanship that go into making a fine rum.  Think of the number as simply an estimate of how close a rum producer gets to their goal.  Sure, numerical ratings invite comparisons, but you will get a better sense of a rum from the words. 

To earn a rating of 10 at the Rum Gallery, a rum has to take me to a place of tasting nirvana, transcending my evaluative mind and transporting me to a heightened plane of taste that precious few rums ever manage.  Rums that earn a 10 exceed  quantitative measures and achieve qualitative perfection.

Freshly distilled molasses rum exits the pot still asa a clear liquid-RG1

Sugar Content
The sugar content is listed n the sidebar in many of the rum reviews.  This data is provided to enable viewers of the Rum Gallery to make informed choices about what style of rum they prefer, sweet vs dry.   As with any distilled spirit, rum exits the still – pot or column – as a clear liquid (shown in the Spirit Safe photo at right) and it does not naturally contain sugar.  Aging in oak barrels may contribute up to 3 g/L of sugar, especially from used Sherry or Port barrels delivered wet.  Beyond those trace amounts, any sugar in rum has been added by the blender.

Johnny Drejer's sugar methodology-RG1

In cases where the country of production forbids adding sugar, such as Barbados or AOC Martinique, and my measurements confirm no added sugar, the number is listed as an absolute, i.e.: 0 g/L (grams per Liter).  For countries where such regulations are not in force, the measured sugar content is shown as a range in 5g/L increments (i.e.: 6-10 g/L).  This measurement is derived from tests, with the caveat that the range is a calculated estimate. 

Most* of the sugar content data results from measurements diligently made by myself or Rum Gallery's friend Johnny Drejer.  The sugar content number is derived by using a Hydrometer/Alcoholmeter (upper left photo) that measures the rum’s density and read as %ABV.  The process adheres to methods suggested by the US TTB.  A video of the operation can be viewed here (Mac) and here (windows).  The sugar content is calculated by a known formula that compares the delta in density between Declared and Measured %ABV.  First, the Measured %ABV must be converted to Apparent %ABV by using a temperature conversion table.  The table normalizes the measurement to 60°F, the temperature at which the hydrometers are certified. Where a difference between the Declared %ABV (label) and the Apparent %ABV (measured) exists, dissolved sugar is assumed to be the cause.  A second conversion table uses these two numbers to derive the sugar content in g/L.  Both Johnny Drejer and The Rum Gallery use the same conversion tables, and our numbers usually match.   

Aging Barrels-Cartavio-RG1

The methodology makes two  assumptions.
First, the difference between Declared %ABV (label) and Apparent %ABV (measured) is due to the addition of a dissolved solid, assumed to be sugar.
Second, the %ABV declared on the label is accurate.  

Admittedly, it can be difficult for some smaller rum producers to be spot on with the actual %ABV in every bottle shipped, and any production variation from their declared %ABV has an impact on our test results.  EU law states that the %ABV declared on the bottle’s label must be within 0.3% of actual, Canada has a tolerance of 0.2%, so our estimates will be within the range stated in the sidebar.  

*Some of the data on sugar content was performed by the Swedish government and published at www.Systembolaget.se

Drink what you like.  Know what you're drinking.

Dave Russell
Curator, The Rum Gallery
Co-founder, International Rum Council 

Explore The Art of Rum.  Drink responsibly.  It's a matter of taste.  
Rum Gallery has nothing to sell, nor is it affiliated with any distiller, brand, importer or spirits distributor.

© Dave Russell 2017