Guide to Dark & Black Rum

Easily the most misunderstood of rum varieties, dark and black rums are typically the richest and sweetest of all rum types, with distillers often using molasses or caramel right before bottling.

Due to the fact that rum is not a hard and fast legally defined spirit category, it is difficult to definitively classify what is a dark rum against a very well aged rum.

Some people group bottles like Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 Rum in the same category as a dark rum, however, we prefer to separate those bottles of aged rums from their darker brethren, including The Kraken Spiced Rum or Gosling's Black Seal Rum.

Dark & Black Rum Characteristics

The reason dark and black rums are often grouped together with aged rums is that these two categories are often a very dark looking spirit, however, we separate aged golden rums from dark and black rum bottles and brands because the latter are often not aged to the same degree as the former, with dark and black rums usually getting their incredibly dark appearance from the distillers heavy use of molasses or caramel during distillation.

It should also be noted that dark rums can also be artificially coloured to appear darker than they would otherwise be naturally from ageing or from molasses and so picking a quality bottle of dark rum can be difficult if you’re not careful.

For further elaboration on how black rum differs from the more premium aged rum category, read this article.

Map of Dark & Black Rum Distilleries & Brands

Dark & Black Rum Distilleries Map

Easily the most recognisable bottles of dark and black rum on the market are bottles such as The Kraken Spiced Rum or Captain Morgan Black Spiced, with these products commonly used as very sweet rum products at parties.

These, however, do not represent the best dark rums available, with more noteworthy bottles including Gosling's Black Seal Rum and Hamilton Jamaican Pot Still Black Rum, being better representations of this category of spirit.

The flavour profiles of all of these rums can vary greatly, however, with the bottle of Gosling’s being characteristically rich and creamy, containing strong flavours of caramel, vanilla, fruits, and liquorice, and the bottle of Hamilton being known for its stronger flavours of citrus, herb, grass, and spice.

With the range of flavours present in dark and black rums being so diverse, it is highly recommended that you research each bottle before buying rather than making any general assumptions.

For additional bottle recommendations, head to this site.

Pairing Food with Dark & Black Rum

Due to the extremely complex flavours present in every bottle of dark and black rum, it can be a difficult process to narrow down which food categories go best.

For those bottles containing heavily sweet flavours of vanilla, cream, caramel, and gentle spice, it is ideal to pair these with very rich and sweet dessert dishes, such as sticky date pudding or heavy chocolate mud-cake.

If your bottle is more herbal, grassy, and citric in flavour, it is more appropriate to pair these bottles with citrus based desserts, such as lemon meringue, or lemon custard puffs.

Pairing Food with Dark & Black Rum

If choosing to enjoy these drops on their own it is typical to enjoy them simply neat without the addition of water or ice as these can dilute the often thicker textures present in most bottle and ruin the overall tasting experience.

Besides this, many of these types of rums go extremely well in a number of cocktails, including the Dark & Stormy or the Coconut White Russian, both cocktails that are heavier in citrus or sweetness and work well with either style of dark and black rum.

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