Rum (sometimes spelt Rhum) is made from sugarcane juice or molasses. All rums are distilled clear, with heavy or dark rums made in traditional pot stills with a slow fermentation of up to 12 days. Lighter rums ferment only 24 hours and are produced with modern continuous stills.
The Caribbean is the stronghold of world Rum production, along with the Demerara River in Guyana (South America). Virtually every region produces its own distinct style of Rum.
Rums from the former Spanish American colonies (Cuba, Panama, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, the richer of all Dominican Republic) have commonly a light, crisp, clean taste.
Former English colonies share a tradition for darker, sweeter, richer Rums, with a pronounced molasses flavour. Examples include Rums from Barbados (the home of the Mount Gay Distillery, dating from 1663, probably the oldest operating Rum producer in the world), Bermuda, Belize, the Demerara region of Guyana in South America (that can yields long-aged Rums), Trinidad and Jamaica (the most aromatic, fruity styles, extensively used for blending)
Former French colonies (Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique) are distinguished by their double-distilled oak-aged (for three or more years) Rums from sugar cane (more expensive than molasses) - The flavours are sweeter, lusher, and the spirit character softer and more rounded. These Rums may undergo maturation in ex-cognac barrels. The so -termed Rhum vieux (aged Rum) is frequently compared to French brandies. Haiti is known for its moonshine rum industry that supplies the voodoo religious ritual trade.
Brazil is a major producer of mainly light, clean Rums from a cane spirit called Cachaça (with no ageing). Light rums (light in color and flavour) can replace Gin and Vodka in any drink recipe.
Types of Rum include: White or Light Rums which are typically colourless, with subtle flavour. Light rums (light in color and flavour) can replace Gin and Vodka in any drink recipe.
Gold Rums; amber colour through the ageing in wooden barrels.As far as comparison goes, it's similar to Brandy, Bourbon, or whiskey. A fine dark rum can be enjoyed like a Cognac.
Spiced Rums; darker colour with the addition of addition of caramel, seasoned with spices. They are often based on gold rums.