Notes & Measures

Scoring is another debate which generates a lot of ink

One can ask many questions on the subject, starting with why even bother putting a score to a rum. It may be misinterpreted, and for better or worse, serve as the basis of purchase for some people (or argument for some brands). But a score is, and will remain, a personal appreciation of a tasting, an opinion made by an individual, with his own tastes and based upon his own experience, in conditions that are consistent. It is also and above all an informed opinion that can be justified. In no case must it be interpreted as an ultimate judgment, or to be read as such.

A score is the numerical evaluation of the accompanying and justified written appreciation and should always be seen as half of the coin, useless by itself. A scale of 100 points seems to us the most appropriate to compare one rum against another: it allows for more nuances and is broader in scope than a system of based on 5, or 10, stars, or whatever.

In order to align our scores and develop a more acceptable system of averages, we (the Rumaniacs) use the same scale ; it allows more precision among the members and provides a common base of reference.

In order to score consistently and make our scores more comparable, Rumaniacs all use the same scale :

90 POINTS & + : exceptional rums, minority
85-89 POINTS : highly recommended rums, special ones, excellent
80-84 POINTS : recommended rums / quite good
75-79 POINTS : better than average
70-74 POINTS : below average
LESS THAN 70 : not very good

One more point...sugars and additives

It's no secret that sugar from the molasses or the cane juice does not carry over into the final distilled product, and it is now also widely understood that many companies (including the biggest ones) add sugar and other additives. The concern among aficionados is that it perpetrates a deception on the users by pretending the rum has a quality or an age that it does not actually possess, and permits the charging higher prices for supposed premium products that may actually be young or badly made rums to which inclusions are added.

We believe in a true and honest, transparent, rum identity. We do not have anything against sugar and additives, as long as it is known by the consumers, and allowed by the country's regulations. However, we similarly believe, in the interests of the consumer, that all rums be properly labeled as such and clearly show the level of additions to the final spirit.

It is important to understand the identity of a spirit is from its raw material. The identity of rum is from the flavour derived from the sugar cane. If exogenous flavour is added, then the identity of the product is changed and must be reflected on the label.

In the absence of any such informational provision, we chose to measure any and all rums we can for additives. Following that idea, we use the method and the conversion table created by Johnny Drejer, and already used by some of us on our websites (instructions can be found on Johnny's own website). The Rumaniacs will add in every rum profile page a result measured using a digital alcohol meter (usually tailored to the needs of small distilleries and home distillers), the Anton Paar Snap 40. Results are ready in seconds, and automatically corrected for temperature, with an accuracy of 0.2 %. We then use Johnny's conversion table to find out how much of (what is presumed to be) sugar has been added to the rum measured.

Please note :

​- This method measures a change in density, and the assumption this change is caused by the addition of sugar. Thus, it is possible that something other than sugar has been added to the rum after distillation (to cause a change in density). But if a producer labels his product as rum, then he is only allowed to add sugar and caramel color (according to EU law).

- The calculation also relies on the quoted % ABV listed on the label being correct. If the producers make a proofing error so the true strength of the rum is different than that listed on the label, the calculations below will not be accurate. According to EU law, the % ABV listed on the label has to within +/- 0.3% accuracy (subject to legal penalties in case of mislabeling)

- while the change in density is a measure of the dissolved solids and therefore most likely sugar, there is no indication as to what form the sugar is added. It is possible that simply sugar syrup has been added but more likely sugar is added in the form of wine or other flavouring concentrate.

For these reasons, and to avoid any misunderstanding, the rums being listed on this website with 0-5 g/L should be considered to have no sugar added (considering long aging periods can have an impact on the density).

For a complete understanding of the method and results, we deeply invite you to consult the biggest online database of measured rums on the Rum Project's website, and also invite you to participate growing the actual list.