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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Drinks and Food Rum Tasting Techniques
Rum Tasting Techniques
MadDogMike
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7418
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2012-04-28 11:50 am   Permalink

I'm not much of a rumologist, but I like to educate myself when I get the chance. Amy's Mojave Oasis care package included a cute little 50ml bottle of Appleton Estate V/X which seems to get major airplay here on TC. What is the best way to sample and critique it? Straight from the bottle? Warm? Cold? Over ice? Diluted with water? (how much?) In a specific cocktail? In my favorite cocktail?

My geographic area is more of a tequilla territory, it's hard to find anything here to compare it with other than Bacardi and Captain Morgan. But I do have a bottle of "Cruzan Aged" (2 yo) How can I expect the Appleton to compare to the Cruzan?

Thanks
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VampiressRN
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Nov 23, 2006
Posts: 5810
From: Sun City Lincoln Hills (NorCal)
Posted: 2012-04-28 12:04 pm   Permalink

Those are great questions...looking forward to the tasters out there sharing their expertise. I'm sure you will all repeal in horror, but I am not a rum enthusist myself...I prefer gin. Now settle down!!! I am not knowledgeable about the notables at each bar that have sampled the many rums in order to get a plaque or be aprised of the rum club secret handshake, but I am going to sign up at some Bay Area Bar in the future to try to accomplish that at least once in my life (may take me years). Please don't shoot me, but I would also like to know the following:

1. Do you have to down the entire shot of the rum on the list in one swig?
2. Are you disqualified if you have it mixed in a drink?

Good luck on your tasting spree Mike...we have a lot to learn!!!
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tofukulele
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Aug 07, 2011
Posts: 66
From: San Francisco Bay, CA
Posted: 2012-04-28 1:04 pm   Permalink

Tasting rum is like tasting any other spirit. Step one is to find a good glass. There are numerous articles online about the type of glassware to use, but I like a smaller brandy snifter. Others prefer a glass that flares in the opposite direction--to each his/her own. A small wine or cordial glass works well, too. The idea is to use a glass that will allow a bit of swirling and also allow the aromas to waft up and out of the glass, because you'll be smelling from above the glass rather than burying your nose in there as you might do with wine.

Generally speaking, this is how I do my rum tastings:

1. Pour the rum in the glass. (You need to taste at room temperature and don't dilute it unless you are working on a cask-strength rum, in which case you can dilute with a bit of room temperature water). Swirl it in the glass and notice the color, the clarity and the viscosity. You can see how viscous it is by the way the droplets hang at the rim and move back down the sides. Is it gold, copper, or bronze?

2. Smell the rum above the glass. Notice the level of astringency (undesirable alcoholic bite for lack of a better description). Start to pick out the different smells: vanilla from the oak, oranges, dried fruit, baking spices, tropical fruit, etc. Challenge yourself on multiple attempts to pick out different aromas.

3. Taste! Let the rum wash over your tongue while breathing through your nose to engage your senses. Allow it too sit in your mouth for a moment before swallowing (or spitting if you're tasting a lot in one sitting). Notice the flavors. Notice the manner in which the aromas become flavors, and notice the differences between what you smelled and what you're tasting. With each subsequent sip, try to pick out more flavors.

4. Evaluate the finish. Is it short or long--i.e. does it dissipate quickly or last a long time? Is the finish dry or sweet? Is there a major afterburn, or is it mild? What spices do you sense as you ready yourself for another taste?

Wash, rinse, repeat! Make notes on the rums you taste and you can have fun going back to remember what you like or didn't like about a particular spirit. Above all, have fun.

If you have any queries about these rummy topics, gimme a holler. You can also check out some of my reviews at the blog in my sig line.

Aloha!
-Josh



 
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thePorpoise
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 23, 2011
Posts: 1260
From: Tampa Bay
Posted: 2012-04-29 12:34 am   Permalink

when i'm tasting rum, and almost any liquor (except whiskey or vodka), i pour a little (usually only a quarter ounce to half an ounce) at room temperature and undiluted into a small 2 or 3 oz. lemoncello/aperatif glass like this:



a shot glass will do if you have nothing else.

I swirl it around to observe its "legs" (thickness); hold up to my nose to sample the aroma; taste in small sips, letting linger on the tongue before swallowing. then i try it out in a cocktail.

with whiskey, one should add a splash of water before tasting.

vodka i taste chilled.


 
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7418
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2012-04-29 06:30 am   Permalink

Thanks for your input guys. I tried the Appleton vs Cruzan last night ~ I could see, smell, and taste some differences, but I would be really hardpressed to describe those differences. I read a couple of reviews but I didn't smell any banana or toffee, and I couldn't taste the peppery finish Just smelled and taste like rum
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thePorpoise
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 23, 2011
Posts: 1260
From: Tampa Bay
Posted: 2012-04-29 2:14 pm   Permalink

to me there's a certain molasses taste to jamaican rums; it's subtle in appleton etstate rums, whereas it's overwhelming in myers's.

 
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7418
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2012-04-29 2:20 pm   Permalink

I like molasses, it's great on pancakes or in cookies. But whatever is in Meyerss is too much for me. I bought a bottle recently and doubt that I will finish it.
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WestADad
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2009
Posts: 745
From: Tornado Alley
Posted: 2012-04-29 2:25 pm   Permalink

Save your Myers for any drink calling for dark Jamaican. Sure not a sipper.

The suggestions already listed are good for tasting them straight. Now we need to get you some other selections!


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MadDogMike
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7418
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2012-04-30 10:08 am   Permalink

Chris, I may have to pick up some new rums to sample next time I'm in the "big city" (100 miles away) ~ any suggestions?

If anyone reading this will be at Tiki Caliente and needs a free bottle of Myers's (room crawl?), send me a PM
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WestADad
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2009
Posts: 745
From: Tornado Alley
Posted: 2012-04-30 10:13 am   Permalink

I'd get a bottle of Coruba to replace your Myers, anything from the El Dorado line except the 151, Bacardi 8 is pretty good. All the Mount Gay products are top notch too.

If you see something that looks good, get it!



 
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kid_dynamo
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Oct 13, 2011
Posts: 42
Posted: 2012-05-06 10:22 am   Permalink

Tofukulele seemed to cover most of the tasting aspects of it, but I will say that if you are going to mix your rum into a cocktail to taste it (as Mrs. Dynamo is often inclined towards), there is no better one than a Trader Vic's Mai Tai, at least for appreciating a fine rum. I really don't know of another Tiki drink that allows it's base spirit to shine like that drink does.

 
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