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Fake Rum Unmasked

October 5, 2018

Fake Rum

Spend a while researching rum and you’ll find out there’s an open secret among rum professionals: many popular rums on the market contain non-rum additives. The most famous additive is of course sugar, and folks armed with hydrometers and alcohol meters have created a fairly large database of rums proven to contain added sugar.

Look a little deeper, however, and you’ll learn many rum producers are also adding ingredients that are more difficult to detect. Give an adulterated rum to a rum expert, and most will immediately recognize the presence of exogenous ingredients, but how do we flatten the learning curve for those still learning about the shadowy side of rum blending?

It’s difficult to prove the presence of additives without extensive lab analyses, so rather than spending thousands on lab fees to definitively out a bunch of suspect rums, I decided to approach the issue in reverse: I would make my own fake rum to show how it’s done.

Read the article here to learn about my blender’s toolkit and see how my fake rums actually tasted. And for the real gluttons for punishment among you, stick around as I attempt to unpack the U.S. government’s regulations on rum additives.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 5, 2018 9:50 am

    Josh… a big thanks for continuing to make the case for purity, and uh, thanks too for the link to the Master Sugar Database which exposes sugar alteration in hundreds of rums. Bravo!

    Why rum remains the only major spirit that still cheats (over 50% of rums secretly add sugar, and the godz only know how many others use vanilla and other flavorings) – why rum stands alone in this is disgusting.

    Keep in mind that American, Irish and Scotch whiskey and single malts, and all bourbons never use secret and illegal alteration. And bourbon doesn’t even allow coloring. Not rum.

    As you also know for years the Big Three and the early rum reviewers denied the problem and attacked any who disagreed. Only when government and private testing revealed the truth did they sheepishly admit the practice.

    Thanks again… brilliant article… ps. I now live on my new/used cruising sailboat. First stop will be Cuba…

  2. saraleib permalink
    October 5, 2018 4:08 pm

    Wow, what an amazing article. Thanks for going to these lengths! Warmly,

    S Sara Leib | | (310) 869-6509Http:// for the world’s great vocal warmup app! for Sara Leib’s private voice studio.

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