As Illegal Tender Rum Co continues to count down to our first official Rum de-vatting I thought I would share with you all a bit more information on the Rum grading system. The aficionados amongst our customers will know that Rum comes in many different variations that have been influenced by regional distilling methods and local palates.

Here is a list of the most common grades of Rum:


Dark Rum – as the name suggests dark rums are distinctive in their colouring, often expressed as brown, black or red rum. Caramelized sugar or molasses form their base ingredient and are often aged in charred barrels for longer than other grades of Rum. This type of Rum is synonymous with the Caribbean islands where it is favoured, although it is often used in cooking elsewhere.

Gold Rum – also known as Amber Rum, it is similarly distilled in charred barrels, often made of white oak and used after producing Bourbon whiskey in them. Gold Rum is a nicely balanced mid-range Rum.

Light Rum – are sweeter in flavour than the previous two, sometimes known as silver or white Rum. These types of Rum are ideal mixers and are largely produced in Puerto Rico. Lighter Rums usually go through a filtration process to remove any residual colours.

Flavoured Rum – this is a niche Rum grade that encompasses Rums that have flavouring that is usually infused after the distilling process has been completed. We have seen a huge range of Rum flavours out there including spice, pineapple, coconut, banana, orange and vanilla. This type of Rum is often used as a cocktail base to create rich and interesting flavoured drinks.

Spiced Rum – while you do get spice-flavoured Rum, Spiced Rum is a more specialised Rum genre with distillers often using their own bespoke selection of aromatics, herbs and spices. These can be enjoyed as part of a cocktail or neat.

Overproof Rum – with most standard Rums, you will find them distilled around the 40% ABV (80 Proof), while Overproof as the name suggests is a potent tipple – ranging upward of 150 Proof and over. This Rum is most often used as a mixer due to its strength and potency.

Premium Rum – that brings us to premium Rum which sits on the top shelf proudly with other quality spirits like Cognac. Connoisseurs drink this one straight up as the name suggests and it is generally frowned on to use this one as a mixer.