Nose, Body, Finish? Here's How You Taste Rum Like a Pro

This Is How You Do a Rum Tasting Like a Pro:

For over 300 years, British sailors looked forward to their daily rations of rum or "tots." The spirit has been a favorite ever since. 

But, did you know Navy Rum is different to other types like dark rum, spiced rum, or white rum? There are many types to drink. 

Want to learn how to start rum tasting and selecting like a pro? Read this guide to learn key terms, the tasting process, and how to describe rums.

Understanding Rum Terminology

If you want to taste rum like a pro, you'll need to understand the language. Here's a brief introduction to rum terminology:

  • Rhum Agricole: a French style of rum where sugarcane is used rather than molasses
  • Molasses: a dark by-product of processing sugar cane that is used for fermentation
  • Fermentation: taking the raw product (molasses or cane juice) and adding yeast until it ferments into alcohol
  • Aging: placing the rum into barrels to rest
  • Angel share: how much rum is lost due to evaporation 

Interested in learning more terms? Search for a complete online rum glossary.

The Process of How to Taste Rum

Tasting rum is more complex than it sounds. Your goal is to develop your palate and try to build a taste profile for each sample. 

Before you begin, cleanse your palate with crackers. Don't have coffee, chocolate, or spicy foods beforehand.  

One part of tasting the rum is looking at it, so select a clear glass. Many people use wine glasses.

Hold the glass up to a light source to examine the rum and then tip it. Older rum will have a darker ring where the liquid meets the glass.

Watch the rum slide back down the glass when you straighten it. That's called "legs."

This shows how thick the rum is. Here's a pro tip: full-bodied rums have thinner "legs." Next, take a sniff and try to identify some of the rum's aromas.

The last step is to take a sip, or to be more specific, multiple sips. 

Describing Rum Tasting to Your Friends

The first sip you take will be to overcome the shock of the alcohol on your tongue. When you're ready, take a second sip and pay attention to the rum's sweetness, bitterness, spiciness, and acidity.

Take a break and then go for your next sip. This time you're paying attention to whether the rum is smooth, light, or syrupy.

The next sip will be to note the aftertaste, how it tastes, and how long before it fades away. 

As you can see tasting rum involves more than one sip because each time you're focusing on a different aspect of the rum. Then you'll be able to describe to your friends exactly how it tastes, the viscosity, and strength. 

Get Ye a Bottle of Pusser's

No rum tasting is complete without a bottle of Pusser's British Navy Rum. We offer several labels based on age and proof, like our Gunpowder Proof and Aged 15 Years.

And check out our 50th Anniversary Black Tot Day Blend! It's only available for a limited time.

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1 comment


  • Not The Rum You Once Distilled, Pure Ethanol Pouson!

    I had Pusser’s Rum on my honeymoon in 1989, I tried a brand new bottle this evening, and one sniff blew my head off. It smelled like paint thinner, and tasted like dry cleaning solvent!

    I paid almost $40.00 for that, and was instantly disgusted with your product, and heartbroken…I immediately poured the bottle out onto grass, and tossed out the bottle!

    I’ll never touch your product ever again. What a ripoff! You could blind someone with that rot gut!


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