Rum is on the rise thanks to a resurgence in 2016 that was partially fuelled by the craze for mixing spirits and cocktail creations. According to a recent report from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), rum is destined to follow gin by breaking the £1 billion sales barrier in the UK. That, me hearties, is a tanker-sized amount of this overlooked spirit.
Sales are up consistently in bars and for the home market. This is driven somewhat by a rapid expansion in brands and availability. The report highlights the dramatic growth in the number of rum brands, which numbered around 50 a decade ago and in 2017 has surpassed 150. There’s a general buzz and interest around rum with closed distilleries such as Long Pond reopening after several years of closure. Rum arguably is the next big thing much like Malt, except it’s been around for hundreds of years and until now has never threatened to break out of its nautical Caribbean inspired stronghold. All the more important then that the rum industry as a whole gets its act together.
For all the criticisms levelled at the Scotch Whisky Association, at least it has clearly defined rules that ensure a code of conduct and consistency from its members and the product to consumers. Part of rum’s appeal is its flexibility whether as a standalone drink or as a core ingredient. For instance being able to add sugar to a rum post-distillation to create a sweeter product and hide flaws within the rum itself. Rum naturally leans towards our sweeter side but levelling up this characteristic unbalances its characteristics. Many consumers do possess a sweet tooth, but not to the extent where a shot or two of rum may threaten the recommended levels of sugar intake.
Then there are rums such as this one from Sainsbury’s that have been reduced to a level of 37.5% volume. Intrigued recently by the excellent Wood’s Navy rum from William Grant & Sons, I felt it only reasonable that we explore the lower end of the market. This Superior Dark Rum is apparently expertly blended and distilled in the Caribbean. There’s that nautical emphasis again with a classic sailing ship adorning the label and a robust colour that may hint of additional caramel colouring. A bottle of this rum in its convenient 35cl size will set you back around £6.75 and in all reality is probably aimed more at those seeking a light rum flavouring in their cocktail creations or baking requirements.
Sainsbury’s Superior Rum – Review
On the nose: unsurprisingly a light brown sugar, sweet cinnamon and a strong cardboard element. Giving it further time there’s rhubarb, a peppery rocket and a hint of sticky balsamic. A fleeting nutty aspect with syrup and that strong molasses undercurrent.
In the mouth: very watery thereby lacking definition and punch. A harsh alcohol taste hinting at its youthful nature with a creamy vanilla, caramel, sugar, withered raisins and balsamic. There’s wine gums and chocolate towards the finish but an overriding vegetative quality.
Very disappointing even when considering the price point. This Sainsbury’s rum on the palate actually lacks your traditional rum characteristics and feels like a lightly flavoured white spirit. Even when going up to a full sized bottle there are more worthwhile options for just a couple of quid more.