Rum Facts #1: Rum styles
English style rum, Spanish style rum and French style rum are three types of rum that differ in their production methods, flavour profiles and origins.
English rum, also known as "Navy rum", is a type of rum traditionally produced in the Caribbean and is characterised by its powerful, full flavour and high alcohol content. The full flavour is typical of Batch distillation which releases much more aromas than the rather industrial column distillation.. English rum is made from molasses, a by-product of sugar production, and is aged for at least three years in oak barrels. The ageing process gives the rum a rich, amber colour and flavours of vanilla, caramel and oak. English rum is often drunk straight or with ice, as well as in cocktails such as the Old Fashioned and the Dark and Stormy.
Spanish style rum, also known as "ron", is a type of rum traditionally produced in Latin America and is characterised by a smooth, sweet flavour and lower alcohol content and mainly column distillation which produces a more consistent distillate rather on the light side. Spanish rum is also made from molasses, but typically matures for a shorter time in oak barrels than English rum. The maturation process gives the rum a lighter colour and flavours of tropical fruit, honey and vanilla. Spanish rum is often drunk straight or in cocktails such as the Cuba Libre and the Daiquiri.
French-style rum, also known as "rhum agricole", is a type of rum traditionally produced in the French-speaking Caribbean islands and is characterised by a grassy, earthy flavour and high alcohol content. They use the same distillation process and alambic than for Cognac production (Alambic Charentaise). A major difference from English and Spanish style is that French rum is made from fresh sugarcane juice instead of molasses. "Rhum Agricole" is aged for a minimum of three years in oak barrels made from French oak. The ageing process gives the rum a rich, amber colour and flavours of tropical fruit, vanilla and spices. French rum is often drunk straight or with ice, as well as in cocktails such as the Ti' Punch and the Zombie.
In summary, the main differences between English rum, Spanish rum and French rum are the base of the distillate, Molasses or Sugarcane juice, the type of distillation, column vs Pot distillation and their of origin.