The grades and variations used to describe rum depend on the location where a rum was produced.
Dark rums, also known by their color, such as brown, black, or red rums a grade darker than gold rums. They are usually made from caramelized sugar or molasses. They are generally aged longer, in heavily charred barrels, giving them much stronger flavors than either light or gold rums, and hints of spices can be detected, along with a strong molasses or caramel overtone. Most dark rums come from areas such as Jamaica, Haiti, and Martinique.
- Flavored rums are infused with flavors of fruits. These rums are generally less than 40% ABV or 80 proof.
- Gold rums, also called “amber” rums, are medium-bodied rums that are generally aged. They get their dark color from aging in wooden barrels usually the charred. They have more flavor and are stronger-tasting than light rum, and can be considered midway between light rum and the darker varieties.
- Light rums, also referred to as “silver” or “white” rums, in general, have very little flavor aside from a general sweetness. Light rums are sometimes filtered after aging to remove any color.
- Overproof rums are much higher than the standard 80 proof, with many as high as 150 proof to 160 proof available. They are usually used in mixed drinks.
- Premium rums, These are generally from boutique brands that sell carefully produced and aged rums. They have more character and flavor than their “mixing” counterparts and are generally consumed straight.
- Spiced rums obtain their flavors through the addition of spices and, sometimes, caramel. Most are darker in color, and based on gold rums. Among the spices added are cinnamon, rosemary, absinthe/aniseed, or pepper.