Glass of hot rum with spices
Is Spiced Rum Actually Viewed As A Dark Rum?
By Elizabeth Thorn
Spiced rum is not necessarily a dark rum. It is a concoction crafted by infusing classic rum with spices and even artificial flavoring like caramel, vanilla, or nutmeg.
This combination of ingredients gives spiced rum a sweet, warming flavor and contributes to its darker color. However, not all spiced rums are dark.
Dark rums undergo the longest aging process in barrels, resulting in a richer, more complex flavor profile with a deeper color and smoother finish.
On the other hand, spiced rum isn't necessarily aged any longer but gets its unique flavor profile from adding spices and other flavorings.
Aside from looking at the color, there's no definition for what qualifies as dark rum. To ultimately determine what kind of rum you're drinking, look at the bottle's labeling.
In the U.S., the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau requires rums to be at least 40% ABV. If they aren't, they are qualified as flavored rums.
Per the TTB, distillers must use a "distinctive or fanciful product name with a statement reflecting the composition and character of the product," like "Rum with Spice Flavor."
Dark rums also tend to have a molasses or caramel flavor. Spiced rum shows a wide range of flavors depending on the spices used and typically has a thick aroma and lighter taste.