You will note that on our tasting sheets, the rum is first contemplated and smelled before being tasted. We will see how to discover your rum in another way. Above all, the choice of glass is very important. You must select a glass that you like by its behavior, by the quality of the materials and by its handling. Most often, glasses for tasting have a narrowing called the chimney. The narrower it is, the more it will limit the sudden arrival of alcohol in your nose and mouth. This chimney will also retain the lighter aromas so that they can reveal themselves throughout your tasting. Pour a few centiliters of your precious beverage by sliding the liquid to the bottom of the glass, 2 to 5cl is enough. The tasting can begin.
Start by observing the color of your spirit (in French called the robe), the clarity and the viscosity of the liquid. Do not hesitate to tilt your glass and swirl the rum on the walls of your glass. You will be able to contemplate its golden, coppery color, with red or almost green reflections which bear witness to a long journey in barrels and oxidation.
As an extension of the contemplation, turn the glass and raise it towards a light source to admire the reflections but also to release heavier perfumes contained in the rum. The perception of these perfumes will not be the same depending on the position of your nose in relation to the glass. You will perceive more alcoholic perfumes along the walls. In the center of the glass, a reserve of perfume, sometimes in too great a concentration and if you insert your nose into the glass you will perceive all the heavy aromas.
It is important to smell your rum several times. You will notice that each time, it is a different olfactory discovery. We generally speak of 1st nose and 2nd nose.
It is also interesting to let your rum rest in its glass for a few minutes. With the ambient air, your rum oxidizes naturally to release more subtle aromas that we would not have discerned on the first nose.
The tasting is done in 3 stages. The first is the attack on the palate. These are the very first impressions. We will remember in this step the texture. For an agricole rhum, it can be described as dry, lively, robust or powerful. For a rum of Spanish or English tradition, we could say that it is round, silky, soft, mellow. For a perfect tasting, you can keep your spirit in the mouth while swirling it on the palate. This will allow you to fully savor the aromas of the rum. For your second tasting (in the middle of the mouth), the rum will discover its finesse and complexity. If the attack on the palate corresponds to the mid-palate, we will say that the rum is linear. If it is the opposite, we can say that the rum is complex. Finally, the last step is to measure the final, which is also called the memory. This is the taste that your rum will leave in your mouth after tasting.
Contrary to what one might think, white rum is not only reserved for cocktails and ti-punch. It can also be enjoyed on its own, in a tulip or tumbler-style glass.
There is no need to add ice cubes, this would dilute your spirit which would lose its aromas. Expert Christophe Guitard, taster and editor for Gault & Millau magazine, frosts his glass before tasting to “seize” the rum and release all the alcohols by slowing down the alcoholic vapors present in an unaged rum.
To do the same, you can place your glass in the freezer a few hours before the tasting. Rums that can be tasted frosted: Longueteau 62°, Clairins (Rum from Haiti), white rum cuvées HSE Vintage 2016, 2021 or T. Lamazou and many others…