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Spiced Rum vs Dark Rum – Learn The Difference

Spiced Rum vs Dark Rum – Learn The Difference

If you are curious about the difference between spiced rum vs dark rum, you are not alone. The good news is that we have a clear answer for you. 

It needs to be clarified because just looking at the two on the shelf can be challenging to figure out what is different. However, the difference is essential, especially when making a spiced rum cocktail. You want to make sure that you are using the right ingredients.

Spiced rum and dark rum are not the same thing. They are both types of rum, but they are made differently and have different flavors. Let’s discuss the differences between the two rums.

The differences in taste

The flavor of dark rum: Dark rum has a rich flavor that has smoky undertones to it. It will be mildly sweet with hints of caramel. It is considered a full-bodied rum. The flavor of dark rum will vary by brand, but regardless of the brand, you can expect a richer and heavier flavor. 

The flavor of spiced rum: Spiced rum has a sweeter flavor than dark rum. You will taste the molasses, vanilla and cinnamon spices. Depending on the brand, you will also taste cloves and nutmeg. 

When thinking about the difference in flavor between dark rum and spiced rum, think about dark rum as rich, smoky and full-bodied. Then think about spiced rum having a slight heat to it because of that cinnamon and clove flavor,  almost like you would imagine a fall-themed drink.

The difference in how they are made

First, both types of rum typically start as white rum. White rum starts clear and then can be transformed into dark or spiced rum.

Now, there are times when spiced rum is made out of gold rum, which is why I said it typically starts as white rum. For example, if you were going to make homemade spiced rum, you can start with gold rum as your foundation. 

I point this out because it can all be confusing, but when it comes to the different types of rum, they all start as rum and evolve in flavor.

About Dark Rum

Dark rum is aged in charred oak barrels. White rum is placed in these oak barrels, and over time during the aging process, the rum turns dark naturally. The longer the dark rum ages, the richer the flavor will be. 

It is essential to know that cheaper dark rum may be artificially colored. It takes time to naturally age rum to become dark rum, making it more expensive. For dark rum to age naturally, it generally will age in the barrels for at least seven years.

About Spiced Rum

Spiced rum is white rum or gold rum that is infused with spices. The spices can be added during the distillation process, but most of the time, the spiced are added to the finished rum. 

The spices will sit in the rum and infuse the rum. The timeframe for the infusion process will vary by the maker. However, once the infusion is done, the rum will be filtered to remove the spices and particulate matter.

How they are used

There are some differences between how people use dark rum and spiced rum. While there are no hard and fast rules, people tend to sip on dark rum and enjoy it neat or on the rocks. The way that I think about it is that dark rum is to be enjoyed more like you would enjoy a nice sipping bourbon. 

Spiced rum is best as a mixer for cocktails and punches. Spiced rum is an ingredient that you will find in all types of fruity or what I call beachy cocktails. I think of spiced rum as the “fun rum” and dark rum as the “calm and sophisticated rum.”

The bottom line

Spiced rum and dark rum are different types of rum and are each in a class of their own. If you want to go even deeper into learning about rum learn about white rum vs dark rum. The flavors of dark rum vs spiced rum do vary quite a bit. Spiced rum has cinnamon, cloves, and fall-type spices added to it. Dark rum is a rich flavored rum that has aged in barrels to achieve that full robust flavor. I must say that I really enjoyed learning about spiced rum. I even took the time to freeze spiced rum and taste-test it that way.