When I say ‘Bacardi Rum’, what image comes to mind? If you are like me, until very recently, I pictured a bottle of clear liquid with the words Bacardi written across it. Is that what you visualized? Well, you wouldn’t be very wrong if you also envisioned a bottle of Bacardi dark rum—Bacardi Black—or one with a light gold colored liquid—Bacardi Gold. What?! Let me start from the beginning.
Discovering Bacardi Black (Bacardi Dark Rum)
Until very recently, my drink of choice was a Myers’s Rum with ginger ale. Four months ago found me in Dar es Salaam, the city of my birth, at the Protea Hotel. On the evening in question, I was in the mood for some Myers’s. Upon ordering, the waiter duly informed me that they didn’t have any in stock. At a loss about what to drink, I walked up to the bar to see what else might satisfy my craving.
First, I looked for dark rums. After all, that is what I was in the mood for. They had Captain Morgan and…Bacardi Black. No, I am not mistaken. I did indeed say dark rum and then list Bacardi. Much to my surprise there was a Bacardi dark rum called Bacardi Black!
My curiosity won over, and I decided to give Bacardi Black a try. I won’t lie: I was not blown away. I found it less fragrant than Myers’s Rum and very similar to Captain Morgan. Maybe I am just used to the taste of Myers’s. I still haven’t made up my mind on Bacardi Black. Nonetheless, I was delighted to find out about a drink that I had never heard of before.
Discovering Bacardi Gold
A few weeks later, I was seated at the bar at Martini’s Lounge, on Ngong Road, with a couple of friends. I had already had a few drinks that evening so I was taking it slow in the drinks department. As my friends (and I) chatted away, I had time to take stock of Martini’s extensive bar. I was impressed! I hadn’t seen that well stocked a bar in ages!
Martini’s had all sorts of liqueurs and countless whiskies. There were bottles of all shapes and sizes. For some, I couldn’t even identify what type of alcohol they contained. Then I saw a Bacardi. This was neither the usual clear Bacardi nor the Bacardi dark rum, Bacardi Black, that I had discovered a few weeks earlier. This Bacardi had a light gold color and was called Bacardi Gold. The manager at Martini’s was gracious enough to let me taste a shot of Bacardi Gold. Honestly though, there’s little I could tell about Bacardi Gold’s flavor from drinking it neat.
In hindsight, it’s crazy but my first thought was that someone must be trafficking rum and falsely using the Bacardi name. I felt there was no way all these different types of Bacardi could exist without me having a clue until then. Off to the Internet I went to do some research. First stop: the official Bacardi website. I found out not only were all these Bacardi products genuine, but Bacardi also had a slew of other products beyond the three I have mentioned in this post.
Bacardi Rum: The Basics
Not to be long winded, let me limit the rest of this post to a discussion of the three rums I’ve mentioned so far: Bacardi White, Bacardi Black, and Bacardi Gold. According to the Bacardi website:
- Bacardi Carta Blanca, the white Bacardi Rum that we all know, is “classic Bacardi rum, the soul of the Bacardi brand—youthful, high-quality, sociable, sensual and passionate…[it] is the main bearer of Bacardi’s authenticity, origin and craft; it has carried the Bacardi Bat Device as its symbol since 1862. Its personality is that of the Latin Caribbean…which provides the Brand with a unique point of view on life.”
- Bacardi Black, on the other hand, is described as “the flavorful, premium and elegant face of Bacardi. With a smooth and rich taste, Bacardi Black…[appeals] to more mature, stylish and sensual consumers…[Its] distinctive dark appearance and rich body makes [Bacardi Black] especially suitable for nighttime consumption in bars and clubs by those who enjoy partying until the early hours.”
- Bacardi Gold is a “distinctive, smooth, and mellow golden rum that delivers subtle flavour and classic Bacardi quality. It is the perfect Bacardi rum for those who enjoy the relaxed, good fun, and fine times that being with friends is all about”
What Does That All Mean?
I don’t know about you, but to me, those all seem like marketing statements rather than information about how each rum tastes. A little more research brought me to the Bartender’s Guide to the Galaxy. There, I finally found the information I was looking for. To quote the website:
- Bacardi Black Rum: The richest spirit produced by Bacardi is a blend of selected rums aged for periods of up to four years. Charcoal-filtered for smoothness before mellowing in oak barrels, this rum retains the rich flavour and full body of the original blend without any harshness in taste.
- Bacardi Gold: A rum made with the same blend of light spirits as Bacardi White Rum, but that is aged for up to two years and is not filtered again after its time in oak casks. The result is a smooth, amber-coloured rum with a fuller body and a pleasing wood flavour.
- Bacardi White Rum: Bacardi White is blended, charcoal-filtered, aged for a least one year, then charcoal-filtered again to produce a subtle, delicate rum that is clear in colour, light in body and dry in flavour.
Clearly, the distinguishing factor between Bacardi Carta Blanca, Bacardi Black, and Bacardi Gold is how long they are aged. Bacardi white rum is aged less than Bacardi gold rum, which in turn is aged less than Bacardi black rum. Since age is usually an indication of the sophistication of an alcohol, we can also conclude that Bacardi dark rum is finer than Bacardi gold rum, which in turn is finer than Bacardi white rum.
Looking at my own experience with rum, I know understand why I prefer Myers’s Rum to Captain Morgan’s Spice Gold to Bacardi White Rum.
There you have it. I hope that the mystery is now a little clearer than when you first began to read this post. Before I go, I would like to share one more tidbit with you that might be useful in selecting when and how to drink each of these three rums.
Generally, the darker an alcohol, the worse the hangover it gives (of course, this is assuming comparative amounts of each alcohol are consumed). Believe it or not, whiskey will generally give you a worse hangover than gin, and red wine will give you a worse one than white wine. I read somewhere that this is because the lighter alcohols are more filtered and therefore contain fewer impurities for the body to get rid of. For that reason, when you are drinking in large quantities, you might just want to stick to the clearer rums. Might that be why Bacardi White Rum is more common than Bacardi Black and Bacardi Gold?
Let me go do more first-hand research.
I wish you a pleasant day.