When I say ‘Bacardi rum’, what image comes to mind? If you are like I was until very recently, you pictured a bottle of clear liquid with the words Bacardi emblazoned 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?! Yes. Let me tell you a bit more.
Discovering Bacardi Black
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. Not sure about what to drink, I walked up to the bar to see what else could 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, that is not a mistake. I did indeed say dark rum and then mention Bacardi. Much to my surprise there existed 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 didn’t think it was anything to write home about. I found it less fragrant than Myers’s Rum and very similar to Captain Morgan. Perhaps, I have a bias towards Myer’s Rum. I still haven’t made up my mind on Bacardi Black yet. Nonetheless, I was happy to find out about this new drink.
Discovering Bacardi Gold
A few weeks later, I found myself sitting at the bar at Martini’s Lounge, on Ngong Road. 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 liked what I saw! 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 rum that was neither the usual clear Bacardi nor the Bacardi dark rum that I had discovered a few weeks earlier. This Bacardi rum, Bacardi Gold, was of a light gold color. The manager at Martini’s was gracious enough to let me taste a shot of it. Honestly though, there’s little I could tell about Bacardi Gold’s flavor from drinking it neat.
Was Someone Trafficking Rum Using the Bacardi Name?
In hindsight, I first thought this must be illegal rum, falsely using the Bacardi name. I felt there was no way that 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’ve mentioned so far.
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 “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 it 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 flavor 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 This All Mean?
I don’t know about you, but to me, those all seem like marketing statements rather than information about how each Bacardi 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: 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 flavor 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-colored rum with a fuller body and a pleasing wood flavor.
- Bacardi White: 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 color, light in body and dry in flavor.
Clearly, the distinguishing factor between Bacardi White, Bacardi dark rum, 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 dark rum. Since age is usually an indication of the sophistication of an alcohol, we can also conclude that Bacardi Black is finer than Bacardi Gold, which in turn is finer than Bacardi White.
Looking at my own experience with rum, I now understand why I prefer Myers’s Rum to Captain Morgan’s Spice Gold to white Bacardi rum.
A Useful Tip to End With
I hope the mystery is now a little clearer than when you first began reading 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, that assumes you drink comparative amounts of each alcohol.) 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. They, 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 is more common than Bacardi dark rum and Bacardi Gold?
Let me go do more first-hand research. 🙂
Until the next time,
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