White Rum

IMG_3999We have to admit, we often use gold rum above white rum in our cocktails, as it generally has a richer, sweeter flavor. That said, a lot of cocktails specifically call for white rum, and in warmer weather its lighter, cleaner flavor is a bonus.  With nicer days around the corner (fingers crossed!), we decided to prepare by going through our cabinets and pulling out a selection of white rums to taste and then compare in a cocktail.

For this experiment we chose Matusalem Platino, 3 Howls White Label, New Deal Distiller’s Cut, Prichard’s Crystal,  and Plantation 3 Stars. These all vary a lot in terms of size of the distiller – micro to industrial – and distillation technique, so we thought that it would be very interesting to see how they differ.


  • Nose: Very mild sugar cane, faintly sweet, light malty notes, fair alcohol bite.  Similar to a vodka. Fairly subtle nose.
  • Palate: Dry intro, than sugary sweetness on the mid-palate that transitions into caramel sweetness on the finish. Fairly neutral. Good for vodka drinkers.

3 Howls

  • Nose: Molasses, yeast, cedar, geranium leaves. Little bit of funk. Quite a strong nose.
  • Palate: Little bit of molasses sweetness on the front. Cedar notes at the beginning of the mid-palate, then interesting vegetal notes like fern or bracken. Finish is dry and slightly savory like caraway. Thick, heavy body.

New Deal Distiller’s Cut

  • Nose: Sweeter than the other two, little bit grassy, sharp alcohol bite.
  • Palate: Starts out sugary sweet like sugar cane juice, but underpinned by a sharp alcohol bite. Alcohol flavor is clean and bright though, plays as part of the overall flavor. Grassy notes from the mid-palate to the finish, developing a bitter component as it progresses. Medium body.

Prichard’s Crystal

  • Nose: Little alcohol bite. Very sweet, strong tropical fruit – coconut, pineapple – plus some vanilla.
  • Palate: Mirrors the nose. Very smooth with sweet tropical fruits throughout.

Plantation 3 Stars

  • Nose: Medium alcohol bite, little bit of grassy sugar cane, faint lime, very faint brine notes. Less sweet than the New Deal, more sweet than the Matusalem. Not a particularly strong nose.
  • Palate: Sweet molasses to start. Continues into the mid-palate along with some lime zest. Fairly rich, round flavor. Medium bodied.  Kinda like a daiquiri waiting to happen.

Of course we here at Booze Nerds are all about mixing, so we wanted to see how these rums compare in a cocktail. We chose El Presidente, a fairly restrained classic cocktail where the other ingredients don’t overwhelm the rum.

IMG_4012El Presidente

  • 1 1/2 oz white rum
  • 1/2 oz orange curacao
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 1 dash grenadine

Stir all ingredients with ice. Strain into a glass. Garnish with an orange twist.


  • Nose: Candied orange. Sweet sugarcane. Wine and bitter herbal notes. Orange baby aspirin.
  • Palate: Little bit of alcohol bite, little bit of sugarcane right on the front. Sweet orange on the mid-palate. Wine and bitter notes from the vermouth on the finish with very faint sweet-tart pomegranate. Light bodied and very restrained. As it warms up, the rum starts to assert itself a little more.

New Deal Distiller’s Cut

  • Nose: Light grassiness and a touch of vanilla. Sweet orange. Hint of sweet-tart pomegranate.
  • Palate: Rum comes through more clearly. Sweet sugar cane to start along with pomegranate and some funkiness. Caramel and cooked orange on the mid-palate followed by sour tartness from the vermouth with a bitter grassy finish. Richer and more caramel-y compared to the others.

3 Howls

  • Nose: Very strong grassy notes. Cedar wood. Little bit of funk. Faint fruit notes of pomegranate and orange.
  • Palate: Pomegranate and orange to start with some bitter herbal notes. Mid-palate is very rich with aromatic cedar and spices. Tangy sourness from the vermouth on the finish, paired with sweet floral honey notes (more pollen-y/bee hive-y for Shaun rather than honey). Dries out on the aftertaste.

Plantation 3 Stars

  • Nose: Sweet spicy orange. Some pomegranate, hint of vermouth. Spiced black tea  with clove & dried orange peel.
  • Palate: Pomegranate and sweet orange to start – very fruity and sweet compared to the others. Little bit of tang from the vermouth on the mid-palate into the finish. Rum doesn’t stand out but supplies a sweet molasses underpinning throughout the whole drink. Very nicely integrated.

Prichard’s Crystal

  • Nose: Tropical fruit, hint of orange.
  • Palate: Sweet orange to start with a touch of wine from the vermouth. Strong tropical fruit on the mid-palate. Hint of vermouth bitterness on the finish. Rum is very dominant in this drink.

As you can see, all 5 rums have very different flavor profiles and bring very different flavors to the party. We’d recommend the Plantation or New Deal for a drink that is well-balanced between the components, the Matusalem for someone who wants a more Martini-like drink, and the Prichards or 3 Howls if you want the rum to really be the key player. Next time you make your favorite white rum cocktail, we hope you’ll try a different offering than usual to see how the rum itself changes the overall flavor of the drink. Cheers!




This entry was posted in dry vermouth, grenadine, orange curacao, white rum and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s