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Added Sugar In Rum - New Years Update

The first update to the sugar list in 2023 brings us a few interesting entries. There's been lots of talk (partly by me) about El Dorado reducing the amount of sugar they add to their rums. They claim to not add sugar, but age their rums with caramel in the barrel. Which is their explanation of why their rums have such high sugar content. I highly doubt this is the entire story, as it's very debatable that added caramel introduces as much sugar as has been reported (30+ g/L). The next claim is that they stopped this practice many years ago and that we'd slowly see reduced sugar amounts in their expressions, obviously starting with the youngest ones. This is very doubtful as well. It means they would have taken this decision more than 15 years ago, when rums with added sugar were the undisputed king of sales. Why would they change it then?! More likely, they've started following the recent trend, where more and more consumers are wanting less sugar in their rum (and in their general daily diet). This has been happening in rum for the last 5 to 8 years I'd say.

Whatever the real story is, we now have the first solid lab test for sugar in El Dorado 12. Systembolaget has measured it as <3g/L. This is fantastic of course! The El Dorado 15 is still at 20g/L. However, this is not what some recent hydrometer results have shown. These have typically been around 10g/L. Lab results are more reliable, but it is possible that the test was done a while back and things have changed since that 20g/L was posted. Either that, or there are differences in the recipe between markets.

Another remarkable entry is that of Compañero Ron Elixir Orange. The sugar content of that one is almost double that of Coca Cola. To their credit, on the website they call it rum liqueur, which it is. But it does state "Ron" on the label, even though it isn't. Looking at some reviews......several are describing this as rum. In stores it's also called rum. The description that my local store (LCBO) and others are using:"A flavourful Danish rum...". It's an example of how easily a consumer can be misled, even when that might not have been the intention of the producer. The horrible and misguided 'rum = sweet' label that rum is carrying on its back will be hard to get rid of this way. Same with producers who put big numbers on the label. It could be an anniversary number or the age of the brand owner's parrot. It might not say years or años anywhere, but a large amount of people will still believe it stands for the age of the liquid. Nasty marketing.

Some of the other new rums on the list are Ron Cristobal, Neptune Barbados, Renegade and Plantation Extreme.

Click here for the list, or use the "sugar list" link at the top of the page.

Updates that happened after March 2021 are at the bottom of the list. However, you can sort it by name, ABV, sugar and date.

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Lower results on the hydrometer could mean other things than using older samples. There are a variety of ways to "fool" a hydrometer, which is why it means a bit more to wait for the lab results. It's interesting that there is (if there is) a difference as it indicates an effort to deliberately fool the hydrometers.

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Hi Jim. Do you think these companies care enough about enthusiasts tinkering with hydrometers to actually do something like that?

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