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Oliver & Oliver's Fake Premium Rums

This was going to be a regular sugar list update, but I decided to focus a bit on one manufacturer.

Certain rums pop up a lot in various rum groups, where I'm always wondering how much sugar has been added to them. What's really in that bottle?! For some reason, a lot of these never get tested. For example, rums from Dominican Republic. It is one of those rum producing holiday destinations that people bring rum back home from on a regular basis. Here in Canada, I especially see these bottles appear in the Quebec rum Facebook group for some reason. Puntacana and Opthimus rums for example. These are fabricated by Oliver & Oliver. A family owned company with roots in Cuba that has made my consumer blood boil on many occasions. On the bottle they call themselves Grupo Oliver. The rum is usually sold in pretty looking bottles with gold labels that contain lots of X's and O's, pictures of gold medals and numbers ranging from 15-50 that should make you believe the rum is that old. Sometimes coloured to dark roast coffee level and to top it all off the Puntacana XOX states "rum for connoisseurs". If that's not premium, then I don't know what is! A rum industry insider once told me:"That company does everything that god has forbidden".

There are all sorts of red flags waving in our faces with these products. But the biggest one, the one that should even make the most devoted Oliver & Oliver fan think, is the price. All the cliche ageing numbers are being used: 21, 23, 25, 30. Spending that much time in a cask is massively expensive and rare. $65 for a 25 year rum seems like charity. They are losing money with each bottle they sell at that price. Probably from the good of their heart. They are trying to make the world a better place, one bottle at a time. While I'm writing this I'm getting flashbacks about a Phil Collins song. I know I'm risking revealing a lot about my age here, but his song "Jesus he knows me", which is about TV evangelists, covers some of Oliver & Oliver's practices quite well. A lyric like "I can get you a pocketful of miracles.......just do as I say, don't do as I do" or, "There's no question why I'm smilin', you buy a piece of paradise, you buy a piece of me", "Get on your knees and start paying!". It's all about selling miracles! Click here to see the video of this song.

Well, the gods have answered my prayers and made the Swedish liquor monopoly test more of the O&O rums. The Puntacana Silver Dry came out at 8g/L. They likely call it dry because it's the lowest amount of added sugar in the range. It goes up from there. Typically, when you get to the more "premium" bottles, the highest sugar content can be found. This is done because a lot of people rate rums/whiskys by their "smoothness". I hate the word, as it means so very little and is overused. I believe what most people mean by it is that the spirit doesn't burn much when swallowing it. Newsflash!!: this can be achieved by simply adding sugar and/or flavouring to a young, harsh distillate. Which means that this "premium" bottle can contain a young spirit that is sugared and coloured to make it seem old and "smooth". The fancy bottle and label with the big number do the rest of the convincing.

The Puntacana XOX was measured to have 19g/L, just under the EU maximum level of added sugar. No surprise there. What is surprising, is that Opthimus XO Oporto Cask and Opthimus XO Malt Whisky Cask came out at less than 3g/L. That doesn't make me start celebrating though. A company like this makes me skeptical. They could have used glycerin for example. An incredibly sweet substance that sweetens and softens the mouth feel. Only a small amount is needed to get results.

There are a few more of their rums tested and added to the sugar list. Also new is another rum from the Dominican Republic, Barcelo Onyx. Next to that, a sugary spiced Takamaka, Pampero Aniversario Reserva Exclusiva, Bacardi Caribbean Spiced with a whopping 30g/L of sugar, which is doubled by The Demon's Share El Oro Del Diablo. Luckily there is good news as well. The very expensive Mount Gay Single Estate Series Release 01 has no added sugar. Brugal Maestro Reserva only 1 g/L.

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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