I've noticed an increasing amount of new rums coming to the market in the recent years and a majority of them, particularily the hispanic style rums, are extremely sweet with a few exceptions here and there. These rums are generally really easy to drink and are very smooth but also lack in depth and character as the excessive sweetness tends to mask the flavours that could be, in other words it makes the rum bland.
More and more I'm bumping into comments like "It smells like alcohol rather than any sweet notes, which I desire"
and even "Too many Rhum Agricoles taste like whiskey. I think that rum must taste like rum."
The last comment is beyond me... So what is rum supposed to taste like apart from the oak aged distillate of sugar cane juice or molasses?
There is a rum review website that lists rums and gives them ratings rather than commenting on any of the rums and at first I thought their ratings were completely random as they did not make any sense at all but soon I noticed a pattern that indicated favoritism towards sweeter rums.
Majority of the Rhum Agricoles like Clement Cuvee Homere scored abhorrently low as did rums such as Doorlys XO, Cadenheads Green Label, Pussers 15 and Appleton Estate 21. The high scored 9 and 10 out of 10 rums were your typical South American and Dominican Ron Zacapa, Diplomatico and Atlantico etc. In other words, your sweetened rums.
It is just very strange to me how anyone can score such beautiful rums so low and while I've got nothing against the high scoring sweet rums on this particular website, they're really not that exciting. Oh well, I'll gladly take the Doorly's and Clement off your hands!
Bear in mind this is just my personal opinion but to me these types of comments and ratings indicate that people associate sweet, easy to drink and non challenging rums as good rums and anything that is remotely dry, complex, bold and INTERESTING are not considered good or nearly as good as their sweetened easy to drink counterparts.
There is absolutely nothing wrong in liking sweet stuff but sweetness alone does not make a good rum, it makes a boring rum. It's just not what rum is, it's not all that rum can be!
A good rum needs to have depth, character and balance between all things that are in there, including sweetness. If you remove these elements or overpower them with one element such as sweetness then all you are left with is an unexciting bland rum with a few notes of vanilla and caramel. It's easy to drink but in my personal opinion it ain't good rum and is certainly not what I look for in a good rum.
Something like that may be a good entry level or a gateway rum just so long as you don't get stuck. This is what appears to have happened to many people and it has distorted people's view of what good rum is supposed to taste like; they are used to it, so now they look for this one quality in all rums.
It's a bit of a long post, but I'd like to now hear your thoughts on what makes a good rum.