What Makes Puerto Rican Rum Different? And The Top 5 Rum Types

May 9, 2023
by Jack Lyons

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Did you know that Puerto Rico is actually known as the Rum Capital of the World? Well, now you do.

So if you’re as partial and passionate about rum as the likes of Captain Jack Sparrow, then Puerto Rico is definitely the place to be. 

And, it’s pretty likely that when you sit down in your fancy cocktail bar in Manhattan, Arizona, Mississippi, or any other place across the country, the rum-based cocktail you ordered has been imported from Puerto Rico itself. But what makes Puerto Rican rum different?

Let’s take a closer look at Puerto Rico, its rum production, and how each variety of rum differs from the others. 

Puerto Rico & Rum 

Puerto Rico is filled with tons of huge distilleries that are responsible for a whopping 70% of all the rum sold in the US. So, as you can imagine, rum is Puerto Rico's chief export.

And when it comes to making delicious varieties of rum, they definitely know exactly what they are doing. 

In fact, there are over 80 types of rum that are produced within these distilleries.

There’s silver rum, golden rum, amber rum, spiced and dark. The list goes on and on. So, regardless of your personal preference, you can be sure that there is a rum out there for you. 

As I mentioned there are quite a few different types of rum, but they usually boil down to a few different types.

Let’s take a look at those now. 

Different Types Of Rum 

Okay, so let’s take a look at the different types of rum that are produced and how they differ from each other.

There are 5 major categories for rum; light, amber, spiced, dark,  and 151 proof. 

Light Rum (Silver & White)

This rum is often visually quite light and tends to have a more subtle flavor and is usually highly filtered.

They are seen as the ‘all-rounders’ that work well in most drinks and especially cocktails since they don’t have overwhelming flavors. 

Golden & Amber

You can get these varieties in both aged and unaged.

When aged it tends to have a very rich taste and is often fuller-bodied than its other counterparts.

Unaged rums get their darker color from added caramel but often tend to be fairly mellow. 


As the name suggests, spiced rum is, well, spiced. The exact spices used are usually undisclosed, but they often also involve the addition of both caramel and vanilla flavoring.

They are usually gold in color but can sometimes be darker too. These work well as a neat beverage or with a subtle mixer of your choice. 


Dark rums are often much darker and stronger in flavor than other rum varieties. They tend to be heavy on spices, molasses, and even caramel too at times. They are also often aged for much longer than their similar counterparts. 

151 Proof

These rums are sure to knock your head off with a total of 75.5% alcohol volume.

So as you can imagine, it’s very strong tasting. You’ll definitely be better off opting for the more expensive versions of this beverage as the cheaper versions can leave your throat burning.

Also, it’s highly flammable so keep the bottle away from a naked flame at all costs. 

Most Popular Puerto Rican Rum Brands 

Here are a few of the most popular Puerto Rican rum brands on the market.


Arguably the most famous rum across the entire world, Bacardi is made in Catano at Casa Bacardi which is the world's largest premium rum distillery.

The production of this rum dates back all the way to 1862, and it is still to this day enjoyed by many, especially in a cocktail. 

Bacardi has a very distinct vanilla and almond taste to it which develops from its time in a white oak barrel.

It is known for being very smooth and mild. This is probably why it is so often used for cocktails as it doesn’t have an overpowering tendency to it, and so you can still taste all those classic fruity cocktail flavors. 

Don Q (Serralles)

Don Q, is much newer to the rum scene than the likes of Bacardi, having been produced since 1965, despite this, though, it is still one of the most reputable brands to come from the Serralles distillery. 

This rum has a very delicate flavor profile and can be described as an incredibly clean and refined rum.

It can be aged anywhere from one to over 5 years in a white oak barrel. And the result is a rum that goes down a treat - it is very smooth. 

This rum has actually won multiple awards so you can be sure it’s of incredible quality.

And if you’re feeling particularly brave why not try the super-strong Don Q 151 variety? 

Ron Del Barrilito

This is actually the ancientest rum in production in Puerto Rico, and it is very beloved for its deep flavor and whisky-like properties. For more than a century, Ron Del Barrilito has been aged in Hacienda Santa Ana.

And the story goes, that it was originally developed way back in the 17th century, the secret formula passed down from generation to generation. 

It’s a layered rum with quite the complexity and is sure to awaken all your senses and tingle your tastebuds. 

Club Caribe Rum 

Clun Caribe Rum is so special because it is the first of its kind to ever be distilled with waters that come from the inner mountains of Puerto Rico. As you can imagine, this takes the flavor profile to new heights. 

For decades a family has run the distillery that is set deep within the mountains. The rum is light, fun, and refreshing and makes for the perfect addition to any cocktail. 

Trigo Reserva Gran Anejo 

Considered one of the finest rums available, Trigo Reserva Gran Anejo is usually aged for a minimum of twelve years.

And the flavor is unbelievable. It has this super unique wood-like flavor that is full-bodied and full of character. 

This ultra-premium rum even comes in a limited-edition hand-blown decanter that the most avid of collectors would die to get their hands on.

If you’re looking for a really luxurious rum, then this is definitely the option for you. 

Final Thoughts

Where there is rum, there is fun. Well, if that saying is true, there is no better place in the world to be than Puerto Rico - the Rum Capital of the World. It’d be a pirate’s paradise.

And I must say, it sounds pretty great to me too. 

As you can see from this article, the Caribbean island produces nearly all of the rum that we drink here in the States.

And hopefully, now, you have a bit more of an idea in how the many varieties of rum differ from one another. 

If you’re looking for something light and not too overpowering, then you can’t go for a better rum than a white or silver rum such as Bacardi which goes great in a cocktail.

However, if you are looking for something that packs a punch with a more in-your-face flavor profile, you’ll want to opt for a dark rum. 

And if you want a rum that will leave you with no memory of the night…then 151-proof rum is your guy. 

You might also be interested in: 14 Best Whiskey Glasses for Your Bar Cart

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