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Difference Between Rum and Whiskey

For most people who take alcoholic beverages, getting the difference between their favorite drinks (except for the names and alcohol content) is a hard test. This is equally true for rum and whiskey where the users cannot tell what differentiates each from the other despite having their favorite between them. If you are among the people stuck on the difference between rum and whiskey, dive deep in what each of your favorite drink is and their distinctive characteristics.


What is Rum?

Rum refers to a distilled alcoholic drink manufactured using sugarcane byproducts, including sugarcane juice and molasses. The processes through which rum is produced include distillation and fermentation.

It’s an alcoholic drink popularized across the world and evokes the image of the Caribbean people as well as their culture. Among the biggest producers of rum in the world are the Caribbean Islands and Latin America.

As for the process, yeast is mixed with molasses, and fermentation is done in a controlled manner and place to produce the desired taste and flavor. Fermentation and distillation processes later on result in the alcoholic beverage that is well aged and blended to suit different tastes of different consumers.

Variations and Grades of Rum

Rum is characterized into the following grades and variations:

  • Light rum: – clear or light in color grade and usually referred to as white rum. It has a lighter flavor and is commonly used for mixing with other drinks.
  • Dark rum: – dark in color but may include other grades of black, brown, or red colors. This grade is aged for longer periods and in charred wooden barrels to produce a stronger and sweeter taste.
  • Spiced rum: – dark rum with added flavoring like cinnamon, pepper, and aniseed.
  • Gold rum: – rum grade aged in white oak barrels. It is usually amber in color.
  • Premium rum: – made of the highest-quality raw materials and carefully aged. It is believed to contain more flavor and aroma as compared to other grades and is usually sold at a higher price.


What is Whiskey?

Whiskey (or whisky in UK English) is also a type of a distilled alcoholic beverage but is made from fermented grain mash as compared to rum. Different whiskey varieties are made from various grains, including corn, wheat, rye, and barley. The grains may also be malted depending on the need.

Whiskey is usually aged in charred white oak barrels. It is also a strictly regulated spirit across the globe and has many classes and types to go by. The common unifying factors of the various types of whiskey are distillation, fermentation of the grains used and aging it in wooden white oak barrels.

Different Grades of Whiskey

Whiskey grades are categorized into either malt or grain. The malt grade is primarily made from malted barley while the grain whiskey can be made from any grain type. Other classifications of whiskey include:

  • Single malt: – whiskey grade made from a single grain type and passed through a single distillery.
  • Blended malt: – whiskey grade made from a mixture of different whiskey grades from other multiple distilleries.
  • Cask strength: – bottled whiskey directly from the cask and has not been diluted.
  • Single cask: a bottle of whiskey that is aged in a single cask.
  • Blended whiskey: – a combination of grain and malt whiskeys with added colors, spirits, and flavoring.


Difference Between Rum and Whiskey

The major differences between the two beverages include:

Production of Rum Vs. Whiskey

Whiskey is produced from a variety of fermented grains like rye, barley, and wheat while rum is produced from byproducts of sugarcane such as sugarcane juice, molasses, and honey.

Alcohol Content in Rum Vs. in Whiskey

The alcohol content of rum varies from one country to the other, and the minimum levels can vary from at least 40% to beyond 60%. Whiskey, on the other hand, usually has alcohol contents at 40%.

Taste of Rum Vs. Whiskey

Both of the beverages have a variety of flavors and colors. These characteristics depend on the color, age, as well as the extra ingredients added to each. While rum is rich and spicy, whiskey is aromatic. Rum is also sweeter than whiskey while whiskey has a taste reminiscent of the barrels it has aged in.

Health Benefits and Implications of Rum Vs. Whiskey

As whiskey ages, it develops ellagic acid, which is believed to regulate the body’s glucose levels. Rum, on the other hand, has been found (in small amounts though) to increase the density of minerals in bones. Rum is also believed to ease the symptoms of such lifestyle diseases like arthritis.

Rum Vs. Whiskey: Comparison Table


Summary of Rum Vs. Whiskey

Everybody’s choice of a drink depends on their tastes and preferences. The same case will apply to most people when it comes to rum and whiskey. Even though they have their differences, therefore, the decision one has to make between them is solely dependent on their personal tastes and other needs like the function they are holding. With the differences as highlighted though, it is easy to choose what can work for you if you are stuck at some point.


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  1. The findings are confusing as it has not been established as whether Rum or whiskey is better..

    • That’s your decision on the information offered, I would advise choose the one you enjoy more, the one that tickles your taste buds with more love, the one that doesn’t leave you feeling as bad as the other the next morning, the one you enjoy savouring a small glass of neat at the end of a hard day and leaves you relaxed putting your head down for a good night’s kip ready to fight for, enjoy and appreciate the world the next day. All the best

  2. It is great Blog Post. I like it. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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References :

[0]Image credit: https://www.needpix.com/photo/249018/whisky-jim-beam-bourbon-whiskey-drink-alcohol-bottles-alcoholic-glass-bottles-sale

[1]Image credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/rum-alcohol-bottles-3095312/

[2]BottleStore, Jonathan. "What’S The Difference Between Rum, Vodka, And Whiskey? – Bottlestore.Com Blog". Bottlestore.Com, 2019, https://www.bottlestore.com/blog/whats-the-difference-between-rum-vodka-and-whiskey/. Accessed 15 May 2019.

[3]"Rum Vs Whiskey: Which Is Better | Organic Facts". Organic Facts, 2019, https://www.organicfacts.net/rum-vs-whiskey.html. Accessed 15 May 2019.

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