I have been engaged in various discussions of late with various individuals trying to get a grasp on the burning question:
What is Rum?
Robert Burr, from Gifted Rums, has directed me to the appropriate regulatory framework; Capn Jimbo, from The Rum Project, has offered me his insights; and even the Scotch Brand Ambassador for Highland Park, J L. Wheelock has admitted to me that he is studying the question with some interest. You see, the answer is not as clear as the question.
The first major problem with the question, is that the answer depends upon jurisdiction. National Governments all have the right to legislate their own rules and regulations pertaining to the identification and labelling requirements of alcoholic spirits. So to answer the question we must first choose a jurisdiction. For initial convenience, I have chosen the United States as the jurisdiction for this particular discussion page. This means that the discussion and its conclusions may not have relevance for locales outside of the USA.
With that in mind I have done an analysis of the US regulations as they pertain to the identification and the labelling requirements of Rum. The link to these regulations can be found here.
The reason I have engaged in this possibly fruitless exercise is because I have noticed that there is a huge discrepancy in the blogosphere, and on public internet forums as to what persons believe is allowed, and what is not allowed with respect to the labelling of additives, the addition of color, the description of age statements, and the like. I am hoping to offer clarity and to increase my understanding.
Now hopes such as these are often dashed against the rocks of intentions, and my write-up is riddled with references to legal regulations and my own conjectures. I am not a lawyer, so my interpretations and conjectures must be treated as purely that. Perhaps I am muddying the waters rather than clarifying them.
I should also point out that I expect, as a result of the publication of my discussion, that other interpretations may be brought forward and as such the understanding may become somewhat fluid. As more understanding comes forward, the write-up may be revised accordingly.
So if you are brave, and if you have a lot of time on your hands, click on the link provided.
Feel free to add your own comments at the bottom especially if you believe I may have missed an important key point.