Distillation concentrates and intensifies the subtle tastes found in the original low-alcohol product. Brandy has thus been called the distilled essence of wine, and whiskey the distilled essence of beer.And on rum's distinctly American qualities:
And rum? It is, as we shall see, the distilled essence of fermented industrial waste.
Bourbon fanciers, who often claim for their tipple the title of "America's spirit," drink one of the most regulated spirits known. To be labeled bourbon, it has to be made with a certain percentage of corn and aged in a certain kind of barrel. But excessive regulation is not the spirit of America. Unrestricted experimentation is. Rum embodies America's laissez-faire attitude: It is whatever it wants to be. There have never been strict guidelines for making it. There's no international oversight board, and its taste and production varies widely, leaving the market to sort out favorites. If sugarcane or its by-products are involved in the distillation process, you can call it rum. Rum is the melting pot of spirits -- the only liquor available in clear, amber, and black variations.