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Is dark rum the same thing as aged rum?

Not exactly. An aged rum is always a dark rum, but not all dark rums are aged rums. (Rum is a very confusing spirit because labeling regulations are not as strict as with other spirits.)

Barrel aging is what usually gives brown spirits such as rum or whiskey their warm, toasty colors. In the case of rum, however, distillers can use an array of different aging times — a clear spirit takes on the color of a charred barrel very quickly, even if the flavors take longer to develop — or skip the barrel entirely and use caramel coloring on their spirits. The result would be dark but not aged.

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So if you’re in the market for an aged rum, don’t rely on it being dark alone. Look for a numerical age statement printed on the bottle.