Rum, a spirituous liquor distilled from fermented molasses, the refuse juice and scum from the sugar manufacture, and the spirit wash or lees (known as dunder) of former distillations. A peculiar volatile oil comes over in the first part of the process, which imparts to the rum its flavor. The manufacture of rum has long been carried on extensively in connection with that of sugar and molasses upon the plantations of the West India islands. Jamaica rum ranks first in quality, and that made in Santa Cruz is also favorably known. In the New England states it has been largely distilled from molasses. In Newport, R. I., there were in the last century 30 of these manufactories, and their product was a staple article in the African slave trade. The materials named above are employed in various proportions at different places. In some the proportion of spent wash already used several times over is so great as to seriously impair the flavor. The fermentation is continued upon large quantities of material at a time from 9 to 15 days, according to the strength of the wash and condition of the weather. Rum often has a deep red color, which is acquired from molasses or caramel added for the purpose, and not from the wood of the casks as is commonly supposed.
Unlike other spirits, rum tends to cause perspiration. Rum is greatly improved by age, and when very old is often highly prized. At a sale in Carlisle, England, in 1865, rum known to be 140 years old sold for three guineas a bottle.