Alcometer Testing

Testing the Alcohol by Volume (abv) can be a contentious issue. Usually it is a very basic way to tell if a particular bottling has had anything added to it post distillation. This could be anything really but usually the additives are along the lines of sugars, syrups, puree’s, liquid glucose, or even where barrels used for ageing may still be “wet” ie. possibly still some sherry, muscat etc left in the barrel.

There are many reasons why a producer might do this. Sometimes to ‘Smooth” out the profile of the rum or sweeten it. It could also be that it has additives to make a poor distillate more palatable.

Talking about additives is a whole subject in itself. Personally I prefer unadulterated rums and will always research whether a particular rum that I’m about to purchase is unadulterated or not.

Some people are quite happy with sweetened or adulterated rums which is fine if that is their preference, however there is a movement in rum circles that argues that producers should at least be honest about the practice and declare what is in the bottle on the label.

So, by using an alcometer you can get an indication as to whether anything has been added. This is done by comparing the declared abv on the bottle’s label with the reading on the alcometer.

Additives will generally be indicated if the alcometer reading is lower than that on the label. As a disclaimer, I am not a scientist and my testing does not take place in laboratory conditions. The optimum temperature when testing is 20 degrees C. Any wild variations to this can make a difference to the readings. When testing I try to control the conditions with air conditioning but I can’t guarantee that my results are 100% accurate and they should be taken with a pinch of salt and for interest only.

Having said that, when I do my testing I “calibrate” with a rum that I know is accurate to start with.

So far I have tested all the rums currently in my collection. It’s a relatively meagre amount and you can find some much larger and more comprehensive result lists either at The Fat Rum Pirate or at Drecon


Bottle ABVTested ABV
Adelphi Single Estate Hampden 15 54.355
Appleton Rare Blend 12 4343
Appleton Signature Blend 4040
Appleton Joy 25yr4545
Arcane Extraroma 4035
Archie Rose Virgin Cane Spirit5050
Barbancourt Reserve de Domaine 15yr 4343
Bacardi Gran Reserva 8 4040
Bacardi Carta Blanca 37.537.5
Baker Williams Single Barrel 65.365.5
Beenleigh 5yr old Double Barrel 4035
Black Gate Single Cask rum. Cask #0175151
Black Gate Ranga Rum 5151
Bristol Classic Rockley Still 1986 Sherry Finish 4643
Bundaberg Blenders Edition 2015 4040
Bundaberg Blenders Award Winning Edition4040
Cadenhead Cask Strength Foursquare 11yr6062
Damoiseau Rhum Vieux Millesime 198958.458.5
Depaz VSOP Reserve Speciale 4545
Diplolmatico Reserva Exclusiva 4032
Doorly’s 8yr4040
Doorly’s 12yr4040
Doorly’s XO4040
El Dorado 8yr4037
El Dorado Single Barrel PM 4040
Far North Queensland Rum Co Iridium 4038
Flor de Cana 18 4040
Foursquare ECS Port Cask Finish 4040
Foursquare ECS Zinfandel 4343
Foursquare ECS Dominus 5656
Foursquare ECS Premise 4646
Foursquare ECS 20045959
Foursquare ECS 20055959
Foursquare- Velier Triptych5656
Foursquare- Velier Principia6262
Foursquare- Velier Destino 6161
Goslings Black Seal OP 15175.575
Hoochery Distillery Ord River Rum Premium 4036
Hoochery Distillery Ord River Rum Straight Barrel Proof64.969
Hoochery Distillery Ord River Rum OP 3yrs56.457
Husk Distillers Pure Cane (2016 Harvest)4040
Husk Distillers 1866 Tumbulgum Rum 42.542.5
Husk Distillers Spiced Bam Bam 4038
Illegal Tender Distillers Cut 4545
Inner Circle Premium Rum OP75.977
La Maison & Velier Long Pond 2003 6365
La Maison & Velier Hampden Estate Pure Single  Rum OP6060
La Maison du Whisky Caroni 17 yr5555.5
Lord Byron Distillery Silver Rhum40.340.5
Lord Byron Distillery Silver Rhum OP 6363
Lord Byron Distillery Promise Aged Rum 4038.5
Kirk and Sweeney 234040
Lark Distillery Quiet Cannon 5050
Matusalem Gran Reserva 15 Solera 4040
Mount Gay Eclipse37.537.5
Mount Gay Black Barrel 4344
Mount Gay Extra Old (Older version)4343
Mount Gay XO 4343
Mount Gay 17034343
Pampero Aniversario 4038
Penny Blue XO Batch #0044343
Pere Labat 8 ans4242
Phantom Spirits Vanilla Shake Cask4338
Pirates Grog No 13 4038
Plantation Stiggin’s Fancy Pineapple 4034
Pussers 15 yr Navy Rum (Nelsons Blood)4034
Pussers British Navy Rum 4040
Ratu 5yr Dark 4040
Rhum J.M XO4545.5
Rhum J.M 2002 46.346.5
Riverbourne Distillery 1st Release 4848
R.L Seale’s Finest Barbados Rum 10yr4343
Ron Abuelo Centuria4035
Saint James 12 Ans4343.5
Sansibar Premium Panamanian Rum 20 yr5151
Silver Seal Whisky Company Uitvlught Demerara 18 yr 5050
Smith and Cross Jamaican 5757
St Lucia Distillers Admiral Rodney 4040
St Lucia Distillers Chairmans Reserve Forgotten Casks 4040
St Lucia Distillers 1931 1st Edition 4344
St Lucia Distillers 1931 2nd Edition 4343.5
St Lucia Distillers 1931 3rd Edition 4338.5
St Lucia Distillers 1931 4th Edition 4343
St Lucia Distillers 1931 5th Edition 4646
St Lucia Distillers 1931 6th Edition 4646
Stone Pine Barrique Rum 4040
Tamborine Mountain Distillery Gold Rum 4040
Tamborine Mountain Distillery Sugar Cane Spirit 4040
Tamborine Mountain Distillery Spiced Gold Rum  4040
The Grove Dark Rum 4039.5
The Kimberley Rum Company Canefire No54040
The Kimberley Rum Company Canefire No94039
The Kimberley Rum Company Canefire No144040
The Real McCoy 12 yr 4040
The Real McCoy 12yr Ltd Madeira & Bourbon Cask Aged4646
Transcontinental Barbados 2012 4646
Turquoise Bay Amber Rum 4038
Velier The Antigua Distillery Heavy Traditional Rum 6666.5
Velier Diamond H (Hampden Estate) 6263
Velier Mount Gilboa 20086666
Velier Forsyths WP 200557.858
Velier Foursquare 20136464
Velier Royal Navy Very Old Rum 57.18