Rum is produced in many different countries using a variety of methods but the common denominator is that they are all distilled from alcohol derived from raw sugar. Most quality rums use molasses as their base ingredient.
Because the regulation of rum production varies greatly from country to country there are fewer internationally & legally recognised standards than in some other spirit categories. Broadly speaking three key styles - white, dark and spiced rums.
White, or light, rums are un-aged, clear spirits, frequently produced in column stills. These rums have fairly neutral flavour profiles.
Dark rums are aged in casks which imparts flavour and colour. The colour ranges from pale gold to deep brown depending on the length of maturation. The spirit for dark rums is often distilled in pot stills.
Spiced rums are flavoured by infusion with spices and are sometimes coloured with caramel. The base spirit can be a cask matured dark rum or white rum for cheaper variations.