Fine spirits collector and imbiber, Chip Dykstra, has developed a unique rating system for reviewing rum. Here are the 5 elements of the Dykstra Method.
The Dykstra Method
By Chip Dykstra
I split my rating into five categories based upon the amount of enjoyment I get out of each segment of the rum drinking experience. These categories are:
IN THE BOTTLE: 5pts
IN THE GLASS 10pts
IN THE MOUTH 60pts
IN THE THROAT 15pts
THE AFTERBURN 10pts
You may laugh at my first category, IN THE BOTTLE, but I enjoy the ambiance created by unwrapping a fine bottle from its packaging and then placing the decanter in front of my friends. I also have a rule that the more I paid for a bottle the harsher I judge this category. Rums under 20 bucks score 5 quite easily, and rums that cost more than 80 bucks must really impress to score 5. Over time, of course, the packaging is less important but it still merits 5 % of the total rum experience. Basically this is a category for presentation.
IN THE GLASS is not silly at all as a lot begins to happen as we open the bottle and pour the rum. Sweet molasses aroma hits the nostrils. Some Rums gain legs in the glass and the expectation of sweet nectar starts the rum drinking experience. I love to nose a glass before I drink and savour the sweetness. A great nose only goes so far however and in spite of other person’s insistance that the nose is as important as taste I do not believe it. Many a great nose has hidden an awful taste.
Of course IN THE MOUTH is the most important category and it is all about taste. Basically this is a “How good does this taste?” category. If I am constantly drawn back to a particular rum I score this very high. I will score a rum high if the taste shows characteristics of spice and flavours consistant with pleasurable rum. The flavours must compliment the rum rather than dominate it, and we must have what I call balance. A balanced rum will not have any off notes of excessive bitterness or sweetness. Prevalant spices must be in harmony with the molasses.
IN THE THROAT is all about that warm feeling you get as the liquid flows down. Important is the aftertaste left hidden at the back of the palate. Also that nice burn you feel as the liquid goes down. Bitterness left behind always knocks this score down a bit as does any flavour or lack thereof that leaves the experience wanting.
Finally the AFTERBURN which is really a catchall category meant to smooth out any inconsistencies. Sometimes a rum is more than the sum of its parts and this is a good area to recognize that. Also this is an area where the rememberance of the flavour is more important that the actual flavour if that makes any sense.
Finally, what the final numbers mean:
0-25 A Rum with a rating this low would actually Kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your Fortitude Score you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you probably shouldn’t.
60-64 You may offer this to people you do not want to see again.
65-69 Someone may offer you this. You should decline.
70-74 Now we have a fair rum. Accept this graciously.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends.
80-84 Very Good Rum.
90-94 You may want to hoard this for youself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this rum yet…but I want to.
So there you have it, my own method of evaluating Rum.
To read more from Chip, tune into the Ministry of Rum.