Characterization of Sensory Differences in Mixing and Premium Rums Through the Use of Descriptive Sensory Analysis

Chelsea M. Ickes, Keith R. Cadwallader

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract: This study identified and quantitated perceived sensory differences between 7 premium rums and 2 mixing rums using a hybrid of the Quantitative Descriptive Analysis and Spectrum methods. In addition, the results of this study validated the previously developed rum flavor wheel created from web-based materials. Results showed that the use of the rum flavor wheel aided in sensory term generation, as 17 additional terms were generated after the wheel was provided to panelists. Thirty-eight sensory terms encompassing aroma, aroma-by-mouth, mouthfeel, taste and aftertaste modalities, were generated and evaluated by the panel. Of the finalized terms, only 5 did not exist previously on the rum flavor wheel. Twenty attributes were found to be significantly different among rums. The majority of rums showed similar aroma profiles with the exception of 2 rums, which were characterized by higher perceived intensities of brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, and chocolate aroma, caramel, maple, and vanilla aroma-by-mouth and caramel aftertaste. Practical Application: These results demonstrate the previously developed rum flavor wheel can be used to adequately describe the flavor profile of rum. Additionally, results of this study document the sensory differences among premium rums and may be used to correlate with analytical data to better understand how changes in chemical composition of the product affect sensory perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2679-2689
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of food science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • descriptive analysis
  • flavor
  • rum
  • sensory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science


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