Novel Creation of a Rum Flavor Lexicon Through the Use of Web-Based Material

Chelsea M. Ickes, Soo Yeun Lee, Keith R. Cadwallader

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Flavor lexicons help both manufacturers and consumers communicate the intricacies of flavor nuances they experience within a product. Lexicon development typically requires the use of a trained sensory panel to evaluate a representative sample set of the product category to generate terms that describe certain product attributes. In the case of rum, there is considerable variation in terms of style, flavor characteristics, and the sheer number of rums produced making it difficult to create a lexicon in this manner. Furthermore, sensory fatigue from the high alcohol content can also hinder lexicon development. This is the first study to create a rum flavor lexicon using web-based material (comprising blogs, company descriptions, and review websites) to minimize the time and cost and to allow for the inclusion of a greater number of rum products. Reviews for over 1000 different rums were utilized, comprising evaluations that described an array of rums, including white, gold, aged, and agricole. Each evaluation was coded for aroma, aroma-by-mouth, and taste attributes using NVivoTM software to amass the sensory terms. Word frequency analysis was conducted on coded attributes. The analysis yielded 147 terms, sorted into 22 different categories. The most prominent terms included vanilla, oak, caramel, fruity, molasses, and baking spices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1216-1223
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of food science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017


  • flavor
  • lexicon
  • rum
  • sensory
  • web-based material

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science


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