Delivery Login
Blog Contact Trade +44 (0)1892 888 376
My Basket
Total$0.00
You can change the currency displayed here.
click to close

Rum

Rum is such an evocative spirit. It transforms, transcends and instantly transports the drinker to the sun-washed shores of the West Indies; white sands, palm trees and blue seas. It always has a sense of joviality, in part thanks to its Caribbean origins, and also because of the unabashed decadence surrounding a libation made from sugar.

The kind of sugar used is one of the key differentiating factors in rum production. In the Spanish and British Antilles, for example, rum is traditionally distilled from molasses - a by-product of sugar production. In the French Caribbean islands, however, sugarcane juice (sometimes called sugarcane honey) is used instead of molasses. Countries like Martinique and Guadeloupe are famed for producing spirit distilled from sugarcane juice, known as rhum agricole - French for 'agricultural rum'. The spirit is often made in a way that more closely resembles the distillation of some of the famous French brandies, such as Cognac or Armagnac. Younger varieties often exude a tangy, herbal flavour, whilst the aged varieties (often matured in Cognac casks) will offer up subtlety and complexity, just like any fine aged spirit.

The Caribbean has been cultivated for sugar for centuries, and the various occupiers, be they Spanish, French or English, have their own terms for the spirit; Ron, Rhum and, of course, Rum, respectively.

As far as British involvement with the spirit, there has always been a strong connection with the Royal Navy. Indeed, at one time the Navy afforded their sailors a half pint of rum as part of their daily ration. The rum was traded and export grew in large part because of the export possibilities that sea travel brought about.

Many competing arguments exist as to the origins of the term "rum”. The most convincing is that it is a shortened version of "rumbullion” – a word meaning great uproar and noise, and a good reminder of the often violent, dramatic history of rum. Other terms have existed, including "kill devil” which was used to describe spirit distilled from molasses.

Due to the huge geographical territory in which rum is produced, there are many variants in production, the type of still being one of the most obvious. Usually, pot stills are used to distil thick, rich, aged rums (El Dorado 15 and El Pusser’s are good examples). Continuous column stills, on the other hand, are used to produce white spirits best associated with cocktails.

Maturation is an interesting aspect too. White rums are either unaged or aged only very briefly. Classics such as Bacardi Superior are crisp and tangy and work brilliantly well in cocktails. Gold rums tend to be a mix of spirit old and new, and also work nicely in cocktails, with an increase in complexity and flavour. For the connoisseurs of sipping spirit, however, dark rums are the preference. These can be tremendously refined and delicious, thanks in no small part to the tropical nature of the climate. The hot weather allows Caribbean rums to mature particularly rapidly - at as much as thrice the rate of Scotch Whisky . In this respect a 15 year old rum is the equivalent of a 45 year old whisky!

Other geographical factors come into play too, and some of the top rum-producing countries have attained their own unique style.

Jamaica is perhaps one of the most prolific rum nations today, with its own unique style. Prior to distillation, the molasses are typically allowed to ferment for a great length of time. This is then followed by distillation in pot stills. The result is intensity and body, often with notes of tropical fruit and banana. Appleton Estate and Wray and Nephew are superlative examples.

Barbados is another prime rum territory. One of the original islands to begin rum distillation, Barbadian rums are often superbly balanced, with deliciously aromatic tendencies. There are three main distilleries on the island (West Indies Rum Distillery, Mount Gay and Foursquare), and each makes use of pot stills. These are easy-drinking rums, with some of the longer-aged variants (Doorly’s XO, for example) working brilliantly as sipping spirits.

Guyana is one of our favourite rum nations, thanks in no small part to the heavy, Demerara rums bottled in the El Dorado range. These are full-bodied spirits, traditionally the main constituent in British Navy rum. Made in a mix of pot stills and column stills, there is quite a variety of flavour to be found. Where once there were more than 200 distilleries, today there is only one. We suggest you seek out El Dorado 15 for an example of just how good Guyana rum can be!

Latin America is home to the lighter, fresher cocktail rums. The popularity of such spirit (with the advent of the recent cocktail revolution) has transformed the place into the most prolific region of all. It all started, however, with Bacardi, originally produced in Cuba before the country's factories were nationalised. Today, Bacardi is made in Puerto Rico, and the classic Carta Blanca remains a mainstay for many cocktails including the Daiquiri. Countries such as the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Venezuela and Trinidad play hosts to some of the world's top distilleries. Brands such as Ron Zacapa, Brugal and Pampero - among many others - are well worth a look.

Whilst not always thought of as a true rum, this introduction would not be complete without a mention of Cachaça. The famous spirit, made almost exclusively in Brazil, is traditionally enjoyed as part of a Caipirinha cocktail, and its production closely resembles Rhum Agricole. It is distilled from fermented sugar cane juice, and is bottled at between 38% and 54%ABV. One interesting aspect is the legally permissible addition of up to six grams of sugar per litre, giving the spirit additional sweetness. Varieties are sold both aged and unaged, with the former being a more premium style thanks to the extra complexity imbued by the use of wooden barrels. To sample some fine Cachaça, look for the superb distilleries Germana and Abelha. We recommend you enjoy the aged varieties neat, whilst the tangier white Cachaça is best drunk in the aforementioned Caipirinha - a cocktail made simply with two shots of Cachaça, half a lime and a couple of teaspoons of sugar. Delicious!

Recently, rum has surged in popularity. Its regard as a fine cocktail mixer is good and widespread and a number of the world’s most popular drinks are rum-based - the Daiquiri and the Mojito being two prime examples. It is only recently, though, that our beloved rum has really been enjoyed en masse as a standalone beverage of true merit, and this new direction is excellent, for rum is as much a connoisseur’s libation as any other dark spirit. Like all dark spirits, a stemmed tulip glass is best for optimum palate entry and for focusing the aroma.

Rum

Share This!

The Hot Enough Vodka Co
Glenfarclas Whisky Distillery
St George Spirits
Batshit Mental Ideas
Yamazaki Whisky Distillery
Maple Whiskey Liqueur
8 year old Mauritian rum from the New Grove brand. Suited to slow sipping in the evening, with an ice cube or two if you're lucky enough to be enjoying this in Mauritius.  More info
$68.52
This is a blend of casks from two distilleries in Jamaica: Monymusk and Hampden. The latter distillery has Scottish roots, and is one of the oldest sugar plantations in the country. It has always been...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
$43.69
A white rum from the Martinique. This J Bally Blanc was distilled from fresh sugar cane juice in the rhum agricole style.  More info
$44.08
To create this expression, Plantation use multiple vintages of Trinidad rum and finish them in France using Cognac and Banyuls casks. 150 bottles were produced.  More info
$57.89
A 10 year old Mexican rum from Mocambo, presented in a bottle that might look a tiny little bit like an aftershave bottle. Rather fancy indeed.  More info
$55.72
El Ron Prohibido Rum
(70cl, 40%)
El Ron Prohibido, is a Mexican rum which is made of a blend of rums of different ages, blended with used raisin wine barrels - an intriguing choice that pays off with distinctive bitter-sweet notes...  More info
$42.75
Rhum J.M VSOP
(70cl, 43%)
Rhum agricole from Martinique, made by renowned distillers Rhum J.M., whom grow their own sugar cane for their spirits. The VSOP is a tasty expression which is matured for three years in re-charred...  More info
$76.29
A blended rum from 2001 - bottled by Duncan Taylor.  More info
$99.50
Appleton Estate created this as a great mixing rum. Classic White was a Gold Medal winner at the 1998 International Wine and Spirits Competition.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
$26.90
An oft unseen member of the Havana Club family of rums, the Añejo Reserva is a rather spicy little number, with a subtle sweetness shining beneath the vivid surface.  More info
$42.88
Good gosh, this Brugal rum has an absolutely stunning ruby glow to it! The Brugal 1888 is twice distilled and matured in American white oak casks before enjoying a finishing period in European...  More info
$76.73
Dzama 3 Year Old Rhum
(70cl, 52%)
Dzama Rhum is made on the exotic island of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. This rum has been aged for three years before it was bottled. It has a stunningly full palate of candied orange peel, coffee...  More info
$63.32
Made with a blend of 6 rums which have been aged between 8 and 30 years in a mix of new oak and ex-bourbon casks, La Mauny Extra Rubis is an extraordinary premium rum. It was produced in Martinique, a...  More info
$270.70
A rare and delicious 8 year old Rhum Agricole from the Martinique-based Trois Rivières. Very rich and evocative.  More info
$114.62
Guyana once had a rather bustling distillery community back in the day, but those days have sadly passed. However, don't be sad for too long, as Berry Bros. & Rudd can still get their hands on...  More info
$104.36
This is the New Grove Old Tradition 5 Year Old Rum, matured in a selection of French Limousin casks and port pipes. This Mauritian rum is suited to sipping neat or being used in a cocktail which calls...  More info
$49.72
This is a Caribbean rum bottled by Berry Brother and Rudd.  More info
$109.46
Ron Mulata is made exclusively from Cuban sugar cane syrup and matured only for a short time before being bottled. It's not long enough to give it a great deal of colour, but it does help mellow out...  More info
$40.96
From the Chairman's Reserve range comes the White Label rum, which was actually aged in American white oak barrels for two to four years. Afterwards, it was filtered to remove the colour, but not the...  More info
$31.66
Botran Reserva Blanca
(70cl, 40%)
Like Botran's other rums, the Reserva Blanca has been aged in a Solera system using ex-bourbon casks. However, after the maturation process, this expression has been charcoal filtered to remove the...  More info
$55.35
This is a light and mellow, gold medal winning white rum from Clarkes Court.  More info
$38.79
The distillers behind Ron Mulata only use Cuban sugar cane syrup to produce their fantastic rum. They also only use 180 litre white oak barrels to age it. This expression, for example, spent 7 long...  More info
$35.63
Ron Calados Dark Rum
(70cl, 37.70%)
Made from Caribbean rum, Ron Calados dark rum is a value for money mixing product.  More info
$26.90
A fascinating single cask rum distilled at the Uitvlught distillery in Guyana. It was matured for 16 years and bottled by Duncan Taylor in February 2014.  More info
$129.34
This is a half bottle of the very popular Captain Morgan Original - a blend of dark rums sourced from Guyana, Barbados and Jamaica, all of which are aged in oak casks for up to seven years.  More info
$16.10
Pages 12345678910 »

Recently viewed

We use cookies to help provide you with the best possible online shopping experience. By using this site, you agree that we may store and access cookies on your device.
Visit our privacy policy page for more information.

The prices currently being shown in USD are approximate, and should be used for illustrative purposes only. All prices are in GBP and all orders are charged in GBP. The order total – the amount you will actually be charged – will be displayed in GBP before you place your order. Click here to change your currency.
We Accept
Delivery Partners
Master of Malt supports responsible drinking - Sip, don't Gulp.
ATOM Supplies Ltd trading as Master of Malt. Registered office: North House, 198 High Street, Tonbridge, TN9 1BE. Registered in England & Wales. Company number 3193057, VAT number GB 662241553.