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!

Worship Street Whistling Shop
Mature Your Own Kit
Yamazaki Whisky Distillery
Glenmorangie Whisky Distillery
The Lost Distilleries Blend
Spirit of Hven Distillery
An 8 year old rum from the Colombian brand, Ron Viejo De Caldas. It spends 8 years maturing in used bourbon barrels before it's bottled. While it has been bottled at 37.5% ABV, it still shows off a...  More info
$46.62
15 year old Ron Zacapa, blended in a Solera system. For the 15 year old edition, they've used a mix of Pedro Ximenez and bourbon casks. Another ridiculously tasty Guatemalan rum from the talented Ron...  More info
$82.61
A firm favourite here at the Master of Malt, this is a truly superb Guatemalan rum, blended using the solera system. Sublime stuff. This was matured in a mix of bourbon and sherry casks. The Beverage...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$73.22
The stunning special release from Zacapa. This Guatemalan classic won Gold at the International Rum Festival, and won the Platinum award in the Super-Premium category in 2002. This is an incredible...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$136.63
8 Year old Bajan rum from Rum Nation, 2002 vintage.  More info
$73.35
A 1989 vintage of Rum Nation's 23 year old rum. A thick, well-aged treat of a single domaine rum with notes of leather and treacle.  More info
$184.24
Panamanian rum from top bottler Rum Nation. Superb stuff.  More info
$85.89
Rum Sixty Six Family Reserve was originally just that, a rum reserved for the family! Luckily for us the Seale family, five generations of whom have produced rum at the Foursquare distillery, chose to...  More info
$55.37
Rumbullion!
(70cl, 42.60%)
A sure-fire hit from Professor Cornelius Ampleforth, Rumbullion! is a cockle-warming spiced concoction, based on the kind of rich, full-bodied rums the seafaring fraternity would have enjoyed...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$53.04
Professor Cornelius Ampleforth took his famous Rumbullion! and bottled it at Navy Strength to create a much much bigger drink. This is a warming concoction that would no doubt give a sailor vim and...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$73.35
Just when you thought Rumbullion! and Rumbullion! Navy-Strength couldn't be beat, Professor Cornelius Ampleforth emerges from his laboratory with 'Rumbullion! XO 15 Years Old'. Once again, it's a...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$93.66
When you think of rum, what's the first country that comes to mind? That's right, Japan! Well that's exactly where this Ryoma 7 year old rum is from. The sugarcane used to make the Ryoma is grown by...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$105.12
Sailor Jerry
(70cl, 40%)
A spiced rum created by the famed tattoo artist 'Sailor Jerry' Collins. This is perhaps our favourite spiced rum, makes an incredible spiced mojito! The recipe was recently changed, and made slightly...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (2.0/5)
$29.60
Sailor Jerry 1.5l
(150cl, 40%)
The eponymous spiced rum named for Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins, a world famous tattoo artists who created the recipe whilst working at sea.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (1.0/5)
$63.19
Saint James Impérial is a very fresh and tangy white rhum agricole from Martinique, perfect in a Planters Punch on a hot summer's day...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.0/5)
$31.28
Santa Teresa 1796 is a blend of Venezuelan rums, vatted using the solera system, blended from rums aged between 8 and 12 years of age. After blending it is aged for a further year in bourbon barrels...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$62.26
Añejo Gran Reserva is a superb Venezuelan rum aged in oak for up to 5 years. Santa Teresa recommend this in cocktails, and it is notable for its delicious aroma.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$30.07
The oldest rum in the Santa Teresa catalogue, Bicentenario A.J. Vollmer is made with very old Venezuelan rums. It is named in honour of Alberto J Vollmer, who founded the brand.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$196.45
Santa Teresa Claro
(70cl, 40%)
A Venezuelan white rum aged in American white oak for around 3 years. Santa Teresa Claro offers plenty of fruity notes, and is great in cocktails.  More info
$27.85
Venezuelan rum from Santa Teresa, this is a blend of rums aged for between 3 and 9 years. Ron Selecto makes a cracking Mojito…  More info
$36.62
A very hard-to-find bottle of white rum from the 1970s. This comes from Leon, Spain.  More info
$149.98
Skipper Demerara Rum
(70cl, 40%)
A delicious dark rum distilled in Guyana, Skipper was launched in 1930 and it still has the same label! A rich, thick spirit which works brilliantly well in cocktails, or with cola and a squeeze of...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$28.18
Smatt's Silver Rum
(70cl, 40%)
Perhaps the first 'super-premium' white rum from Jamaican producer Smatt. Think Grey Goose Vodka, Junipero Gin - that kind of super-premium. Jolly nice.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$51.29
A Navy Strength edition of the classic Smith and Cross Jamaica rum, this stuff is beautiful for sipping neat, and works tremendously well with a couple of ice cubes and a squeeze of lime juice.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
$49.74
Soldiers Bay is a white rum from the last distillery remaining on the island of Antigua, in the West Indies. Suitable for all manner of rum-based cocktails, particularly the Daiquiri.  More info
$41.68

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.