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!

Tasting Sets
Ardbeg Whisky Distillery
The Lost Distilleries Blend
Monkey Shoulder Whisky
Kentucky Oak Barrels
Professor Cornelius Ampleforth
Rhum J.M Gold
(70cl, 50%)
Rhum agricole from Martinique, aged in oak casks for at least 12 months.  More info
$60.54
Angostura Reserva
(70cl, 37.50%)
3 year old white rum from Trinidad, this is distilled in Angostura's 5-column still, and is aged in American oak bourbon barrels.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
$31.62
A handsome gift pack of Matusalem 15 Gran Reserve Dominican rum, aged in a Solera system for an average 15 years, along with a branded glass and a spherical ice mould, lovely for keeping the sweet...  More info
$49.91
Deep, intense rum from Venezuelan producer Pampero. Superb sipping rum.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
$32.23
La Mauny 1749 Ambré is an aged Rhum Agricole from Martinique, an island in the Caribbean. 1749 Ambré is matured for at least 12 months before it is bottled.  More info
$43.32
Rebellion Ron Blanco Rum
(70cl, 37.50%)
Rebellion Blanco is a superb white rum from Trinidad rum with a wonderfully crisp, fruity palate.  More info
$34.01
From Dictador distillers in Colombia comes a rum which has been aged for 100 months in ex-bourbon barrels before being filtered though Arabica coffee beans - one of Colombia's many well know goods...  More info
$75.66
This is a white rum from Diplomático which is a blend of rums up to six years old that have been distilled in copper pot stills then filtered through charcoal. This is a truly premium product.  More info
$46.60
A beautifully presented 12 year old Martinique rhum agricole (made from cane juice) from Rum Nation. Wicked skills.  More info
$147.05
Ron Pampero Blanco Rum
(70cl, 37.50%)
A crisp, fruity white rum produced in Venezuela by Ron Pampero. Aged for at least 2 years (as is the law in the country for all rum), this is a smooth, premium spirit which works well in cocktails, or...  More info
$29.42
One of a trio of single barrel rums from El Dorado, the PM edition comes from the Port Mourant distillery. Specifically, this rum comes from the wooden pot still at Port Mourant, which is the last...  More info
$117.47
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
$74.72
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
Westerhall Superb Light Rum, made in Grenada, in the West Indies, and it's, well, superb!  More info
$33.17
A limited edition rum produced by Banks, which includes rums from Jamaica and Guyana. The Endeavour is named after the famous J-Class yacht and is the first in a new limited edition series of...  More info
$507.73
Clément VSOP
(70cl, 40%)
Clément VSOP is a rhum agricole, matured for a year in virgin French oak barrels, before a three maturation in re-charred bourbon barrels. This was awarded a Gold by the Beverage Tasting Institute and...  More info
$67.22
Jack Iron is a light-coloured, overproof rum from the Westerhall Estate in St David's, Grenada. It is made to a secret recipe and is intended as a mixing rum.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$57.54
Virgin Gorda Rum
(70cl, 40%)
When you hear a name like The Poshmakers, you can't help but be worried there's a top hat or an ironic joke about the upper class on the way. Luckily for everyone involved, they're actually a fabulous...  More info
$64.41
Interesting spiced rum from Colombian distillers, Dictador. They use an aged rum as a base, one that has been aged for 100 months (or 8.33333... years, if you prefer) in ex-bourbon casks before...  More info
$75.66
FAIR. 5 Year Old Rum
(70cl, 40%)
5 year old rum made exclusively using Fair Trade certified sugar cane from Belize and matured in Kentucky bourbon barrels before being shipped out to France to be bottled. Made by FAIR., whom created...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$50.34
From the beautiful Island of Mauritius, all the way out in the Indian Ocean, comes the cracking New Grove Oak Aged Rum. A spicy, sensual blend of rums aged between 1 and 15 years. Perfect on ice for a...  More info
$47.27
Diplomático Añejo
(70cl, 40%)
A supple, medium bodied rum from Diplomático, this Añejo is a blend of both continuous and pot still rums and is aged for around 4 years.  More info
$35.70
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
In the whisky world, the angels take their share of whisky from the casks maturing it. In the Caribbean, it's the mischievous Duppy spirits that travel from island to island, taking their share of rum...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.0/5)
$46.01
Single estate Mauritian white rum, made from sugar cane juice rather than molasses. Although unaged, it is regularly stirred in stainless steel vats for at least six months prior to bottling, a...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$42.10
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.