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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, and results in a spirit typically around 40-50% ABV, or higher in the case of overproof rum. 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.

Burla Negra Rum

70cl, 40%
Burla Negra Rum

Burla Negra Rum is made with a blend of Caribbean rums, and finished in casks that previously held Albariño wine. This one's got a subtle saltiness to it, and that's not an accident. It's in…  More info

Burla Negra Rum
3
$35.29

Green Island Spiced Gold Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Green Island

A lovely spiced rum from Mauritius, Green Island Gold is fabulous in a Dirty Mojito!  More info

Green Island Spiced Gold Rum
3
$25.39

Sparrow's Premium Aged Rum

75cl, 40%
St. Vincent Distillers Ltd

Produced in Georgetown, St Vincent, Sparrow's is a tasty dark rum made from West Indian sugar cane and aged in oak barrels. Great value for money...  More info

Sparrow's Premium Aged Rum
8
$30.25

Don Q 151°

70cl, 75.5%
Don Q

A blend of aged Puerto Rican rum from Don Q, bottled at 75.5% ABV. Useful for cocktails and mixed drinks when used sparingly.  More info

Don Q 151°
$38.31

Askival Botanical Rum

70cl, 45%
Askival

Askival is a botanical rum from the Isle of Rùm in Scotland's Inner Hebrides. It's made with a blend of aged Caribbean rums, and infused with a selection of botanicals, including the likes of spruce,…  More info

Askival Botanical Rum
$40.29

TDL Fernandes 19 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)

50cl, 57.4%
Fernandes Distillers

That Boutique-y Rum Company has gone and bottled up its first batch of wonderful spirit from Fernandes Distillers over in Trinidad and Tobago! The multi-column still molasses rum was aged for just…  More info

TDL Fernandes 19 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)
$75.59

Twin Fin Coconut & Lychee Spiced Rum

70cl, 38%
Twin Fin

Created by Southwestern Distillery near Padstow in Cornwall, the folks behind Twin Fin Rum advise it is best enjoyed on the beach! Fine Caribbean rum is shipped to Cornwall and infused with coconut…  More info

Twin Fin Coconut & Lychee Spiced Rum
$25.70

Bacardi Carta Oro 40%

70cl, 40%
Bacardi

Bacardi is a world-class back-bar staple rum which was originally created in Cuba in the 1800s, though now produced in Puerto Rico. Bacardi Carta Oro is one of the most popular gold rums in the…  More info

Bacardi Carta Oro 40%
1
$21.67

Bullion Coconut Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Bullion Rum

Bullion's Coconut Spiced Rum combines a base of Guyanese rum with a selection of spices and natural coconut flavour. Layers of creamy coconut will lend a tropical twist to your cocktails, or try…  More info

Bullion Coconut Spiced Rum
$40.29

The Rum Discovery Box (10 x 50ml)

50cl, 42.9%
1423

If you fancy taking a voyage of discovery and you see yourself as a bit of a rum adventurer, this set is a superb tour for the tastebuds. Containing ten different 50ml samples, with expressions from…  More info

The Rum Discovery Box (10 x 50ml)
1
$60.50

Edinburgh Rum

70cl, 40%
Edinburgh Rum

It's a spiced rum from Edinburgh here, appropriately dubbed Edinburgh Rum and dressed up in tartan! A base of Caribbean rum was shipped to the Scottish capital, and treated to the infusion of vanilla…  More info

Edinburgh Rum
2
$30.19
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Takamaka Extra Noir

70cl, 43%
Takamaka Rum

A rather rich rum here from the Seychelles, produced by Takamaka. It's made with a blend of pot and column still molasses rums, with are soaked with French oak, and the pressed with the fines of more…  More info

Takamaka Extra Noir
$33.22
$30.19

Cut Smoked Rum

70cl, 40%
Cut Rum

Powerfully smoky rum from the Cut Rum range. Made with a base of Jamaican rum and smoked using oak chips, this will stand out in cocktails and might make for an intriguing alternative postprandial…  More info

Cut Smoked Rum
36
$26.01

RedLeg Tropical Rum

70cl, 37.5%
RedLeg

The award-winning RedLeg Spiced Rum is infused with mango, guava, and passion fruit to create this great value and tasty tropical edition.  More info

RedLeg Tropical Rum
$22.18

YD Spiced Golden Rum

70cl, 40%
Yorkshire Dales Distillery

This isn't the first rum we've seen from the Yorkshire Dales Distillery, though it is the first spiced rum! The golden rum is packed full of warming spices for a smooth and aromatic spirit, great for…  More info

YD Spiced Golden Rum
$25.16

SAINT OGUN RUM

70cl, 40%
SAINT OGUN

SAINT OGUN is made using a blend of rums from five different distilleries in three different countries – Barbados, Guyana, and Jamaica. Both column and pot still rums are featured here, making for a…  More info

SAINT OGUN RUM
5
$38.27
Best Seller

Black Magic Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Sazerac

Black Magic Spiced Rum is a blend of light and dark rums, along with a secret recipe of spices, which help to bolster the rum's flavour profile. Expect big ol' helpings of vanilla, cherry, runny…  More info

Black Magic Spiced Rum
27
$23.45

The Real McCoy 14 Year Old Limited Edition

70cl, 46%
The Real McCoy

Fabulous 14 year old Foursquare rum here, bottled up as a limited edition for The Real McCoy range! Made from a blend of copper column and pot still rums, matured in bourbon barrels, this is a real…  More info

The Real McCoy 14 Year Old Limited Edition
$77.60

Skipper Demerara Rum

70cl, 40%
Skipper

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

Skipper Demerara Rum
9
$23.63

Scratch Patience Rum

70cl, 42%
Scratch

British rum, distilled in Hertfordshire by the folks at Scratch Rum; a great deal of patience has gone into this one! The rum is double distilled, spending time in whisky casks between distillations,…  More info

Scratch Patience Rum
$47.35

Australia 2007 - 1423 Single Barrel Selection

70cl, 55%
1423

It's 1423's very first rum bottling from Down Under! This molasses rum was pot distilled in Australia in 2007, and rested in a bourbon barrel until it was independently bottled in February 2020. Just…  More info

Australia 2007 - 1423 Single Barrel Selection
$115.97

Appleton Estate 8 Year Old Reserve

70cl, 43%
Appleton Estate

An excellent 8 year old Jamaican rum from the Appleton Estate, boasting waves of runny honey, toffee, oak spice and hints of caramelised nuts. Terrific value for money, and more than suitable for…  More info

Appleton Estate 8 Year Old Reserve
8
$27.69

El Dorado 3 Year Old White Rum

70cl, 40%
El Dorado

An award winning rum; this took a silver at the 2006 and 2007 International Wine and Spirits Competitions. This also attained a Gold at the International Review of Spirits. A great mixing rum, very…  More info

El Dorado 3 Year Old White Rum
9
$23.09

Foursquare 11 Year Old 2010 Barbados Edition No. 18 - The Colours of Rum (Wealth Solutions)

70cl, 61.1%
Foursquare

This rum from Foursquare distillery in Barbados was distilled in 2010, and matured for 11 years in a single cask before being bottled in 2022 for The Colours of Rum series by indie bottler, Wealth…  More info

Foursquare 11 Year Old 2010 Barbados Edition No. 18 - The Colours of Rum (Wealth Solutions)
$85.72

Signature Blend #2 (That Boutique-y Rum Company)

70cl, 42%
That Boutique-y Rum Company

Here's the second Signature Blend from That Boutique-y Rum Company, and this stuff makes a mouthwatering Mai-Tai! Developed with Pete Holland (who you'll know from The Floating Rum Shack), this…  More info

Signature Blend #2 (That Boutique-y Rum Company)
$31.21
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