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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.

El Dorado 5 Year Old Gold Rum

70cl, 40%
El Dorado

A handsomely packaged, beautiful little rum from El Dorado (one of our all-time favourites when it comes to Rum). This 5 year old Gold rum is fruity, rich and intensely buttery, and we have a feeling…  More info

El Dorado 5 Year Old Gold Rum
1
$25.82

Takamaka Bay Overproof Rum

70cl, 72%
Takamaka Bay

This is Takamaka bay's Overproof Rum, distilled in the Seychelles. As ever with overproof spirits, this should be well-diluted before enjoying - it ought to work wonderfully in mixed drinks and…  More info

Takamaka Bay Overproof Rum
$43.65

Spirits of Old Man Rum Project One - Caribbean Rum

70cl, 40%
Spirits of Old Man

A blend of three aged Caribbean rums, including well aged and younger rum, from German bottler Spirits of Old Man. Very well presented.  More info

Spirits of Old Man Rum Project One - Caribbean Rum
$49.51

XM Supreme 15 Year Old Rum

70cl, 40%
Banks DIH

Guyanese demerara rum aged for 15 years, blended and bottled by Banks DIH.  More info

XM Supreme 15 Year Old Rum
$48.06

Mount Gay 1703

70cl, 43%
Mount Gay

A new and very exciting addition to the Mount Gay range. 1703 celebrates the foundation of the Barbados-based Mount Gay distillery, and it was created by Allen Smith, the master distiller. It…  More info

Mount Gay 1703
10
$122.87

Blue Mauritius Gold

70cl, 40%
Stanford Cove

Blue and gold, two colours that generally don't go together, but in Mauritius they go hand in hand. Blue seas and gold sands, they're a perfect match. Also, the Blue Mauritius Gold, a gorgeous rum…  More info

Blue Mauritius Gold
1
$54.59

Panama 11 Year Old Rum (Berry Bros & Rudd)

70cl, 46%
Berry Brothers and Rudd

This is a bottling of 11 year old rum from Panama in Central America. After it matured in oak for 11 years, developing rich wells of spice and golden syrup notes, Berry Bros. & Rudd decided it was…  More info

Panama 11 Year Old Rum (Berry Bros & Rudd)
$49.83

Chairman's Reserve White Label

70cl, 40%
St. Lucia Distillers

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

Chairman's Reserve White Label
$22.15

Dualist Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Dualist

Dualist Spiced Rum was created by a pair of Irish brothers - tasty in a mixed drink, cocktail or simply sipped over ice.  More info

Dualist Spiced Rum
1
$41.12

Dictador Insolent XO

70cl, 40%
Dictador

The Dictador Insolent XO Rum is produced in Columbia and aged in a selection of casks - ex-bourbon, ex-Sherry and Port casks were used to create this sweet, spicy, mocha-rich rum.  More info

Dictador Insolent XO
$85.96

Plantation Jamaica Rum 2001

70cl, 42%
Plantation

2001: A Rum Odyssey. This 2001 vintage Jamaican rum comes from pot stills and had a lengthy maturation before being bottled. Wonderfully spicy and succulent, with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and an…  More info

Plantation Jamaica Rum 2001
$41.04

Dictador Solera XO Perpetual

70cl, 40%
Dictador

A premium Columbian Solera rum from Dictador, complete with their European design and Japanese bottles. This XO release is aged in the finest oak casks and brought down to 40% abv with demineralised…  More info

Dictador Solera XO Perpetual
3
$82.40

Botran Solera 1893

70cl, 40%
Botran

A beautiful dark rum from Guatemala. Botran Solera 1893 is aged for around 5 to 18 years using the Solera method in casks that previously held sherry, port and bourbon. The rum itself is distilled…  More info

Botran Solera 1893
$49.72

Green Island Superior Light Rum

70cl, 40%
Green Island

A young, light rum from Green Island, a great producer of rum in Mauritius. This is distilled from molasses in a four column still, and the rum in the bottle is aged for between 3 and 5 years in oak.…  More info

Green Island Superior Light Rum
$27.52

Sailor Jerry 1.5l

150cl, 40%
Sailor Jerry

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

Sailor Jerry 1.5l
25
$44.47

El Dorado Rare Collection - Enmore 1993

70cl, 56.50%
El Dorado

The Enmore from El Dorado's Rare collection, distilled in 1993 and bottled in 2015. The Rare Collection shows off rum from three of Guyana's well-loved rum distilleries - Enmore, Versailles and Port…  More info

El Dorado Rare Collection - Enmore 1993
$197.82

Appleton Estate Classic White 40%

70cl, 40%
Appleton Estate

Made in Kingston, Jamaica, Appleton Estate Classic White rum is exactly that; a classic white rum. Perfect for mixing, it wouldn't go amiss in a Yellow Submarine or a traditional mojito.  More info

Appleton Estate Classic White 40%
$18.31

Old Monk Supreme XXX Rum

70cl, 42.80%
Mohan Meakin Brewery

A very handsomely presented, well-matured Indian rum from the Old Monk range, who do not advertise their brand - their reputation comes from word of mouth. This expression, on the older end of their…  More info

Old Monk Supreme XXX Rum
1
$44.30

Elements 8 Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Elements 8 Rum

This tasty spiced rum was launched during the Summer for 2010. Elements 8 combines top quality dark rum with lovely Caribbean spices, as well as fruit and honey. This stuff is aged in bourbon…  More info

Elements 8 Spiced Rum
1
$33.36

Ron de Jeremy Spiced Spirit Drink

70cl, 38%
Ron de Jeremy

A spiced variant on the rum created for the self-described "hardest working man in showbiz", Ron Jeremy. Ron de Jeremy Spiced Spiced Drink is made with Caribbean rum and a selection of spices,…  More info

Ron de Jeremy Spiced Spirit Drink
$37.32

Flor de Caña 7 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Flor de Caña

A great Nicaraguan rum from Flor de Caña. This 7 year old is great as a mixing rum, and it makes a fantastic cocktail. It is aged in 180 litre white oak barrels, which are only used once before…  More info

Flor de Caña 7 Year Old
1
$27.43

Stroh Inländer Rum - early 1980s

100cl, 80%
Stroh Inländer

A bottle of Stroh Inländer Rum, which we think was produced in the early 1980s, and bottled at an incredibly intense 80% ABV. Blimey.  More info

Stroh Inländer Rum - early 1980s
$158.30

Facundo NEO

70cl, 40%
Bacardi

A comforting premium rum from Bacardi's Facundo range, named after the company's founder. Rums aged up to 8 years are blended and then charcoal filtered to remove the colour for aged notes in a…  More info

Facundo NEO
$43.92

Mocambo 10 Year Old Cask Aged Mexican Rum

70cl, 40%
Licores Veracruz

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

Mocambo 10 Year Old Cask Aged Mexican Rum
$37.82

Kirk & Sweeney 12 Year Old

75cl, 45%
Kirk & Sweeney

A marvellous 12 year old rum from the Dominican Republic, aged in American oak casks. A gorgeous bottle, and a rum to match its gorgeousness.  More info

Kirk & Sweeney 12 Year Old
2
$54.92

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