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Rum

Popular Rum Types: Dark Rum | White Rum | Spiced 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.

Matusalem Solera 7 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Matusalem

A seven year old 'Solera' rum from Dominican producer Matusalem. Great in cocktails, but more than good enough to be sipped.  More info

Matusalem Solera 7 Year Old
1
$23.35

NV Caribbean Rhum

70cl, 40%
NV Spirits

The Envy & NV range expanded in 2016 from one Absinthe to a number of different spirits, including this Caribbean white molasses rhum!  More info

NV Caribbean Rhum
$19.07

Pumpkin Face 23

75cl, 40%
Pumpkin Face

Well aged rum from the Dominican Republic, released as part of the Pumpkin Face! It was distilled in 1980, aged in oak casks for 23 years and also spent 10 years resting in stainless steel vats…  More info

Pumpkin Face 23
$67.46

Plantation Original Dark Double Aged

70cl, 40%
Plantation

The Original Dark expression from Plantation has had a little bit of a revamp! It's now made with aged rum from Trinidad and Jamaica, which then blended together and aged further in Cognac casks,…  More info

Plantation Original Dark Double Aged
1
$27.14

Old Monk XXX Gold Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Mohan Meakin Brewery

What's this monk looking so happy about? Gold rum from the Mohan Meakin distillery in India, where their Old Monk range is hugely popular. Great for mixed drinks.  More info

Old Monk XXX Gold Rum
$19.68

Saint James Reserve

70cl, 43%
Saint James

6 to 10 year old rhum agricole made from cane juice at Saint James in Martinique!  More info

Saint James Reserve
$19.39

FAIR. Rum XO Gold Label Acacia Cask Finish (La Maison du Whisky 60th Anniversary)

70cl, 46%
FAIR.

A well-aged rum from the FAIR. range, which is based around Fair-Trade spirits. The rum itself was distilled in Belize and has been finished in a Acacia casks! It was released as part of La Maison du…  More info

FAIR. Rum XO Gold Label Acacia Cask Finish (La Maison du Whisky 60th Anniversary)
$108.52

Banks 7 Island Rum

70cl, 43%
Banks

This is a follow-up to the successful Banks 5 Island Rum which is a blend of rums from five Caribbean islands, the Banks 7 Islands is unsurprisingly a blend of rums from seven Caribbean islands.…  More info

Banks 7 Island Rum
$46.25

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
$45.40

Red Bonny Dark Rum

70cl, 40%
Red Bonny

Red Bonny is a blend of rums from Guyana, aged for at least 3 years. It's named after Anne Bonny, a red-headed Irish woman and famous pirate who lived an extraordinary life full of adventure…  More info

Red Bonny Dark Rum
$25.40

Ron Barceló Gran Platinum

70cl, 37.5%
Ron Barceló

The Gran Platinum rum from Dominican Republic producer Ron Barceló is made with rum aged in bourbon barrels, which is then filtered to remove the colour, but not the flavour. The result is rich in…  More info

Ron Barceló Gran Platinum
$20.71

Watson's Trawler Rum 35cl

35cl, 40%
Watson's

A blended rum with spirit from Guyana and Barbados and a seal of approval winner at the 1997 International Spirits Challenge.  More info

Watson's Trawler Rum 35cl
$9.30

Doorlys 3 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Doorly's

This white rum from the Foursquare distillery in Barbados is perfect for a variety of rum-based cocktails.  More info

Doorlys 3 Year Old
$23.19

Bermudez 1852 Aniversario

70cl, 40%
Bermudez

A fantastic Dominican rum aged for 12 years and only bottled once a year! The packaging harks back to a previous age, like an old Cognac, whilst the rum itself is a rich and deep amber colour…  More info

Bermudez 1852 Aniversario
$31.11

Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva Gift Pack With Two Glasses

70cl, 40%
Diplomático

A neat gift set of a 70cl bottle of Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva, a yummy, award-winning Venezuelan rum matured in whiskey barrels, and two branded glasses for enjoying said rum from.  More info

Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva Gift Pack With Two Glasses
$51.76

Ron Quorhum 12 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Oliver & Oliver

12 year old rum from the Dominican Republic, released under the Ron Quorhum brand by Oliver & Oliver. A sweet, subtly herbal expression, packed with notes of caramel, liquorice and oak-y resin.  More info

Ron Quorhum 12 Year Old
$38.65

Clément Rhum Agricole - 125th Anniversary Edition by JonOne

70cl, 40%
Clément

A special edition of four year old Rhum Agricole, produced by Martinique distillers, Clément, in celebration of their 125th anniversary. The bottle was designed by famous street artist JonOne and is…  More info

Clément Rhum Agricole - 125th Anniversary Edition by JonOne
$51.54

Ron Centenario 20

70cl, 40%
Centenario International

Costa Rican rum aged for up to 20 years in a solera system of American oak barrels. Produced by Centenario Internacional whose rums weren't available outside of Costa Rica until 2007!  More info

Ron Centenario 20
$57.00

Gold of Mauritius Dark Rum

70cl, 40%
Gold of Mauritius

Gold! Always believe in your rum! We're pretty sure that's not how the song goes, but never mind, here's some very tasty rum from Mauritius! Gold of Mauritius matures in South African fortified wine…  More info

Gold of Mauritius Dark Rum
10
$44.24

Bacardi Carta Blanca 1.5l

150cl, 37.5%
Bacardi

A 1.5 litre bottling of the one of the world's best-selling spirits! Bacardi was first created in Cuba but moved to Puerto Rico rather than face nationalisation. Thanks to its stint in Cuba, the…  More info

Bacardi Carta Blanca 1.5l
$50.20

Westerhall No.3 Rum

70cl, 40%
Westerhall

The entry-level expression from Westerhall Estate's range, which was redesigned in mid-2016, is their Westerhall Rum No.3 (which replaces the Westerhall Superb Light). An elegant, sweet rum from…  More info

Westerhall No.3 Rum
$24.87

Rives Conde De Cuba

70cl, 37.5%
Rives

A dark Caribbean rum from Spanish producer, Rives. Expet notes of caramel, vanilla toffees and a waft of floral fragrance.  More info

Rives Conde De Cuba
$24.10

Rum Hispaniola Gran Añejo

70cl, 40%
Mardi S.A

Rum Hispaniola Gran Añejo comes to us from the Dominican Republic, and is rather good for giving those rum-based cocktails that you're such a fan of a kick of toffee, oak and chocolate-coated nut…  More info

Rum Hispaniola Gran Añejo
$26.12

Mezan Guyana Diamond 2005 Rum

70cl, 40%
Diamond Distillery

A 2005 vintage rum from the well-known Diamond distillery in Guyana, independently bottled by Mezan. Full of yummy herbaceous notes alongside light hints of banana and a touch of oak spice.  More info

Mezan Guyana Diamond 2005 Rum
$35.89

Appleton Estate Special Gold

70cl, 40%
Appleton Estate

Appleton Estate Gold is a special blend of rums distilled in pot and column stills. These are matured separately before being hand-blended. This is aged in refill Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey…  More info

Appleton Estate Special Gold
3
$17.61

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