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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.

Best Seller

Alnwick Rum

70cl, 43%
Alnwick Rum

Alnwick is a bold, spicy dark rum, perfect for making a big impression in cocktails and mixed drinks. Based on a recipe which was first created over 90 years ago in Northumberland, Alnwick rum is…  More info

Alnwick Rum
9
$30.77

Admiral Rodney Rum - HMS Princessa

70cl, 40%
St. Lucia Distillers

The Admiral Rodney rum range from St. Lucia Distillers was inspired by the naval victory of Admiral George Rodney, who ensured British domination of the Caribbean after he defeated the French at…  More info

Admiral Rodney Rum - HMS Princessa
1
$50.70

Angostura 7 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Angostura

A blend of aged rums, matured in bourbon barrels before undergoing filtration. This is a continuous-still rum from Trinidad and Tobago's famed Angostura company.  More info

Angostura 7 Year Old
9
$29.44

Diplomático No.1 Batch Kettle Rum - Distillery Collection

70cl, 47%
Diplomático

The first release in Diplomático's Distillery Collection, which gives light to the selection of stills utilised to make their ace expressions. This particular expression showcases the batch kettle…  More info

Diplomático No.1 Batch Kettle Rum - Distillery Collection
1
$64.67

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
1
$51.68
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Ron Elixir Orange - Compañero (1423)

70cl, 40%
1423

A lip-smacking expression from 1423's Compañero range, based around rum from Trinidad and flavoured with plenty of orange alongside various tropical deliciousness. Well suited to enjoying alongside…  More info

Ron Elixir Orange - Compañero (1423)
6
$46.51
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Best Seller

Copeland Smugglers Reserve Overproof Rum

70cl, 57.2%
Copeland

It turns out those Copeland folks don't just do gin, but fabulous rum too! This is Smugglers Reserve Overproof Rum which is double pot distilled and matured in both bourbon and Pinot Noir casks. It…  More info

Copeland Smugglers Reserve Overproof Rum
9
$46.51

Plantation Stiggins' Fancy Smoky Formula

70cl, 40%
Plantation

A smoky variation of Plantation's Stiggins' Fancy, which is made with delicious rum, infused with Victoria pineapple, and now given a finishing period in Teeling Blackpitts casks, a peated Irish…  More info

Plantation Stiggins' Fancy Smoky Formula
$43.40

Chamarel Premium Gold Rum

70cl, 42%
La Rhumerie de Chamarel

Aged for 18 months in oak barrels, this Mauritian gold rum from the Rhumerie de Chamarel is made from pure cane juice, using sugar cane grown in the fields surrounding the distillery. The quality of…  More info

Chamarel Premium Gold Rum
9
$35.95
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Dictador 22 Year Old 1998 Capitulo Uno Port Cask

70cl, 42%
Dictador

This wonderful expression from Dictador was distilled in 1998 and matured for 22 years in a Port cask, before bottling in 2020 with a total of 900 bottles produced. Overseen by master blender Hernan…  More info

Dictador 22 Year Old 1998 Capitulo Uno Port Cask
$134.46

Golden Buck Rum

70cl, 40%
Loaded Spirits

A rich expression here, Golden Buck's dark rum base has been infused with cherry and vanilla! Creamy, fruity and tropical, an intriguing twist on a classic rum. It makes for a rather tasty Espresso…  More info

Golden Buck Rum
46
$30.99

Ancient Mariner 16 Year Old Navy Rum

50cl, 54%
Ancient Mariner

Daily Tots were issued by the Royal Navy for hundred of years, up until July 1970 when they were removed. Ancient Mariner was made with the rum used by the Royal Navy in mind. To revive the classic…  More info

Ancient Mariner 16 Year Old Navy Rum
3
$139.64

Mezan Jamaica XO Rum

70cl, 40%
Mezan

This is a blend of casks from two distilleries in Jamaica: Monymusk and Hampden. The latter distillery has Scottish roots, and is one of the oldest sugar plantations in the country. It has always…  More info

Mezan Jamaica XO Rum
14
$38.22

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
$25.82

Ninefold Cask Aged Pure Single Rum

70cl, 45%
Ninefold

A Scottish aged rum from Ninefold! Pot distilled and then matured for a minimum of one year in American oak barrels, this rum has plenty of soft caramel and warm spice notes. Sip it neat if you like,…  More info

Ninefold Cask Aged Pure Single Rum
$44.49

Welsh Witch Spiced Rum

50cl, 40%
Welsh Witch

The folks at Welsh Witch took inspiration from their roots in North Wales when creating this spiced rum, as with plenty of dried fruit in the mix, this is sweet and spicy stuff, just like the Welsh…  More info

Welsh Witch Spiced Rum
1
$37.25

Diamond Distillery Port Mourant Pot Still Rum 11 Year Old 2008 (Master of Malt)

70cl, 50%
Diamond Distillery

We've polished up a real diamond here to join our own collection of splendid bottlings. No really – this superb rum hails from Guyana's Diamond distillery! Produced in April 2008 in the distillery's…  More info

Diamond Distillery Port Mourant Pot Still Rum 11 Year Old 2008 (Master of Malt)
1
$46.51

Twin Fin Spiced Golden Rum

70cl, 38%
Twin Fin

From the very same people in Cornwall behind the Tarquin's Gin range comes Twin Fin Spiced Golden Rum! This expression brings together pot-still rum from Jamaica and column-still rum from the…  More info

Twin Fin Spiced Golden Rum
24
$26.37

Secret Grenadian Distillery 21 Year Old 1998 (Master of Malt)

70cl, 52.3%
Master of Malt

Long ago, a group of Grenadian fishermen drifted off course and found themselves marooned at low tide on an unchartered, unknown bay. They spotted smoke in the distance, and as they approached, the…  More info

Secret Grenadian Distillery 21 Year Old 1998 (Master of Malt)
$82.74

Neptune Rum Caribbean Spiced

70cl, 37.5%
Neptune Rum

By Neptune's beard - it's Neptune Rum Caribbean Spiced! Yes, we know we made that joke the last time, but we're sticking with it. Anyway, this spiced variation of Neptune Rum has been infused with…  More info

Neptune Rum Caribbean Spiced
4
$25.68

Secret Distillery #1 6 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)

50cl, 51.5%
That Boutique-y Rum Company

It's the second batch of dark rum from an undisclosed Jamaican distillery to be bottled by That Boutique-y Rum Company, and this time it's a 6 year old expression full of toffee-drenched fruit and…  More info

Secret Distillery #1 6 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)
2
$34.10

Drum & Black Spiced Rum

50cl, 42%
Drum & Black

Drum & Black Spiced Rum is based around a triple-distilled spirit, complemented by ingredients from around the world. This includes coffee from Kenya, vanilla and cinnamon from India, orange from…  More info

Drum & Black Spiced Rum
16
$38.23
Best Seller

Kiyomi Japanese Rum

70cl, 40%
Kiyomi

We're always intrigued when we get to try rums from countries that you don't immediately think of as places where rum is often produced. We've got one here from Japan, for example – Kiyomi Japanese…  More info

Kiyomi Japanese Rum
$49.61

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
$41.34

House of Rum Diablo Aged Rum

70cl, 43%
House of Rum

Devilishly good rum from House of Rum! The Diablo Aged Rum combines matured pot still Jamaican rum and matured column still Trinidadian rum into one delicious tipple, perfect for sipping over ice…  More info

House of Rum Diablo Aged Rum
$50.70

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