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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. 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.

Compagnie Des Indes Rum Caraibes

70cl, 40%
Compagnie Des Indes

A blend of rums (the French label says "rhum", but this is molasses rum) from Guyana, Trinidad and Barbados, presented by Compagnie Des Indes. These have been aged between 3 to 5 years in American…  More info

Compagnie Des Indes Rum Caraibes
$41.03

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%
$26.85

New Grove Solera 25 Year Old Rum

70cl, 40%
Grays

Solera-aged rum from Mauritius, distilled for the New Grove brand of tasty rums. This limited edition bottling is made using rums aged for at least 25 years, expertly blended to produce a rich,…  More info

New Grove Solera 25 Year Old Rum
1
$193.04

Mount Gilboa

70cl, 40%
Mount Gilboa

This is triple distilled in pot stills at the same distillery in Barbados that makes Mount Gay. A wonderfully refined, characterful rum.  More info

Mount Gilboa
1
$51.15

St Aubin Natural Spices Rhum Agricole

50cl, 40%
St Aubin

From the artisan St Aubin distillery on the island of Mauritius comes this spiced Thum Agricole, made using sugar cane juice as opposed to molasses, which is what you would find in most other spiced…  More info

St Aubin Natural Spices Rhum Agricole
$30.74

Sweden Rock Holy Spirit Gold Label Rum

70cl, 37.50%
Herman Jansen

Holy Spirit Gold Label is an aged rum from Barbados, released by the chaps behind the Sweden Rock Festival. Plenty of creamy vanilla, tropical fruit and a touch of chocolate - enjoy in a cocktail,…  More info

Sweden Rock Holy Spirit Gold Label Rum
$47.85

Bacardi Carta Blanca Rum

70cl, 37.50%
Bacardi

A white rum which needs very little introduction, Bacardi's Carta Blanca is incredible popular indeed, seen on backbars around the world. The Bacardi brand originated in Cuba, and the first…  More info

Bacardi Carta Blanca Rum
$22.56

New Grove Oak Aged Rum

70cl, 40%
Grays

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…  More info

New Grove Oak Aged Rum
$36.59

Foursquare 2004 (bottled 2013) - Bristol Spirits

70cl, 43%
Foursquare

This Bristol Spirits bottling, comes from the Foursquare distillery (nothing to do with the app) in Barbados. It was distilled in 2004 and left to mature until 2013, when it was bottled at 43% ABV.…  More info

Foursquare 2004 (bottled 2013) - Bristol Spirits
$62.51

Atlantico Rum Platino

70cl, 40%
Atlantico

A Blanco bottling from Atlantico. Great in all manner of Rum cocktails.  More info

Atlantico Rum Platino
$32.18

Tiburón Rum

75cl, 40%
Tiburón Rum

Tiburón Rum comes to us from Belize, and is made with a blend of aged rums which are treated to a second maturation in Kentucky oak bourbon barrels. Rich and sweet with plenty of vanilla caramel and…  More info

Tiburón Rum
5
$44.15

La Bourdonnaise 5 Year Old - Bristol Spirits

70cl, 43%
La Bourdonnaise

5 year old Mauritian rum matured in an ex-Sherry cask before being bottled by Bristol Spirits in 2015.  More info

La Bourdonnaise 5 Year Old - Bristol Spirits
$49.44

Soldiers Bay Silver Rum

70cl, 40%
Soldiers Bay

Soldiers Bay is a white rum from the last distillery remaining on the island of Antigua, in the West Indies. Suitable for all manner of rum-based cocktails, particularly the Daiquiri.  More info

Soldiers Bay Silver Rum
$32.25

Flamboyant Vieux Rum

70cl, 40%
International Distillers Mauritius

Produced in Mauritius, Flamboyant Vieux Rum is a blended expression that has been aged in oak casks for 7 years in ex-bourbon barrels before being bottled. The rum gets its name from the tree on the…  More info

Flamboyant Vieux Rum
$38.85

Legendario Carta Blanca Superior

70cl, 40%
Legendario

An elegantly flavoursome rum which spends a short time in oak casks to develop its flavour profile. Part of the Legendario range of Cuban rums.  More info

Legendario Carta Blanca Superior
$31.92

English Spirit Spiced English Rum

50cl, 42%
English Vodka Company

A vibrant English Spiced rum from the chaps behind Dr. J's Gin, made in "exceedingly small" batches using their Old Salt Rum as well as fresh lemon zest, cardamom, chilli, ginger and English honey.…  More info

English Spirit Spiced English Rum
$36.21

Plantation Nicaragua 2003

70cl, 42%
Plantation

2003 vintage Nicaraguan rum, matured for 9 years before enjoying a brandy cask finish. Complex and intriguing with sweet floral touches and notes of cashew nut and tropical fruits. Part of the top…  More info

Plantation Nicaragua 2003
$40.64

Black Stripe White Rum

75cl, 40%
Black Stripe

Black Stripe is a white rum which has been made by blending Canadian and imported rums. Following this, it is allowed to age briefly before being filtered to remove the colour. Comes in a rather…  More info

Black Stripe White Rum
$47.69

The Real McCoy 12 Year Old

75cl, 40%
Foursquare

The 12 year old Real McCoy rum, matured in heavily charred bourbon barrels. Rich and oak-y, with bundles of Christmas cake, Demerara sugar and pipe tobacco notes. The 'Real McCoy' name is based on…  More info

The Real McCoy 12 Year Old
$52.90

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
$41.59

Clarke's Court Pure Jab White Rum

75cl, 55%
Clarke's Court

Over proof white rum from Clarke's Court in Grenada, presented in a plastic bottle. At 55% ABV, this would be well suited to use in cocktails and mixed drinks.  More info

Clarke's Court Pure Jab White Rum
$41.41

Diamond Distillery 2002 (cask 6) Guyana Single Barrel Rum - The Rum Swedes (Svenska Eldvatten)

70cl, 61%
Diamond Distillery

Guyanese rum from the Diamond distillery using their Port Mourant wooden double pot still. The rum was distilled in 2002 and matured in a bourbon barrel until 2013 when it was bottled by the Rum…  More info

Diamond Distillery 2002 (cask 6) Guyana Single Barrel Rum  - The Rum Swedes (Svenska Eldvatten)
1
$94.88

Ron Calados Dark Rum

70cl, 37.50%
Ron Calados

Made from Caribbean rum, Ron Calados dark rum is a value for money mixing product.  More info

Ron Calados Dark Rum
$17.67

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)
$61.83

Glen's Dark Rum

70cl, 37.50%
Glen Catrine Distillers

Glen's Dark Rum. Yep. All the way from the West Indies.  More info

Glen's Dark Rum
$20.05

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