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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.

Clément 11 Year Old 2004 (cask 20030074) - Single Cask

50cl, 42.80%
Clément

A single cask rhum agricole from Martinican producers, Clément. This 11 year old rhum was drawn from cask #20030074, which was filled in April 2004 and bottled in May 2015 with an outturn of 557…  More info

Clément 11 Year Old 2004 (cask 20030074) - Single Cask
$65.45

Rhum de Père Labat 8 Year Old Tres Vieux

70cl, 42%
Rhum de Père Labat

Distilled for the Rhum de Père Labat on the island of Marie-Galante, just south of Guadeloupe, this rhum agricole spends 8 years maturing in oak before it is bottled. Rich, simmering spices abound!…  More info

Rhum de Père Labat 8 Year Old Tres Vieux
$101.69

Ron Cartavio Silver

70cl, 40%
Destilerias Unidas

This is the Silver expression of Peruvian rum from Ron Cartavio, matured in oak barrels for 2 years. However, as it's a clear rum, it's well suited to cocktails and mixed drinks.  More info

Ron Cartavio Silver
$23.25

Trois Rivières 8 Year Old Rum

70cl, 42%
Trois Rivieres

A rare and delicious 8 year old Rhum Agricole from the Martinique-based Trois Rivières. Very rich and evocative.  More info

Trois Rivières 8 Year Old Rum
$79.38

Ron Dominicano Relicario

70cl, 40%
Ron Dominicano

Superb rum from the Dominican Republic, with a very handsome bottle and wonderfully full-bodied flavour profile.  More info

Ron Dominicano Relicario
$34.58

FAIR. 5 Year Old Rum

70cl, 40%
FAIR.

5 year old rum made exclusively using Fair Trade certified sugar cane from Belize and matured in Kentucky bourbon barrels before being shipped out to France to be bottled. Made by FAIR., whom created…  More info

FAIR. 5 Year Old Rum
4
$34.67

Plantation 3 Stars White Rum

70cl, 41.20%
Plantation

Plantation 3 Stars is a crisp, tasty white rum made by blending spirit produced in Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados. Some of the rums in the blend are aged, though their colour is removed via a process…  More info

Plantation 3 Stars White Rum
4
$24.39

Ron Botran Reserva

70cl, 40%
Botran

Botran Reserva is a delicious Guatemalan rum aged for between 5 and 14 years. Made from the best virgin sugar honey, this rum is aged in a Solera system in a mix of bourbon, port and sherry casks.  More info

Ron Botran Reserva
4
$40.16

Matusalem 15 Gran Reserva Gift Pack

70cl, 40%
Matusalem

A handsome gift pack of Matusalem 15 Gran Reserve Dominican rum, aged in a Solera system for an average 15 years, along with a branded glass and a spherical ice mould, lovely for keeping the sweet,…  More info

Matusalem 15 Gran Reserva Gift Pack
$37.94

Westerhall Estate 12 Degrees Clear

75cl, 40%
Westerhall

Made in St David's in Grenada, Westerhall Estate 12 Degrees Clear is a light rum with just a hint of sweetness. It was distilled twice in copper pot-stills before a two year maturation in plain oak…  More info

Westerhall Estate 12 Degrees Clear
$24.75

Glorious Revolution Rum

50cl, 40%
Spirit Masters LTD

Made with cane molasses from Africa and the Americas, Alan and Amanda Collins distil their rum in their artisanal alembic (with lentil) near Newmarket after a fourteen day fermentation. Launched at…  More info

Glorious Revolution Rum
$32.21

Trinidad Original Dark Plantation Rum

70cl, 40%
Plantation

Produced in Trinidad and Tobago, this is a youthful blend of young dark rums aged in bourbon casks and bottled by the Plantation company. A light, elegant spirit.  More info

Trinidad Original Dark Plantation Rum
$28.81

Banks 5 Island Rum

70cl, 43%
Banks

Banks 5 Island is a blend of five rums from distilleries in Trinidad, Barbados, Trinidad and Guyana. They add a little Batavia Arrack from Java and the result is a beautiful cocktail rum. Highly…  More info

Banks 5 Island Rum
$45.01

Ron Quorhum 30 Anniversario

70cl, 40%
Oliver & Oliver

Solera aged in bourbon barrels, this is a luxurious pot still Dominican rum.  More info

Ron Quorhum 30 Anniversario
$72.70

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
3
$34.73

Dzama 6 Year Old Rhum

70cl, 45%
Compagnie Vidzar

Spicy notes swim in a sea of delicious vanilla in the wonderful Dzama (pronounced "zama") 6 Year Old Rhum from Madagascar, made by Vidzar. It has aged splendidly, giving it a handsome hue and a very…  More info

Dzama 6 Year Old Rhum
$43.64

Francisco Montero 50th Anniversary Rum

70cl, 40%
Francisco Montero

A rich expression from Ron Francisco Montero, who have been producing rum since 1963. It was released in 2013, marking their 50th anniversary. The rum features spirits aged for at least 10 years.  More info

Francisco Montero 50th Anniversary Rum
$83.71

Rhum Vieux du Père Labat Millesime 1997

70cl, 42%
Rhum de Père Labat

This is a rhum agricole from the Père Labat range, distilled on the small island of Marie-Galante in 1997. Bottled at 42% ABV, this ought to be rather rich and flavoursome expression, packed with the…  More info

Rhum Vieux du Père Labat Millesime 1997
$121.70

Angostura Reserva

70cl, 37.50%
Angostura

3 year old white rum from Trinidad, this is distilled in Angostura's 5-column still, and is aged in American oak bourbon barrels.  More info

Angostura Reserva
3
$21.90

Mariënburg Rum

70cl, 81%
Suriname Alcoholic Beverages

A white rum from Suriname, the smallest country in South America and the birthplace of Dutch footballers Edgar Davids, Clarence Seedorf and Aron Winter! Although also bottled at an eye-watering 90%,…  More info

Mariënburg Rum
$44.11

Diplomático Añejo

70cl, 40%
Diplomático

A supple, medium bodied rum from Diplomático, this Añejo is a blend of both continuous and pot still rums and is aged for around 4 years.  More info

Diplomático Añejo
$25.18

Coruba Carta Blanca Rum

70cl, 37.50%
The Rum Company

A simple white Jamaican rum from the Coruba range - good for cocktails and mixed drinks.  More info

Coruba Carta Blanca Rum
$26.22

Rhum J.M Gold

70cl, 50%
Rhum J.M

Rhum agricole from Martinique, aged in oak casks for at least 12 months.  More info

Rhum J.M Gold
$42.71

Long Pond Distillery 15 Year Old 2000 (cask 65) - Single Cask Rum (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 51.90%
Long Pond Distillery

A single cask independent bottling of rum from the Long Pond distillery in Jamaica, famous for being where the much-loved Captain Morgan brand was established. This was distilled in 2000 and matured…  More info

Long Pond Distillery 15 Year Old 2000 (cask 65) - Single Cask Rum (Duncan Taylor)
$74.85

Captain Morgan Original Spiced Gold

70cl, 35%
Captain Morgan

A rounded, medium bodied spiced spirit drink (to be classified as a rum, it needs to be 37.5% abv) known the world over. Captain Morgan's Spiced is great value for money, and needs little…  More info

Captain Morgan Original Spiced Gold
25
$18.23

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