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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.

Ron Mulata Blanco Reserva 3 Year Old

70cl, 38%
Ron Mulata

Sugar cane rhum from Ron Palma Mulata de Cuba aged for three whole years in American oak before being bottled as a blanco 'reserva'.  More info

Ron Mulata Blanco Reserva 3 Year Old
$22.58

Darsa 8 Year Old 2007 (cask 6) - Single Cask Rum (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 52.30%
Darsa Distillery

A single cask rum from the Darsa distillery in Guatemala, bottled by Duncan Taylor. It was distilled in July 2007 and bottled in February 2016 with an outturn of 298 bottles.  More info

Darsa 8 Year Old 2007 (cask 6) - Single Cask Rum (Duncan Taylor)
$52.54

Mezan Jamaica Long Pond 2000 Rum

70cl, 40%
Long Pond Distillery

From Mezan's top-class selection of independently bottles rums comes a 2000 vintage Jamaican rum distilled by Long Pond, the distillery where Captain Morgan's rum was established! This is a sweet,…  More info

Mezan Jamaica Long Pond 2000 Rum
$36.88

Uitvlugt 18 Year Old 1998 Guyanese Rum - Kill Devil (Hunter Laing)

70cl, 46%
Uitvlugt

Distilled in Guyana, South America, this rum was matured in a single cask and bottled by Hunter Laing for the Kill Devil range at 46% abv. 221 bottles were produced.  More info

Uitvlugt 18 Year Old 1998 Guyanese Rum - Kill Devil (Hunter Laing)
$88.64

Holey Dollar Silver Coin Rum

70cl, 40%
Holey Dollar

The lowest strength offering in a series of Australian rums named after the early currency of the Australian colonies, only due to a scarcity of actually coins, rum was the preferred currency! Made…  More info

Holey Dollar Silver Coin Rum
$40.74

Matugga Spiced Rum

70cl, 42%
Matugga

This is a Spiced Rum from the Matugga Rum range, which was introduced in mid-2015. The rum is made with molasses from sugar canes grown in the rich, red soil of East Africa, and distilled in the UK.…  More info

Matugga Spiced Rum
3
$43.92

Don Q Añejo

70cl, 40%
Serralles

This is the Don Q Añejo rum, made using a multiple distillation technique and matured in American oak barrels in Puerto Rico. Very well suited to sipping neat...  More info

Don Q Añejo
$34.27

Botran Ron Añejo Reserva

70cl, 40%
Botran

A Solera-matured Guatemalan rum from the Botran range. The Solera which this treat aged in was comprised of white oak and American whiskey casks which had previously been home to Port and Sherry.…  More info

Botran Ron Añejo Reserva
$35.45

Captain Flint Dark Rum

70cl, 40%
Captain Flint

Named after the treasure-burying pirate of Robert Louis Stevenston's Treasure Island, Captain Flint Dark rum is made with Caribbean rum and is bottled in France.  More info

Captain Flint Dark Rum
$23.90

Clairin Casimir 2013

70cl, 54%
Douglas Casimir

A kind of spiced rhum agricole, which has anise, lemongrass and ginger added during fermentation!  More info

Clairin Casimir 2013
$49.49

Captain Flint White Rum

70cl, 40%
Captain Flint

White rum which has been named after the fearsome, treasure buryin', rum drinkin' pirate in the literary classic 'Treasure Island' - Captain Flint.  More info

Captain Flint White Rum
$23.90

Lamb's Navy Rum

70cl, 40%
Lamb's

Lamb's rum is a very good value for money Navy rum made with rums from Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.  More info

Lamb's Navy Rum
3
$19.00

Saint James Heritage

70cl, 40%
Saint James

Saint James Heritage is a blend of rums from six different locations - Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Trinidad.  More info

Saint James Heritage
$18.10

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
$40.92

10 Cane Rum

100cl, 40%
Moët Hennessy

A white rum created by Hennessy's Master Distiller, Jean Pineau. He created 10 Cane rum by applying the standards employed by Cognac makers. This is distilled from sugarcane as opposed to the usual…  More info

10 Cane Rum
$48.05

XM Royal 10 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Banks DIH

This is a delicious Guyana rum from Banks DIH, made by ageing spirit in bourbon casks for at least a decade. The rum is then finished in sherry casks for six months before bottling.  More info

XM Royal 10 Year Old
1
$54.80

Matusalem Platino Rum

70cl, 40%
Matusalem

A triple distilled white rum, aged using the solera method in the Dominican Republic. Matusalem Platino is crisp, clean and tangy, and works beautifully in cocktails.  More info

Matusalem Platino Rum
$23.08

Botran Reserva Blanca

70cl, 40%
Botran

Like Botran's other rums, the Reserva Blanca has been aged in a Solera system using ex-bourbon casks. However, after the maturation process, this expression has been charcoal filtered to remove the…  More info

Botran Reserva Blanca
$27.43

Clairin Sajous 2013

70cl, 53.50%
Distillerie Chelo

A Haitian style of rhum agricole here from the Clairin Sajous, made using sugar cane juice which has been reduced over fires of the remains of the sugar cane and fermented using wild yeasts (a bit…  More info

Clairin Sajous 2013
$49.49

New Grove Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.50%
Grays

Superbly spiced rum from the island of Mauritius, which sits in the Indian Ocean. New Grove have struck a fine balance between classic sweet rum notes of citrus and honey and the hot notes driven by…  More info

New Grove Spiced Rum
$27.46

Don Q Gold

70cl, 40%
Serralles

Don Q Gold is produced in Puerto Rico using a multiple distillation technique, and is allowed to age in American oak barrels before it's bottled. A good choice for sipping neat or splashing in a…  More info

Don Q Gold
$26.84

Plantation Trinidad 2001

70cl, 42%
Plantation

2001 vintage rum from Trinidad, which was blended, bottled and presented as part of the Plantation range by its owners, Cognac Ferrand. Heaps of fruit notes throughout this one - think ripe, exciting…  More info

Plantation Trinidad 2001
$41.59

Gosling's Gold Bermuda Rum

70cl, 40%
Gosling's Rum

A Gold award winner at the 2003 International Rum Festival Awards. Gosling's Gold is a blend of pot still and continuous still spirits from Bermuda, aged for around five years.  More info

Gosling's Gold Bermuda Rum
4
$22.58

FAIR. 10 Year Old Rum

70cl, 40%
FAIR.

A limited edition release from the FAIR. range, this 10 year old rum is a Fairtrade Certified made with sugar cane from Belize, matured in American oak casks for a whole decade.  More info

FAIR. 10 Year Old Rum
$57.29

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
$16.07

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