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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

Takamaka Extra Noir

70cl, 43%
Takamaka Rum

A rather rich rum here from the Seychelles, produced by Takamaka. It's made with a blend of pot and column still molasses rums, with are soaked with French oak, and the pressed with the fines of more…  More info

Takamaka Extra Noir
$36.38

Plantation XO Barbados 20th Anniversary Gift Pack with 2x Glasses

70cl, 40%
Plantation

A great gift for the rum fanatic in your life - this is a bottle of Plantation's 20th Anniversary XO Rum from Barbados, presented alongside a pair of tasting glasses.  More info

Plantation XO Barbados 20th Anniversary Gift Pack with 2x Glasses
$62.39
Best Seller

Rum Advent Calendar (2021 Edition)

72cl, 42.6%
Drinks by the Dram

Introduce some liquid sunshine to the Christmas countdown with Drinks by the Dram's spectacular Rum Advent Calendar! Eschewing the usual tiny squares of chocolate that many Advent calendars are…  More info

Rum Advent Calendar (2021 Edition)
1
$156.06

Project #173 Banana Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

The combo of rum and banana is well-established and generally considered to be excellent. Just think of all those fancy puddings that include the both of them in one form or another. Delicious! So,…  More info

Project #173 Banana Rum
3
$20.77

Canerock

70cl, 40%
Canerock

Canerock is a fantastic drink created by the team at Maison Ferrand, using aged Jamaican rums at its core, including a generous helping of high-ester rums. Alongside these rums, the team infuses the…  More info

Canerock
1
$40.54

Premium Rum Tasting Set

15cl, 47%
Drinks by the Dram

It's not just whisky, we do love other spirits too, and rum will always hold a special place in our hearts. Rum is like liquid sunshine, and we put together this set of five 3cl samples of utterly…  More info

Premium Rum Tasting Set
10
$31.17

Takamaka Zepis Kreol

70cl, 43%
Takamaka Rum

The Zepis Kreol rum from Takamaka is made with a blend of pot and column distilled molasses rums, macerated with a selection of local spices and pressed with ex-Merlot wood fines. Following that,…  More info

Takamaka Zepis Kreol
$40.44
Best Seller

Sunset Very Strong Rum

70cl, 84.5%
St. Vincent Distillers Ltd

An extremely high strength rum from Saint Vincent. This is distilled from molasses in a column still.  More info

Sunset Very Strong Rum
20
$44.70

Gosling's Black Seal 151 Proof

70cl, 75.5%
Gosling's Rum

A super high strength dark rum from Bermuda. Despite the 75.5% of Gosling's Black Seal 151, this is a very smooth rum, and it's utterly delicious. Well worth trying.  More info

Gosling's Black Seal 151 Proof
30
$37.94

El Dorado 15 Year Old

70cl, 43%
El Dorado

A delicious blend of Caribbean rum, El Dorado 15 Year Old marries spirits from the Enmore and Diamond Coffey stills, the Port Mourant double wooden pot still and the Versailles single wooden pot…  More info

El Dorado 15 Year Old
28
$55.15
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Stone Gaze Sour Berry Rum

70cl, 38%
Stone Gaze

A vibrantly fruity flavoured rum here from the Stone Gaze range, featuring the likes of blackberry, damson, and gooseberry, along with Caribbean white rum. Also, it's presented in a bottle shaped…  More info

Stone Gaze Sour Berry Rum
14
$47.87
Best Seller

Don Papa Small Batch Rum

70cl, 40%
Don Papa

A richly flavoursome rum from the Philippines, inspired by the story of Papa Isio, who played a big part in the late-19th century Philippine revolution. The rum itself is made using sugar cane grown…  More info

Don Papa Small Batch Rum
67
$30.17
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Admiral Vernon's Old J Tiki Fire Spiced Rum

70cl, 75.5%
Old J

A high-strength edition of Admiral Vernon's Old J Spiced Rum, which features plenty of vanilla and a touch of lime peel flavours at its core. The Tiki Fire bottling is presented at an intense 75.5%…  More info

Admiral Vernon's Old J Tiki Fire Spiced Rum
39
$41.57
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Drinks by the Dram 12 Dram Premium Rum Collection

36cl, 41.7%
Drinks by the Dram

Drinks by the Dram's 12 Dram Premium Rum Collection is just the ticket for anyone looking to pick up a brilliant pressie for a picky rum fan. Behind each of the 12 windows of this zazzy box sits a…  More info

Drinks by the Dram 12 Dram Premium Rum Collection
2
$51.99

Project #173 Gingerbread Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

Gingerbread and rum go better together than you might first assume, with the both of them boasting brilliant spicy and sweet characteristics. The folks behind Project #173 have twigged this and…  More info

Project #173 Gingerbread Rum
9
$20.77
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Diplomático Single Vintage 2005

70cl, 43%
Diplomático

Regard: the 2005 vintage of Diplomático Venezuelan rum! Exceptionally rich and indulgent stuff, which has enjoyed a year finishing period in oloroso sherry casks. Very much an after-dinner dram, this…  More info

Diplomático Single Vintage 2005
2
$93.60

The Salford Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Salford Rum

The Salford Spiced Rum is something of a tribute to the dock workers who helped bring the city's Caribbean rum and spice imports through Salford Docks during the 1800s. It was fittingly distilled…  More info

The Salford Spiced Rum
9
$34.86

Blackwell Rum Limited Edition 007

70cl, 40%
J Wray and Nephew

Chris Blackwell has released a Limited Edition 007 bottling of the Blackwell Fine Jamaican Rum! A particularly delicious Jamaican rum, with a rather snazzy bottle, too...  More info

Blackwell Rum Limited Edition 007
7
$36.38

Takamaka Grankaz

70cl, 45.1%
Takamaka Rum

Showing off both the ageing and blending skills of its team, the Takamaka Grankaz expression brings together pot distilled rum from the Seychelles matured in medium toast new French oak casks and…  More info

Takamaka Grankaz
1
$51.93

Equiano Rum

70cl, 43%
The Equiano Rum Co.

Equiano Rum is the delicious result of a collaboration between two fabulous distilleries, marrying liquid from Barbados' Foursquare and Gray's Distillery of Mauritius. The rum from Foursquare is aged…  More info

Equiano Rum
10
$46.82

Plantation Pineapple Stiggins' Fancy

70cl, 40%
Plantation

A fantastic treat from the Plantation range originally created by the company's cellar master Alexandre Gabriel and drinks historian David Wondrich for Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans in 2015.…  More info

Plantation Pineapple Stiggins' Fancy
27
$35.28
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The Severed Hand Roasted Hazelnut Rum

70cl, 37.5%
The Severed Hand

Another rum from The Severed Hand range from the folks behind Black Powder Gin! This is the Roasted Hazelnut Rum, so you can probably imagine the oodles of toastiness going on in here. Are you…  More info

The Severed Hand Roasted Hazelnut Rum
3
$35.38

Diplomático Seleccion De Familia

70cl, 43%
Diplomático

All the way from Venezuela comes Diplomático Seleccion De Familia, a particularly deluxe expression made with rum drawn from American white oak, ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. The spirit itself was…  More info

Diplomático Seleccion De Familia
3
$51.99
Best Seller

La Hechicera Fine Aged Rum

70cl, 40%
La Hechicera

La Hechicera is Spanish for "the enchantress"... This rum was made in Colombia and is Solera-aged rum aged for between 12 and 21 years in bourbon barrels. Very good indeed.  More info

La Hechicera Fine Aged Rum
19
$43.45

Eminente Reserva 7 Year Old

70cl, 41.3%
Eminente

Eminente Reserva 7 Year Old is a particularly snazzy Cuban rum, made with 100% Cuban sugar cane. Bright and clean, but with plenty of complex and depth as it develops on the palate, with rich coffee…  More info

Eminente Reserva 7 Year Old
10
$44.50

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