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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.

Appleton Estate Reserve Blend

70cl, 40%
Appleton Estate

Appleton Estate Reserve no longer carries an 8 year old age statement, but is still an excellent dark rum that offers great value.  More info

Appleton Estate Reserve Blend
$29.62

El Dorado 25 Year Old 1986

70cl, 43%
El Dorado

A very special release from Guyana's rum experts El Dorado - the 1986 vintage 25 year old Demerara rum. A blend of rums chosen in 2011 by the late George Robinson, master blender, which were then…  More info

El Dorado 25 Year Old 1986
3
$460.37

Old Monk Supreme XXX Rum

70cl, 42.80%
Mohan Meakin Brewery

A very handsomely presented, well-matured Indian rum from the Old Monk range, who do not advertise their brand - their reputation comes from word of mouth. This expression, on the older end of their…  More info

Old Monk Supreme XXX Rum
1
$43.45

Pirate's Grog Rum Gift Chest

70cl, 37.50%
Pirate's Grog Rum Ltd

Ahoy thar, matey! Spied this treasure chest full o' Pirates Grog rum, have ye? Yarr, shiver me timbers, this be one for me hearties... Ahem. Excuse me. As I was saying, this is a very handsome…  More info

Pirate's Grog Rum Gift Chest
5
$72.70

Black Tot Last Consignment

70cl, 54.30%
Speciality Drinks

Forty years after Black Tot Day in 1970, the day when the British Royal Navy's 300 year old practice of daily rum rations stopped, the Black Tot Last Consignment gives us insight into the history of…  More info

Black Tot Last Consignment
$725.74

Don Papa 10 Year Old Rum

70cl, 43%
Bleeding Heart Rum Co

A 10 year old rum from the Don Papa range, inspired by the story of Papa Isio, who played a big part in the late-19th century Philippine revolution. It's produced on an island in the Philippines,…  More info

Don Papa 10 Year Old Rum
$49.92

Mount Gay 1703

70cl, 43%
Mount Gay

A new and very exciting addition to the Mount Gay range. 1703 celebrates the foundation of the Barbados-based Mount Gay distillery, and it was created by Allen Smith, the master distiller. It…  More info

Mount Gay 1703
9
$125.16

Angostura No.1 First Edition - Cask Collection

70cl, 40%
Angostura

The first in a range of from Angostura called The Cask Collection. No. 1 is a blend of rums between 8 and 10 years old that a married together for another year in first-fill ex-bourbon casks.  More info

Angostura No.1 First Edition - Cask Collection
$51.44

St Nicholas Abbey 10 Year Old

70cl, 40%
St. Nicholas Abbey

A stunning 10 year old dark rum created at the North of Barbados at St Nicholas Abbey, owned by Larry Warren. This is made by blending pot and column still rums that were acquired by Larry when he…  More info

St Nicholas Abbey 10 Year Old
2
$104.31

Ron Mulata Añejo Blanco

100cl, 38%
Ron Mulata

Ron Mulata is made exclusively from Cuban sugar cane syrup and matured only for a short time before being bottled. It's not long enough to give it a great deal of colour, but it does help mellow out…  More info

Ron Mulata Añejo Blanco
$25.79

Ron de Jeremy Spiced Spirit Drink

70cl, 38%
Ron de Jeremy

A spiced variant on the rum created for the self-described "hardest working man in showbiz", Ron Jeremy. Ron de Jeremy Spiced Spiced Drink is made with Caribbean rum and a selection of spices,…  More info

Ron de Jeremy Spiced Spirit Drink
$39.17

Bundaberg Overproof

70cl, 57.70%
Bundaberg

A higher strength rum from Australia's Bundaberg. The name "Overproof" refers to an archaic means of tasting the strength of a spirit. In the days of yore, gunpowder would be saturated with the…  More info

Bundaberg Overproof
7
$36.15

Ron de Jeremy

70cl, 40%
Alcoholes y Rones de Panama

For those of you aren’t familiar with his work, Ron Jeremy is a long-standing leading man in some of the more #ahem# ‘artistic’ films in the gentleman’s section of your local video store. Ron…  More info

Ron de Jeremy
43
$38.62

Dictador 100 Months Aged Cafe Rum

70cl, 40%
Dictador

From Dictador distillers in Colombia comes a rum which has been aged for 100 months in ex-bourbon barrels before being filtered though Arabica coffee beans - one of Colombia's many well know goods.…  More info

Dictador 100 Months Aged Cafe Rum
$58.10

Caribbean Jack Rum

50cl, 43%
Caribbean Jack

Caribbean Jack Rum is a very well presented rum from Trinidad. How well presented is it, I hear you ask? Well, take a look to the left of these words and you'll see it comes in a bottle with the…  More info

Caribbean Jack Rum
$48.40

Port Morant 1999 (bottled 2015) - Bristol Spirits

70cl, 46%
Port Morant

A 1999 vintage rum from the Port Morant estate in Guyana, bottled by the Bristol Spirits folks. This rum was initially matured in American oaks, and enjoying a finishing period of 2 years in Port…  More info

Port Morant 1999 (bottled 2015) - Bristol Spirits
$70.84

Chairman's Reserve Forgotten Casks

70cl, 40%
St. Lucia Distillers

Sit down, gentle reader, and we shall tell you a tale. On the 2nd May 2007 a great fire ravaged St Lucia Distillers distillery, destroying much of the storage buildings. "Good heavens!" You might…  More info

Chairman's Reserve Forgotten Casks
2
$39.78

Takamaka Bay Spiced Rum

70cl, 38%
Takamaka Bay

A sweet, rich spiced rum from Takamaka Bay, produced in the Seychelles! You'll find plenty of vanilla and caramel notes here, so this is definitely one for those with a bit of a sweet tooth!  More info

Takamaka Bay Spiced Rum
2
$24.66

Havana Club Máximo Rum Extra Añejo

50cl, 40%
Havana Club

The Havana Club Máximo is an Extra Añejo rum made from a decidedly illustrious blend of rare, old rums taken from their extensive reserves, crafted by the skilled hands of Maestro Ronero, Don José…  More info

Havana Club Máximo Rum Extra Añejo
$1450.90

Chairman's Reserve Finest St Lucia Rum

70cl, 40%
St. Lucia Distillers

Chairman's Reserve is a St Lucian Rum blended from pot still and continuous still rums.  More info

Chairman's Reserve Finest St Lucia Rum
7
$24.08

Ron Barceló Imperial

70cl, 38%
Ron Barceló

An excellent Dominican rum, Barceló Imperial was awarded a Gold Medal and also the coveted "Best In Category" title at the 2008 International Cane Spirits Festival. This is aged for between 4 and 10…  More info

Ron Barceló Imperial
9
$37.35

Rhum Rhum Liberation 2012 - Version Integrale

70cl, 59.80%
Rhum Rhum

This is the Version Integrale edition of Rhum Rhum's Liberation 2012 rhum agricole, which was aged in white wine casks and has been bottled at 59.8% ABV (the standard edition is bottled at 45%).  More info

Rhum Rhum Liberation 2012 - Version Integrale
$84.67

Guadeloupe 16 Year Old Rum 1998 (Berry Bros & Rudd)

70cl, 46%
Berry Brothers and Rudd

A well-aged agricole rum (or rhum) from Guadeloupe, which is part of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean. Interesting fact: World Cup and European Championship winning French footballer Lilian…  More info

Guadeloupe 16 Year Old Rum 1998 (Berry Bros & Rudd)
$105.12

Pumpkin Face Reserve Rum

75cl, 40%
Pumpkin Face

An aged edition of Pumpkin Face rum! Pumpkin Face Reserve Rum is made with a blend of rums from the Dominican Republic, some of which has been aged for quite a while indeed. Of course, it has once…  More info

Pumpkin Face Reserve Rum
$82.68

Rhum Rhum PMG (56%)

70cl, 56%
Rhum Rhum

A higher-ABV edition of Rhum Rhum PMG, produced on the small island of Marie Galante (just off the coast of Guadeloupe) by Distillerie Bielle. Really impressive stuff, well worth a look for rhum…  More info

Rhum Rhum PMG (56%)
$53.35

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