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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.

Takamaka Pti Lakaz

70cl, 45.1%
Takamaka Rum

This expression comes to us from the Takamaka range of rums, produced in the Seychelles. Showing off the team's blending skills, Pti Lakaz is made with pot and column still cane rums aged in a…  More info

Takamaka Pti Lakaz
$45.43

Project #173 Pineapple Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

Pineapple is a particularly powerful flavour, but somehow it manages to go well with all sorts of foods and drinks, which is probably why it's seen as a symbol of hospitality (that's not the reason,…  More info

Project #173 Pineapple Rum
2
$20.77
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Foursquare 15 Year Old 2006 - Kill Devil (Hunter Laing)

70cl, 60.3%
Foursquare

An independent bottling of rum from the Foursquare Distillery in Barbados, matured for 15 years since 2006. Eventually, the Hunter Laing team deemed it ready for the world and bottled it up at cask…  More info

Foursquare 15 Year Old 2006 - Kill Devil (Hunter Laing)
$109.27

Ron Pampero Aniversario

70cl, 40%
Ron Pampero

A delicious dark rum from Ron Pampero, Pampero Aniversario is made in continuous stills in Venezuela. It's full, rich and very fruity.  More info

Ron Pampero Aniversario
21
$34.76
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Signature Blend #2 (That Boutique-y Rum Company)

70cl, 42%
That Boutique-y Rum Company

Here's the second Signature Blend from That Boutique-y Rum Company, and this stuff makes a mouthwatering Mai-Tai! Developed with Pete Holland (who you'll know from The Floating Rum Shack), this…  More info

Signature Blend #2 (That Boutique-y Rum Company)
$31.12
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Arcanist Pineapple Rum

70cl, 40%
Arcanist

If you don't know what an arcanist is, it's someone who possesses a secret method to making something... And now it's got a rum named after it! Arcanist Pineapple Rum is made with a base of Guyanese…  More info

Arcanist Pineapple Rum
14
$41.57

Ron Zacapa Centenario Sistema Solera 23 Gift Pack with 2x Glasses

70cl, 40%
Ron Zacapa

A fantastic gift pack that should fill any rum fan with glee – this set includes a bottle of Ron Zacapa's Centenario Sistema Solera 23 rum, accompanied by a pair of charming branded glasses, so maybe…  More info

Ron Zacapa Centenario Sistema Solera 23 Gift Pack with 2x Glasses
1
$65.04

Central Galactic Spiced Rum

70cl, 43.5%
Central Galactic

What if we told you that you could taste the centre of the galaxy? Don't believe us? Well, around a decade ago scientists (yes, actual scientists) peeked through a massive telescope at a vast dust…  More info

Central Galactic Spiced Rum
8
$36.38
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Angostura 15 Year Old "1787"

70cl, 40%
Angostura

Released in the latter half of 2016, Angostura's 15 Year Old "1787" rum boasts a dark hue and massive flavour profile of dried fruit, toasted oak and robust spice. Ace Trinidadian rum that's…  More info

Angostura 15 Year Old
15
$65.55
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Fallen Angel Spiced Rum (1.5L)

150cl, 41.3%
Fallen Angel

A 1.5 litre bottle of Fallen Angel Spiced Rum, made using a secret (and tasty) recipe of spices and vanilla. Also, the distinctive ceramic head-shaped bottle is now bigger, to accommodate for the…  More info

Fallen Angel Spiced Rum (1.5L)
9
$109.26

The Salford Honey Rum

50cl, 37.5%
Salford Rum

Fresh out of Salford, this naturally sweet small-batch honey rum is inspired by the Caribbean rum and spice imports that arrived into Salford Docks throughout the 1900s. It’s made with a single…  More info

The Salford Honey Rum
1
$31.17

Phoenix Tears Spiced Rum

50cl, 40%
Firebox

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you phoenixes, harvest their tears and make Phoenix Tears Spiced Rum. This glittery tipple is made with a base of Caribbean rum along with…  More info

Phoenix Tears Spiced Rum
5
$31.22

Bullion Rum

70cl, 40%
Bullion Rum

No, this isn't a gold bar, nor is it a Gold Bar (that classic chocolate and biscuit bar), it is in fact a bottle of spiced rum! Bullion Rum features a secret selection of herbs and spiced, alongside…  More info

Bullion Rum
22
$50.94
Best Seller

Flor de Caña 12

70cl, 40%
Flor de Caña

A top quality rum from the Nicaraguan producer, Flor de Caña. This is fine sipping rum, with flavours like toffee apple and buttery vanilla. We love it. We also love the fact that the distillery is…  More info

Flor de Caña 12
30
$36.38

Mount Gay XO Triple Cask Blend

70cl, 43%
Mount Gay

Another tasty expression from Mount Gay, XO Triple Cask Blend is a blend of pot and column still rums. After resting in a combination of American whiskey, bourbon and Cognac casks, it's then blended…  More info

Mount Gay XO Triple Cask Blend
8
$56.81
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The Salford Dark Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Salford Rum

From Salford Rum, the same folks behind The Salford Spiced Rum comes this dark spiced rum! It's the second rum from the Manchester-based distillery, featuring a blend of Caribbean rums matured in…  More info

The Salford Dark Spiced Rum
13
$26.01
Best Seller

Banana Bomb Spiced Rum

50cl, 57%
Rock Star Spirits

Rockstar Spirits, the very same folks behind Pineapple Grenade deliciousness, has crafted Banana Bomb! Oodles of ripe, tropical tastiness to behold in this one, with banana, baking spices and salted…  More info

Banana Bomb Spiced Rum
5
$32.78

Rumbullion! - Magnum (1.5L)

150cl, 42.6%
Ableforth's

After the positively rousing response the Magnum bottles of Ableforth's Bathtub Gin received, they decided to put together some Magnum bottles for their ship-shape spiced rum, Rumbullion!…  More info

Rumbullion! - Magnum (1.5L)
3
$80.09

El Dorado 12 Year Old

70cl, 40%
El Dorado

A great 12 year old Demerara rum from El Dorado. This has won golds at the Caribbean Rum Taste Test in London 7 times in the first 10 years! There are nine stills at the distillery, and this is based…  More info

El Dorado 12 Year Old
44
$38.44
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Ron Zacapa Reserva Limitada 2019

70cl, 45%
Ron Zacapa

A treat for fans of Guatemalan rum, it's the 2019 edition of Ron Zacapa's Reserva Limitada! This particular expression of the popular solera aged rum has been treated to a finishing period in…  More info

Ron Zacapa Reserva Limitada 2019
$93.61

Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva Special Pack

70cl, 40%
Diplomático

This zazzy gift pack from Diplomático features a full bottle of the brilliant Reserva Exclusiva Venezuelan rum, alongside a branded glass and an ice ball mold. Make an ice ball, place it in the…  More info

Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva Special Pack
2
$49.28

Pineapple Grenade Spiced Rum

50cl, 65%
Rock Star Spirits

Pineapple Grenade is crafted by first sourcing 100% molasses rum from the superb Diamond Distillery in Guyana. It's then imported into the UK where it was infused with a secret spice mix and the…  More info

Pineapple Grenade Spiced Rum
30
$33.29

El Dorado 3 Year Old White Rum

70cl, 40%
El Dorado

An award winning rum; this took a silver at the 2006 and 2007 International Wine and Spirits Competitions. This also attained a Gold at the International Review of Spirits. A great mixing rum, very…  More info

El Dorado 3 Year Old White Rum
9
$23.83

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
21
$33.29

Cape Cornwall Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Cape Cornwall

A suitably warming spirit from Cape Cornwall, it's a Spiced Rum! In here you'll find Caribbean rum along with spices including saffron and nutmeg, which is finally blended with Cornish water. We…  More info

Cape Cornwall Spiced Rum
20
$37.42

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