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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.

Pusser's Select Aged 151

70cl, 75.5%
Pusser's

A high-strength expression from the Pusser's Navy Rum range, matured for at least three years in ex-bourbon barrels before being bottled up at an eye-watering 75.5% ABV. As such, you will want to…  More info

Pusser's Select Aged 151
4
$44.32

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
45
$34.29
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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
5
$32.48

Suncamino Floral Rum

50cl, 40%
Suncamino

Combining a flavourful core of aged rum from Barbados with hibiscus, orange blossom, and honeybush, Suncamino is a splendid rum for sipping, or crafting some tasty cocktails. Layers of silky sweet…  More info

Suncamino Floral Rum
$27.80

Plantation O.F.T.D.

70cl, 69%
Plantation

A rather marvellous overproof dark rum from the Plantation range. Their O.F.T.D. (which stands for 'Old Fashioned Traditional Dark') is comprised of a blend of rums distilled in Barbados, Jamaica and…  More info

Plantation O.F.T.D.
7
$36.63
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Appleton Estate 21 Year Old

70cl, 43%
Appleton Estate

A well-aged 21 year old Jamaican rum from the Appleton Estate. Following maturation this was blended and married in casks for two years.  More info

Appleton Estate 21 Year Old
13
$134.04

Project #173 Smoked Chilli Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

Now, hear us out, this just works. The folks behind Project #173 are always pushing the boat out when it comes to pairing rum with all manner of deliciousness, and their Smoked Chilli Rum is no…  More info

Project #173 Smoked Chilli Rum
2
$18.52

Project #173 Christmas Pudding Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

The Project #173 team are getting into the spirit of Christmas with this exceptional expression – Project #173 Christmas Pudding Rum! Built around a core of delicious rum, this expression features a…  More info

Project #173 Christmas Pudding Rum
2
$18.52
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Appleton Estate 12 Year Old Rare Casks

70cl, 43%
Appleton Estate

Previously known as Appleton Estate 12 Year Old Rare Blend, this expression from the extraordinary Jamaican rum range is truly fantastic stuff. Matured for at least a dozen years in oak casks, this…  More info

Appleton Estate 12 Year Old Rare Casks
4
$39.91

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
3
$60.30

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
$46.41
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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
5
$18.52
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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
$36.15

Greedy Fox Flavoured Rum

70cl, 40%
Loaded Spirits

If you like sweet, roasty flavours, Greedy Fox will certainly fit the bill, because the dark rum has been infused with honeycomb and caramel! Ought to make for a deliciously toasty twist on an…  More info

Greedy Fox Flavoured Rum
30
$27.80

Pusser's 'Gunpowder Proof' Spiced

70cl, 54.5%
Pusser's

Pusser's 'Gunpowder Proof' Spiced is a particularly full-bodied spiced rum, made with rum matured in charred oak bourbon barrels and combined with a selection of tasty ingredients, including banana,…  More info

Pusser's 'Gunpowder Proof' Spiced
6
$38.01

Admiral's Cask Dark Rum Barrel

70cl, 40%
OSA Fine Spirits

Look at this! OSA Fine Spirits has taken some of its fabulous five year old Panamanian rum, and filled up these snazzy barrel-shaped containers with it! Eye catching indeed, this is a great novelty…  More info

Admiral's Cask Dark Rum Barrel
1
$29.72

Pusser's Deptford Dockyard Reserve

70cl, 54.5%
Pusser's

A limited edition release from Pusser's, Deptford Dockyard Reserve commemorates the 52nd anniversary of Black Tot Day in 2022. Combining a blend of aged Caribbean rums from Guyana, Trinidad,…  More info

Pusser's Deptford Dockyard Reserve
1
$57.78
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J Wray and Nephew White Overproof

70cl, 63%
J Wray and Nephew

The best-selling high proof rum in the world. 90% of rum sales in Jamaica are of Wray and Nephew. Overproof is a very potent spirit indeed!  More info

J Wray and Nephew White Overproof
61
$27.16

Bombo 40 Rum - Caramel & Banana

70cl, 40%
Bombo

This spiced rum produced as part of the Bombo 40 range has been flavoured with lip-smacking notes of caramel and banana. Suitable for sipping neat, with caramel and banana elements complementing the…  More info

Bombo 40 Rum - Caramel & Banana
24
$26.79

Plantation 5 Year Old Barbados

70cl, 40%
Plantation

This is a 5 year old Barbados rum from the Plantation range, aged in bourbon barrels before being transported to Cognac Ferrand in France for a finish in Cognac casks! Very good indeed...  More info

Plantation 5 Year Old Barbados
19
$26.91
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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
22
$32.29
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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
$45.43

The Kraken Black Spiced Rum (1.75L)

175cl, 40%
Kraken

A large bottle of The Kraken Black Spiced Rum – this one holds 1.75 litres of the excellent tipple! Just the ticket if you love the warming spiciness of this great rum and fancy sharing it with…  More info

The Kraken Black Spiced Rum (1.75L)
$48.27

Pineapple Grenade Spiced Rum

50cl, 65%
Rockstar 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
$30.62

Ron Santiago de Cuba 11 Years Old Añejo Superior

70cl, 40%
Ron Santiago de Cuba

11 year old rum from the brilliant Ron Santiago de Cuba. A deliciously spicy expression, with enough fruity esters and brown sugar notes to balance it out wonderfully.  More info

Ron Santiago de Cuba 11 Years Old Añejo Superior
3
$36.97

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