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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.

Kirk & Sweeney 18 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Kirk & Sweeney

A rather brilliant 18 year old rum from an undisclosed Dominican distillery, bottled as part of the Kirk & Sweeney range. Surely this will be a treat for enjoying over a few ice cubes (or perhaps a…  More info

Kirk & Sweeney 18 Year Old
1
$48.31

Santiago De Cuba Añejo

70cl, 38%
Santiago de Cuba

From the Santiago De Cuba range (presumably named after the second largest city in Cuba) comes this Añejo rum, which has been aged in white oak barrels. Good for use in cocktails and mixed drinks.  More info

Santiago De Cuba Añejo
3
$32.42
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Ron de Jeremy XO

70cl, 40%
Ron de Jeremy

The Ron de Jeremy range of rums continues to grow. Ron de Jeremy XO is made using a blend of well-aged pot and column distilled rums from Barbados, Trinidad and Guyana, matured in American bourbon…  More info

Ron de Jeremy XO
1
$38.10
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Cut Overproof Rum

70cl, 75.5%
Cut Rum

Estimated Dispatch Date 26th April An overproof edition of Cut Spiced Rum, sitting at an eye-watering 75.5% ABV. Be sure you dilute this stuff very well - ought to go handsomely with a number of…  More info

Cut Overproof Rum
4
$42.27

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
6
$26.17
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El Dorado 21 Year Old Special Reserve

70cl, 43%
El Dorado

Made from rums of between 21 and 25 years of age, matured in 45 gallon oak casks, within six degrees of the equator in Guyana. El Dorado 21 was awarded a Gold at the International Rum Festival 2003…  More info

El Dorado 21 Year Old Special Reserve
12
$96.67
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NAUD Hidden Loot

70cl, 40%
NAUD

Spiced rum from the folks at NAUD (or the Noble and Unusual Distillery, if you want to call them by their full name, as if you were addressing a teacher or some sort of royal bumblebee - bumblebees…  More info

NAUD Hidden Loot
2
$31.11

Gold of Mauritius Dark Rum

70cl, 40%
Gold of Mauritius

Gold! Always believe in your rum! We're pretty sure that's not how the song goes, but never mind, here's some very tasty rum from Mauritius! Gold of Mauritius matures in South African fortified wine…  More info

Gold of Mauritius Dark Rum
14
$43.34
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Wild Tiger Spiced Rum

70cl, 38%
Wild Tiger

Wild Tiger is a premium rum brand from India that has launched its very first spiced rum, made from sugar cane distillates, molasses and sugarcane juice in Kerala, South India. It's a column…  More info

Wild Tiger Spiced Rum
1
$22.93

Barti Ddu Spiced

70cl, 35%
Barti

Barti Ddu from The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company is a blend of Caribbean rums spiced with notes of vanilla, cloves and orange and one special, secret ingredient: Pembrokeshire laver seaweed, also…  More info

Barti Ddu Spiced
2
$31.11
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Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva Gift Pack With Two Glasses

70cl, 40%
Diplomático

A neat gift set of a 70cl bottle of Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva, a yummy, award-winning Venezuelan rum matured in whiskey barrels, and two branded glasses for enjoying said rum from.  More info

Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva Gift Pack With Two Glasses
$53.69

Smith and Cross Jamaica Rum

70cl, 57%
Smith and Cross

A Navy Strength edition of the classic Smith and Cross Jamaica rum, this stuff is beautiful for sipping neat, and works tremendously well with a couple of ice cubes and a squeeze of lime juice.  More info

Smith and Cross Jamaica Rum
7
$38.73
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Don Q 151°

70cl, 75.5%
Serralles

A blend of aged Puerto Rican rum from Don Q, bottled at 75.5% ABV. Useful for cocktails and mixed drinks when used sparingly.  More info

Don Q 151°
$40.13

World Drinks Awards 2018 Rum Winners Tasting Set

15cl, 40.6%
Drinks by the Dram

If you fancy tasting some of the World's best rums, as decided upon by the esteemed World Drinks Awards judges, you're in luck. Drinks by the Dram have created a Tasting Set filled with five…  More info

World Drinks Awards 2018 Rum Winners Tasting Set
$35.41

Neptune Rum

70cl, 40%
Neptune Rum

By Neptune's beard - it's Neptune Rum! This is a blend of eight, five and three year aged golden rum distilled from pure sugar cane molasses at Foursquare Distillery on the island of Barbados. That…  More info

Neptune Rum
18
$37.55

Havana Club Tributo 2018

70cl, 40%
Havana Club

The third bottling in Havana Club's Tributo range sees some very well-aged Cuban rum given some additional maturation time in casks that previously held peaty Scotch whisky! Thought to be a first for…  More info

Havana Club Tributo 2018
$370.01

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
2
$41.86
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Cloven Hoof Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Cloven Hoof

Cloven Hoof Spiced Rum is made using a tasty blend of Guyanese and Trinidadian rum, along with a selection of spices, including cassia, anise and clove, hence the name - a nice touch (you know what…  More info

Cloven Hoof Spiced Rum
11
$27.89

Plantation 3 Stars White Rum

70cl, 41.2%
Plantation

Plantation 3 Stars is a crisp, tasty white rum made by blending spirit produced in Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados. Some of the rums in the blend are aged, though their colour is removed via a process…  More info

Plantation 3 Stars White Rum
4
$25.07
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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
11
$35.28
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Solway Banoffee Rum

70cl, 40%
Solway Spirits

The folks from Solway Spirits don't just enjoy combining classic puddings with gin - they've also got a good nose for rum! The Solway Banoffee Rum sees the Scottish distillers blend rum with caramel…  More info

Solway Banoffee Rum
$30.04

Faith & Sons Pink Rum

50cl, 37.5%
Faith and Sons

From the Faith & Sons Microdistillery in Manchester comes a delightful pink rum. You read that right. It's not pink gin. It's pink rum. This tipple has been flavoured with strawberry and raspberry,…  More info

Faith & Sons Pink Rum
$32.19

Matusalem 15 Gran Reserva

70cl, 40%
Matusalem

This was first produced in Santiago de Cuba over 130 years ago. It is aged using the Solera process, so on average the rums contained herein are 15 years old.  More info

Matusalem 15 Gran Reserva
7
$36.15
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Havana Club Añejo 7 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Havana Club

A 7 year old Cuban rum, awarded gold medals at the Chicago World Spirits Championship in both 1995 and 1997. This was "añejo" the first Havana Club expression intended for sipping. Also makes a…  More info

Havana Club Añejo 7 Year Old
30
$27.22

Issan (That Boutique-y Rum Company)

50cl, 40%
Issan

A complex and tasty rhum agricole from Issan in the north east region of Thailand that shares its name with the distillery, bottled by That Boutique-y Rum Company. The spirit is made with the juice…  More info

Issan (That Boutique-y Rum Company)
$41.86
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