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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 15 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Pusser's

In late 2018, Pusser's relaunched it's fantastic 15 Year Old Navy Rum with a shiny new bottle to match! Previously this was made with a blend of rums from Trinidad and Guyana, though this newer…  More info

Pusser's 15 Year Old
$63.35

SangSom

70cl, 40%
SangSom

SangSom is a Thai rum that gained great popularity in the 1980s, thankfully it is once again beginning to get a lot more attention internationally. SangSom is made from sugar cane molasses and is…  More info

SangSom
5
$17.87

Soggy Dollar Dark Rum

70cl, 40%
Soggy Dollar

From the Soggy Dollar range comes a delicious dark rum, packing plenty of brown sugar, tropical fruit and simmering spice. Ought to be marvellous in your favourite rum-based cocktail. The Soggy…  More info

Soggy Dollar Dark Rum
$30.04

Ron de Jeremy Spiced - Hardcore Edition

70cl, 47%
Ron de Jeremy

Created for the self-described "hardest working man in showbiz", this is a spiced variant on the superb Ron de Jeremy. It's a Panama rum, flavoured with vanilla and various exotic spices, and…  More info

Ron de Jeremy Spiced - Hardcore Edition
7
$34.86
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Drinks by the Dram Single Cracker - Rumbullion!

3cl, 42.6%
Ableforth's

A single Christmas Cracker from Drinks by the Dram containing a 30ml sample dram of Ableforth's Rumbullion! spiced rum - just the ticket for warming yourself up on a chilly Christmas evening. The…  More info

Drinks by the Dram Single Cracker - Rumbullion!
$5.38

Diplomático Ambassador

70cl, 47%
Diplomático

Diplomatico's flagship, the Ambassador was created by Tito Cordero, Golden Barrel Award's 2011 Master Rum Blender of the Year. Expect huge juicy sweetness and flavour thanks to its maturation in…  More info

Diplomático Ambassador
2
$213.43
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Plantation Rum Experience Gift Pack

60cl, 41.3%
Plantation

A delicious set of six rums from the Plantation range, all presented in 10cl bottles. This collection includes the Plantation Gran Añejo Rum (42% ABV), the XO 20th Anniversary Rum (40% ABV), the Peru…  More info

Plantation Rum Experience Gift Pack
$53.67

Rumbullion! XO 15 Years Old

50cl, 46.2%
Ableforth's

Just when you thought Rumbullion! and Rumbullion! Navy-Strength couldn't be beat, Ableforth's bring us Rumbullion! XO 15 Years Old. Once again, it's a spectacular, shipshape spiced rum inspired by…  More info

Rumbullion! XO 15 Years Old
12
$64.43
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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
8
$47.96
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El Dorado 25 Year Old 1988

70cl, 43%
El Dorado

The 1988 vintage 25 year old Guyanese rum from El Dorado's sublime selection. These long-aged expressions are extraordinary tipples, only produced when the sugarcane harvest is of high enough quality…  More info

El Dorado 25 Year Old 1988
$471.92
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Drum & Black Spiced Rum

50cl, 42%
Drum & Black

Drum & Black Spiced Rum is based around a triple-distilled spirit, complemented by ingredients from around the world. This includes coffee from Kenya, vanilla and cinnamon from India, orange from…  More info

Drum & Black Spiced Rum
12
$39.71

Pirate's Grog Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Pirate's Grog Rum Ltd

This ship-shape sight is Pirate's Grog Rum, made from a blend of Caribbean rums which are aged in bourbon barrels for 3 to 5 years on the island of Roatán. Sweet with vanilla and brown sugars, this…  More info

Pirate's Grog Rum
8
$31.11
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Santiago de Cuba 11 Years Old Añejo Superior

70cl, 40%
Santiago de Cuba

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

Santiago de Cuba 11 Years Old Añejo Superior
2
$63.49
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Rum Advent Calendar - Themed (2018 Edition)

72cl, 42.5%
Drinks by the Dram

Light up those dark winter days with reams of radiant rum thanks to Drinks by the Dram’s Rum Advent Calendar! Some of the tastiest tipples from around the world come together in his delightful pack,…  More info

Rum Advent Calendar - Themed (2018 Edition)
$161.15
$112.79

Plantation Original Dark Double Aged

70cl, 40%
Plantation

The Original Dark expression from Plantation has had a little bit of a revamp! It's now made with aged rum from Trinidad and Jamaica, which then blended together and aged further in Cognac casks,…  More info

Plantation Original Dark Double Aged
3
$24.88
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Kirk & Sweeney 12 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Kirk & Sweeney

A marvellous 12 year old rum from the Dominican Republic, aged in American oak casks. A gorgeous bottle, and a rum to match its gorgeousness.  More info

Kirk & Sweeney 12 Year Old
6
$38.40

Burning Barn Smoked Rum

70cl, 40%
Burning Barn

An intriguingly rich rum which is aptly smoky considering the name of its producers - Burning Barn. They make this expression by cold smoking their rum with local apple wood, imparting obvious…  More info

Burning Barn Smoked Rum
1
$38.64
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Jack Ratt Lugger Rum

70cl, 40%
Lyme Bay Winery

Jack Ratt Spiced Rum is produced by the fine folks at Lyme Bay Winery in Devon, made with Caribbean rum aged in bourbon barrels and spiced with nutmeg, orange peel, clove and vanilla. The name comes…  More info

Jack Ratt Lugger Rum
4
$40.78
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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.
4
$42.18
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Travellers Distillery 10 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)

50cl, 56.1%
Travellers Distillery

10 year old rum from the Travellers Distillery in Belize, produced in a traditional column still. Not only it is home to a terrific rum distillery, Belize also has one of the best scuba diving spots…  More info

Travellers Distillery 10 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)
1
$56.90
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O Reizinho 3 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)

50cl, 52.6%
O Reizinho

The second bottling of rum produced by Portugal's O Reizinho from That Boutique-y Rum Company is here, and this time it's an aged expression (hence why the funky olive king on the label has grown…  More info

O Reizinho 3 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)
$46.16
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Ron de Jeremy

70cl, 40%
Ron de Jeremy

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
26
$34.54
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R L Seale's 10 Year Old

70cl, 46%
R L Seales

An excellent rum from Barbados, aged for 10 years before bottling. A wonderfully designed bottle, containing a wonderful rum packed with juicy fruit, nutty spice and lingering floral elements. Now…  More info

R L Seale's 10 Year Old
3
$42.51

Cargo Cult Banana Spiced Rum

70cl, 38%
Cargo Cult

An interesting expression from Australia's Cargo Cult rum range, which has been flavoured with bananas from North Queensland, alongside a selection of lip-smacking spices. This should make a great…  More info

Cargo Cult Banana Spiced Rum
4
$33.13

Mount Gay Black Barrel

70cl, 43%
Mount Gay

Released in the UK in 2014, the Mount Gay Black Barrel rum is made from single column and double pot distilled rum, though using a higher proportion of double pot distillates than their other…  More info

Mount Gay Black Barrel
18
$29.03

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