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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.

Gosling's Family Reserve

70cl, 40%
Gosling's Rum

An exceptional expression from the Gosling's range. Family Reserve was once produced exclusively for members of the Gosling family (as the name suggest), but they have since decided to share this…  More info

Gosling's Family Reserve
14
$57.73
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Haiti 17 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)

50cl, 59.2%
That Boutique-y Rum Company

That Boutique-y Rum Company has gone and bottled up its third batch of exceptional Haitian rum! This expression was distilled in a column still, and was aged in Haiti for six years before finishing…  More info

Haiti 17 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)
$83.21
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Diamond Distillery (Unconfirmed Still) 18 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)

50cl, 51.3%
Diamond Distillery

Terrific independently bottled Guyanese rum from the Diamond Distillery, bottled by That Boutique-y Rum Company! Diamond has been home to a variety of stills over the years - however, it's not been…  More info

Diamond Distillery (Unconfirmed Still) 18 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)
$55.11
Best Seller

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
16
$67.60
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Clément VSOP

70cl, 40%
Clément

Clément VSOP is a rhum agricole, matured for a year in virgin French oak barrels, before a three maturation in re-charred bourbon barrels. This was awarded a Gold by the Beverage Tasting Institute…  More info

Clément VSOP
2
$43.65

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
$33.32
Best Seller

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
$28.61

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
17
$93.65

Plantation Guatemala & Bélize Gran Añejo Rum

70cl, 42%
Plantation

A blended rum from the Plantation range, using rums from Guatemala & Bélize, two neighbouring countries in Central America. Following its initial maturation, it's taken to France to be finished in…  More info

Plantation Guatemala & Bélize Gran Añejo Rum
12
$32.26

Brugal 1888 Ron Gran Reserva Familiar

70cl, 40%
Brugal

High-quality Dominican rum from the Brugal range, which is double distilled then matured in American oak barrels. After a lengthy maturation is the aforementioned barrels, the rum then enjoys a…  More info

Brugal 1888 Ron Gran Reserva Familiar
2
$41.41
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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)
$54.13

Mount Gay Black Barrel Double Cask Blend

70cl, 43%
Mount Gay

This Double Cask Blend edition of Mount Gay Black Barrel rum has been matured for around seven years, before a finishing period in heavily-charred bourbon casks.  More info

Mount Gay Black Barrel Double Cask Blend
5
$37.40

Ron Abuelo 12 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Ron Abuelo

A 12 year old dark rum from Ron Abuelo of Panama. They age their rum in whiskey barrels, which adds a distinct vanilla sweetnses. This 12 year old was launched in 2009, and is elegant, slightly smoky…  More info

Ron Abuelo 12 Year Old
19
$35.90

Doorly's 12 Year Old

70cl, 43%
Doorly's

The awesome 12 Year Old Barbados rum from Doorly's, distilled at Foursquare! Over a decade of ageing has done this rich tipple rather well, as it's full of chewy toffee, tobacco and tropical fruit…  More info

Doorly's 12 Year Old
6
$45.68
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Plantation Peru 2006

70cl, 47.9%
Plantation

This is a Peruvian rum from the Plantation range, which was distilled back in 2006. It was first allowed to age in Peru for 11 years, before making its way over to France for another three years of…  More info

Plantation Peru 2006
$72.85

Blackwell Black Gold Fine Jamaican Rum

70cl, 40%
J Wray and Nephew

Blackwell Black Gold Rum was created by Chris Blackwell, who also happens to be the owner of Island Records. The dark rum itself is distilled and blended by J. Wray & Nephew in Jamaica. It was made…  More info

Blackwell Black Gold Fine Jamaican Rum
28
$25.86
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Mauritius Dodo Silver Rum Dodo Bottle

100cl, 40%
Mauritius Dodo

As if the Silver Rum from Mauritius Dodo wasn't already awesome enough, the crafty folks behind the rum decided to actually present it in a dodo-shaped bottle! The flightless bird (native to…  More info

Mauritius Dodo Silver Rum Dodo Bottle
$98.82
Best Seller

Dark Matter Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Dark Matter

The first release from Scotland's Dark Matter Distillers is Dark Matter Spiced Rum - very exciting stuff! Created in Banchory by two brothers, Jim and John Ewen, Dark Matter Spiced Rum is a…  More info

Dark Matter Spiced Rum
107
$30.91

Project #173 Coconut Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

The Project #173 selection is all about bringing together good quality rum and natural flavours to create lip-smacking expressions - like this one right here! Project #173 Coconut Rum builds on the…  More info

Project #173 Coconut Rum
5
$20.77
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Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros

70cl, 45%
Havana Club

The new edition of Havana Club's very popular Cuban Barrel Proof, Seleccion de Maestros is a superb rum, bottled at higher strength.  More info

Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros
16
$53.03

Master of Malt Rum

70cl, 42%
Master of Malt

Behold, Master of Malt Rum! We've gone and sourced some superb spirits for our very own range of delicious drinks, and our rum is particularly tasty indeed. It's made using a custom-developed blend…  More info

Master of Malt Rum
5
$25.96

Havana Club Tributo 2019

70cl, 40%
Havana Club

It's the 2019 release of the wonderful Havana Club Tributo! This is the fourth release of the special rum, and which was launched at the 2019 Habanos Festival in Cuba. Created by three generations of…  More info

Havana Club Tributo 2019
1
$364.25

Peaky Blinder Black Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Peaky Blinder

Named after the Peaky Blinders street gang from the later 19th and early 20th Century, this is a black spiced rum that has been blended with various spices to help accentuate the rum's flavour…  More info

Peaky Blinder Black Spiced Rum
52
$22.89

Admiral Rodney Rum - HMS Royal Oak

70cl, 40%
St. Lucia Distillers

St. Lucia Distillers introduce the Admiral Rodney Rum range, a selection of extra old Saint Lucian rum from Coffey still distillates that have been aged in American white oak Bourbon casks. HMS Royal…  More info

Admiral Rodney Rum - HMS Royal Oak
1
$57.02
Best Seller

Westerhall No.10 Rum

70cl, 40%
Westerhall

From Grenadian producer Westerhall Estate comes their Rum No.10, launched in mid-2016 to replace their Westerhall Vintage Rum as part of a range redesign. A great rum for enjoying neat or giving your…  More info

Westerhall No.10 Rum
8
$37.42

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