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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.

Best Seller

Môr-Ladron Gower Honey Spiced Rum

70cl, 38%
Môr-Ladron

Môr-Ladron produces its rum on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales and celebrates the region's pirating past. This spiced rum is infused with Welsh honey as well as orange blossom and crystalised…  More info

Môr-Ladron Gower Honey Spiced Rum
$26.91

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
53
$20.84

HMS Victory Navy Strength Rum

70cl, 57%
Isle of Wight Distillery

This is a Navy strength blend of rums from Guyana, Trinidad and Jamaica, which has been finished in casks that have a stave made from wood taken from famous Royal Navy warship, HMS Victory. It was…  More info

HMS Victory Navy Strength Rum
16
$43.68

Dos Maderas 5+5 Pedro Ximenez

70cl, 40%
Williams & Humbert

A 'double aged' rum, although it could be considered to be triple aged. Rums from Barbados and Guyana are matured for five years in the Caribbean before being transported to Jerez where they are…  More info

Dos Maderas 5+5 Pedro Ximenez
17
$47.14

Plantation Rum Experience Gift Pack

60cl, 41%
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…  More info

Plantation Rum Experience Gift Pack
2
$49.19

Cutters Harrismith Rum

50cl, 37.5%
Cutters

Named after Harrismith Beach in Barbados, Harrismith Rum was specifically made for mixing. Sugar cane-based rum and charred barrels were used in an effort to make it so the flavours of the rum carry…  More info

Cutters Harrismith Rum
1
$24.55

Distilled by Darsa, Guatemala Rum 14 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)

50cl, 57.2%
Darsa Distillery

The first Boutique-y Rum trip to Guatemala, known for its multi-cask type solera blends that are presented in the sweeter style. This bottling from Destiladora de Alcoholes y Rones Sociedad Anónima…  More info

Distilled by Darsa, Guatemala Rum 14 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)
$55.65
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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
$31.97

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
14
$24.22

Appleton Estate 8 Year Old Reserve

70cl, 43%
Appleton Estate

An excellent 8 year old Jamaican rum from the Appleton Estate, boasting waves of runny honey, toffee, oak spice and hints of caramelised nuts. Terrific value for money, and more than suitable for…  More info

Appleton Estate 8 Year Old Reserve
8
$25.49

Chairman's Reserve Forgotten Casks

70cl, 40%
St. Lucia Distillers

Sit down, gentle reader, and we shall tell you a tale. On the 2nd May 2007 a great fire ravaged St Lucia Distillers distillery, destroying much of the storage buildings. "Good heavens!" You might…  More info

Chairman's Reserve Forgotten Casks
4
$38.74
Best Seller

Gosling's Black Seal

70cl, 40%
Gosling's

Gosling’s Black Seal combines rums from both pot and continuous column stills. The name comes from the black wax that was originally used to seal the bottles, but now there’s an actual black seal on…  More info

Gosling's Black Seal
24
$21.72
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Canerock

70cl, 40%
Canerock

Canerock is a fantastic drink created by the team at Maison Ferrand, using aged Jamaican rums at its core, including a generous helping of high-ester rums. Alongside these rums, the team infuses the…  More info

Canerock
4
$37.83

Appleton Estate 15 Year Old Black River Casks

70cl, 43%
Appleton Estate

A tremendous 15 year old rum from Jamaica's Appleton Estate, released to celebrate the Black River, which provides limestone-filtered water for the production of the distillery's range of rum. A…  More info

Appleton Estate 15 Year Old Black River Casks
$62.13
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Chairman's Reserve 9 Year Old 2011 Master's Selection - Master of Malt Exclusive

70cl, 58.8%
St. Lucia Distillers

Master of Malt exclusive! Feast your eyes on our very own exclusive bottling of single cask rum from the Chairman's Reserve range! This one is a pot still rum distilled back in 2011 by St. Lucia…  More info

Chairman's Reserve 9 Year Old 2011 Master's Selection - Master of Malt Exclusive
$107.19

Discarded Banana Peel Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Discarded Spirits

The team from Discarded Spirits specialises is using ingredients that would otherwise go to waste to create lip-smacking spirits, like its Banana Peel Rum! It features a base of Caribbean rum which…  More info

Discarded Banana Peel Rum
11
$27.84

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
$32.45
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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
$54.53

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
$50.67

Santa Teresa Añejo Gran Reserva

70cl, 40%
Santa Teresa

Añejo Gran Reserva is a superb Venezuelan rum aged in oak for up to 5 years. Santa Teresa recommend this in cocktails, and it is notable for its delicious aroma.  More info

Santa Teresa Añejo Gran Reserva
3
$23.20

Horizon Black [Hole] Spiced Rum

70cl, 42%
Horizon

Is there anything on the other side of a black hole, or are they just galactic alligators gobbling up anything that dares come near them? You may think that question is a bit much for a spirits…  More info

Horizon Black [Hole] Spiced Rum
6
$23.16
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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
9
$33.37

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
$21.25
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
$60.30
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Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry

70cl, 43%
Plantation

This 100% pot still Jamaican rum made with a blend of spirits from Long Pond and Clarendon distilleries, which Maison Ferrand now owns a third of after purchasing the West Indies Rum Distillery in…  More info

Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry
5
$31.50

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