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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.

Bullion Rum

70cl, 40%
Bullion Rum

No, this isn't a gold bar, nor is it a Gold Bar (that classic chocolate and biscuit bar), it is in fact a bottle of spiced rum! Bullion Rum features a secret selection of herbs and spiced, alongside…  More info

Bullion Rum
24
$38.93

Diablesse Clementine Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Diablesse

From Manchester-based Diablesse comes a Clementine Spiced Rum! It's made with Demerara rum from the Diamond Distillery in Guyana, using native sugar cane molasses and traditional pot and column still…  More info

Diablesse Clementine Spiced Rum
23
$25.99
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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
$51.01

Worthy Park 109

100cl, 54.5%
Worthy Park

A marvellous Jamaican rum from Worthy Park, copper pot distilled from estate-grown sugar cane molasses. The rum spends a short stay in American oak and ex-bourbon casks, before blending and bottling…  More info

Worthy Park 109
2
$34.56

Ron Abuelo XII Two Oaks

70cl, 40%
Ron Abuelo

A richly smoky release from Ron Abuelo over in Panama, as you may have guessed Two Oaks has been matured in two different types of oak cask. Aged for over a decade, initially the rum was rested in…  More info

Ron Abuelo XII Two Oaks
6
$43.59

Flor de Caña 25

70cl, 40%
Flor de Caña

An impressive, well aged Flor de Caña single estate rum. A stunning, radiant hue makes it a wonder to look at, and it tastes as good as it looks. Top shelf rum from the Nicaraguan producer.  More info

Flor de Caña 25
9
$111.30

Satchmo Mojito Spirited Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Satchmo

Satchmo rum is inspired by iconic American trumpeter Louis Armstrong's nickname, Satchmo! It's flavoured with the same ingredients you'd find in a Mojito, so expect lots of lime and mint freshness in…  More info

Satchmo Mojito Spirited Rum
19
$35.13

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
$36.16
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Arcanist Pineapple Rum

70cl, 40%
Arcanist

If you don't know what an arcanist is, it's someone who possesses a secret method to making something... And now it's got a rum named after it! Arcanist Pineapple Rum is made with a base of Guyanese…  More info

Arcanist Pineapple Rum
14
$41.73

Sly Dog Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Sly Dog

Sly Dog Spiced Rum is made with a combination aged rums from Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, alongside a secret recipe of spices. The core flavours of the rum shine through clearly, with the…  More info

Sly Dog Spiced Rum
29
$29.71
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Black Tot Rum

70cl, 46.2%
Black Tot

Black Tot takes inspiration from 300 years of Navy tradition! A blend of rums from Barbados, Jamaica and Guyana are featured here, with the complex spirit weighing in at 46.2% ABV. The rum is named…  More info

Black Tot Rum
7
$37.03
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Project #173 Passion Fruit Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

When it comes to the most tropical-tasting fruits we can think of, passion fruit is right up there with the best, and when you impart that terrific flavour to a rum, you've really piqued our…  More info

Project #173 Passion Fruit Rum
$18.52

Fallen Angel Spiced Rum (1.5L)

150cl, 41.3%
Fallen Angel

A 1.5 litre bottle of Fallen Angel Spiced Rum, made using a secret (and tasty) recipe of spices and vanilla. Also, the distinctive ceramic head-shaped bottle is now bigger, to accommodate for the…  More info

Fallen Angel Spiced Rum (1.5L)
7
$102.10

Autentico Nativo 15 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Autentico Nativo

A beautifully aged rum hailing from Panama. All Autentico Nativo rums are made with local sugar cane grown in volcanic soil and distilled in a continuous copper and brass still at its Las Cabras…  More info

Autentico Nativo 15 Year Old
1
$45.48

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
$324.89

Black Tears Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
The Island Rum Company

Black Tears Spiced Rum marries Cuban rum and Cuban spices, with coffee, cacao and ají dulce, which is a sweet chilli pepper. Full of toasty, roasted flavours, it's not overly sweet, so works very…  More info

Black Tears Spiced Rum
5
$29.93

Project #173 Lime Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

It's an inarguable fact that rum and lime make a great pairing, and this splendid addition to the Project #173 range of naturally flavoured rums proves that fact masterfully! A hearty base of good…  More info

Project #173 Lime Rum
$18.52

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
17
$21.77
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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
$40.75

Copeland Smugglers Reserve Rum

70cl, 40%
Copeland

From the Copeland folks in Ireland comes this aged rum! It blends together Barbados rum (aged in bourbon barrels) with rum distilled in Donaghadee, where the distillery is based, which was aged in a…  More info

Copeland Smugglers Reserve Rum
5
$28.77
Best Seller

Dos Maderas Luxus

70cl, 40%
Williams & Humbert

Similar to the Dos Maderas 5+3, except this would be called 'Dos Maderas 10+5' under that naming convention (Bajan and Gyanese rums aged for ten years in the Caribbean before being transported to…  More info

Dos Maderas Luxus
1
$115.10

Devon Rum Co. Honey Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Devon Rum Co.

A wonderfully well-rounded spiced rum here from the Devon Rum Co., featuring a blend of Caribbean rums, alongside local wild flower honey and a host of spices. As you might expect, the result is…  More info

Devon Rum Co. Honey Spiced Rum
1
$30.58

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
$23.16

Admiral Vernon's Old J Spiced Rum Spirit Drink

70cl, 35%
Old J

Based around the vibrant flavours of Persian lime and vanilla paired with classic rum notes, Old J Spiced Rum Spirit Drink (technically it's not a rum, as its ABV is under 37.5%) goes great over ice…  More info

Admiral Vernon's Old J Spiced Rum Spirit Drink
24
$21.21

Mauritius Dodo Gold Rum

70cl, 40%
Mauritius Dodo

A dark rum from Mauritius that was bottled at 40% ABV. It honours the now extinct Dodo which was previously native to the Indian Ocean island nation.  More info

Mauritius Dodo Gold Rum
1
$41.99

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