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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.

Uitvlugt 17 Year Old 1999 Guyanese Rum - Kill Devil (Hunter Laing)

70cl, 46%
Uitvlugt

A Guyanese rum independently bottled by Hunter Laing for the Kill Devil selection. This was distilled in December 1999 by the closed Uitvlugt distillery, and bottled 17 years later with an outturn of…  More info

Uitvlugt 17 Year Old 1999 Guyanese Rum - Kill Devil (Hunter Laing)
$83.65

Sweetdram Smoked Spiced Rum

35cl, 45%
Sweetdram

A cracking collaborative effort between East London-based distilling collective Sweetdram and the East London Liquor Company! This is made with a base of Demerara rum, which is combined with a…  More info

Sweetdram Smoked Spiced Rum
$24.32

Admiral Vernon's Old J Gold Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Old J

Old J Gold Spiced rum bottled at 40%, flavoured with Persian lime and vanilla. Enjoy over ice with ginger beer and a slice of lime.  More info

Admiral Vernon's Old J Gold Spiced Rum
3
$24.66

Mezan Jamaica XO Gift Pack with 2x Glasses

70cl, 40%
Mezan

A tasty Jamaican rum from the Mezan range, presented in a set which would make for a delicious gift! This include a full 70cl bottle of Mezan Jamaica XO and two glasses.  More info

Mezan Jamaica XO Gift Pack with 2x Glasses
$46.36

Captain Morgan Original Spiced Gold 1.5l

150cl, 35%
Captain Morgan

A 1.5 litre bottle of Captain Morgan's Spiced spirit drink (it's not technically a rum as it is under 37.5% abv). This famous tipple is made using a blend of Caribbean rums flavoured with a mix of…  More info

Captain Morgan Original Spiced Gold 1.5l
3
$46.13

Rum Advent Calendar (2017 Edition)

72cl, 44.3%
Drinks by the Dram

Created to banish the winter blues with a daily dose of liquid sunshine, Drinks by the Dram’s Rum Advent Calendar brings the world’s tastiest white, dark, spiced, navy strength and agricole…  More info

Rum Advent Calendar (2017 Edition)
$166.18

Pumpkin Face White Rum

75cl, 40%
Pumpkin Face

Pumpkin Face White Rum features a tasty unaged rum from the Dominican Republic, presented in a seriously cool bottle shaped like a Jack-o'-Lantern. A top treat if you're throwing a Halloween party.  More info

Pumpkin Face White Rum
$58.00

Appleton Estate Special Gold

70cl, 40%
Appleton Estate

Appleton Estate Gold is a special blend of rums distilled in pot and column stills. These are matured separately before being hand-blended. This is aged in refill Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey…  More info

Appleton Estate Special Gold
4
$20.23

The Duppy Share Caribbean Rum

70cl, 40%
The Duppy Share

In the whisky world, the angels take their share of whisky from the casks maturing it. In the Caribbean, it's the mischievous Duppy spirits that travel from island to island, taking their share of…  More info

The Duppy Share Caribbean Rum
8
$32.63

World's End Dark Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
World's End

A rich, warming spiced rum from the World's End range. Featuring a blend of Caribbean rums aged between 3 and 5 years, this rum has been combined with a specially selected mixture of spices to give…  More info

World's End Dark Spiced Rum
$37.08

Ancient Mariner 10 Year Old Navy Rum (2018 Edition)

50cl, 54%
Ancient Mariner

The 2018 edition of Ancient Mariner's 10 Year Old Navy Rum is particularly delicious tipple from Guyana's Diamond distillery! Expect a powerful flavour profile of dark fruit and rich caramel.  More info

Ancient Mariner 10 Year Old Navy Rum (2018 Edition)
$57.00

Clarkes Court Black Gold

75cl, 46%
Clarke's Court

Clarkes Court Black Gold is made by infusing top-quality Grenadian rum with nutmeg, which is a very important and valued spice in Grenada - it even appears on their flag!  More info

Clarkes Court Black Gold
1
$72.09

El Dorado 5 Year Old Gold Rum

70cl, 40%
El Dorado

A handsomely packaged, beautiful little rum from El Dorado (one of our all-time favourites when it comes to Rum). This 5 year old Gold rum is fruity, rich and intensely buttery, and we have a feeling…  More info

El Dorado 5 Year Old Gold Rum
5
$27.85

Foursquare Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Foursquare

One of the best spiced rums on the market, Foursquare is a delicious Bajan rum which makes an incredible spicy mojito!  More info

Foursquare Spiced Rum
7
$29.18

Opthimus 21 Rum

70cl, 38%
Oliver & Oliver

A long-aged rum from the Dominican Republic released for the Opthimus range. This was aged in a Solera system, resulting in well-rounded, juicy fruit and balancing, drying dark chocolate notes…  More info

Opthimus 21 Rum
$82.64

Angostura 7 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Angostura

A blend of aged rums, matured in bourbon barrels before undergoing filtration. This is a continuous-still rum from Trinidad and Tobago's famed Angostura company.  More info

Angostura 7 Year Old
1
$29.03

El Dorado Rare Collection - Port Mourant 1999

70cl, 61.4%
El Dorado

One of a trio of rums from El Dorado's Rare Collection, launched in 2016. Each one features rum from one of three renowned Guyanese rum distilleries - this one comes from the double wooden pot still…  More info

El Dorado Rare Collection - Port Mourant 1999
$199.48

Stroh Inländer 80 50cl

50cl, 80%
Stroh Inländer

Stroh 80 is an intense, fiery spiced rum from Austria, made with all kinds of spice extracts and essences. It is worth trying in warming hot chocolates, or in spicy cocktails such as the Jagertee.  More info

Stroh Inländer 80 50cl
6
$32.36

Diplomático Planas

70cl, 47%
Diplomático

Taking the place of Diplomático Blanco, Diplomático Planas is made with Venezuelan rum which has been aged for six years before being charcoal filtered to remove its colour. This allows it to be used…  More info

Diplomático Planas
$38.75

SeaWolf White Rum

50cl, 41%
SeaWolf

A Scottish white rum created by Mike Aikman and Jason Scott (from top bars Bramble, The Last Word and Lucky Liquor Co.), along with Gavin Ferguson. They ferment cane molasses for four weeks at a low…  More info

SeaWolf White Rum
$37.62

Gosling's Family Reserve

70cl, 40%
Gosling's Rum

The flagship from the Gosling's rage. Family Reserve is made using top quality rums from Bermuda. Each bottle is hand labelled, dipped in wax, packed into boxes, stamped, put in the post box, you'll…  More info

Gosling's Family Reserve
4
$60.89

NAUD 15 Year Old Rum

70cl, 41.3%
NAUD

A 15 year old Panamanian rum, bottled by NAUD in France. In case you were wondering, "NAUD" stands for "Noble and Unusual Distillery" - hence the capital letters. Anyway, this is ace stuff, and great…  More info

NAUD 15 Year Old Rum
$46.64

Pyrat XO Rum

70cl, 40%
Pyrat

The bottle based on the design of those kept by ship's captains and pirate during the 19th Century. The rums in this blend are aged as much as fifteen years in American oak and French Limousin…  More info

Pyrat XO Rum
20
$43.07

Ron de Jeremy Spiced

70cl, 38%
Ron de Jeremy

A spiced variant on the rum created for the self-described "hardest working man in showbiz", Ron Jeremy. Ron de Jeremy Spiced Spiced Drink is made with Caribbean rum and a selection of spices,…  More info

Ron de Jeremy Spiced
$25.55

Caroni 18 Year Old 1998 Trinidadian Rum - Kill Devil (Hunter Laing) (65.5%)

70cl, 65.5%
Caroni

This devilishly handsome (sorry) Caroni 18 Year Old 1998 is a vintage single cask Caribbean golden rum from Trinidad & Tobago, that was distilled in Caroni Distillery in December 1998. Hunter Laing…  More info

Caroni 18 Year Old 1998 Trinidadian Rum - Kill Devil (Hunter Laing) (65.5%)
$233.06

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