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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.

Keynvor Spiced Honey Rum

70cl, 40%
Keynvor

A richly flavoursome honey spiced rum from Mounts Bay Distillery in Cornwall, featuring the likes of Cornish honey, saffron, seaweed, and a selection of spices, built upon a base of aged rum. Expect…  More info

Keynvor Spiced Honey Rum
10
$36.42

Wooden Moose Caramelised Banana & Peanut Butter Spiced Rum

50cl, 40%
Wooden Moose

Banana and peanut butter – an age-old (and delicious) combination. Now, the folks behind Wooden Moose have put it into its spiced rum! Made with a base of Guyanese rum, it's rich, nutty, and subtly…  More info

Wooden Moose Caramelised Banana & Peanut Butter Spiced Rum
$24.93

Hampden Estate 2016 The Younger LROK

70cl, 47%
Hampden

Sublime Jamaican rum from the Hampden Estate! This expression is dubbed The Younger, having only matured for five years before being bottled, but don't let that fool you into thinking this isn't a…  More info

Hampden Estate 2016 The Younger LROK
$57.17

The Kraken Black Spiced Rum - Roast Coffee

70cl, 40%
Kraken

What happens when you combine your morning brew, aromatic Caribbean rum, and a mythological tentacled sea monster? The Roast Coffee edition of The Kraken, of course! The aromatic spiced Caribbean rum…  More info

The Kraken Black Spiced Rum - Roast Coffee
$29.09

Flor de Caña 18

70cl, 40%
Flor de Caña

Flor de Caña 18 is a very well-aged expression from Nicaragua. This was awarded Double Gold medals at the 2006 and 2008 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.  More info

Flor de Caña 18
18
$55.15
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Admiral's Cask Dark Rum - Diamond Edition

70cl, 40%
OSA Fine Spirits

Fabulous five year old rum from Panama. This is bottled by OSA Fine Spirits in a special diamond shaped bottle, which looks like it could have been discovered in a chest in a lost cave or the depths…  More info

Admiral's Cask Dark Rum - Diamond Edition
$36.38
$31.17

Doorly's XO Rum

70cl, 43%
Doorly's

Here we having a slightly higher strength bottling of Doorly's awesome XO Rum, weighing in at 43% ABV. The lip-smacking blend of Barbados rums was finished in an Oloroso sherry cask before bottling,…  More info

Doorly's XO Rum
4
$37.45

Alnwick Rum

70cl, 43%
Alnwick Rum

Alnwick is a bold, spicy dark rum, perfect for making a big impression in cocktails and mixed drinks. Based on a recipe which was first created over 90 years ago in Northumberland, Alnwick rum is…  More info

Alnwick Rum
8
$30.95

Spice Hunter

70cl, 40%
Spice Hunter

Inspired by the story of 18th century botanist/spice smuggler Pierre Poivre, Spice Hunter is a fittingly cockle-warming spiced rum featuring notes of ginger, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and pepper. Built…  More info

Spice Hunter
3
$25.96

Duppy Share XO

70cl, 40%
The Duppy Share

A particularly deluxe edition of Duppy Share Rum! The XO brings together a selection of aged rums from Barbados to create a full-flavoured, expression, boasting notes of bold fruit, warming oak,…  More info

Duppy Share XO
$41.57

Cherry Bomb Spiced Rum

50cl, 57%
Rock Star Spirits

Another fruity delight from those folks at Rockstar Spirits, once again showing off their skills at combining rather strong rum with bold, fresh flavours! Produced with a base of Panamanian rum,…  More info

Cherry Bomb Spiced Rum
1
$32.98

Greedy Fox Flavoured Rum

70cl, 40%
Loaded Spirits

If you like sweet, roasty flavours, Greedy Fox will certainly fit the bill, because the dark rum has been infused with honeycomb and caramel! Ought to make for a deliciously toasty twist on an…  More info

Greedy Fox Flavoured Rum
27
$31.17

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
6
$66.60

Greensand Ridge 18 Months Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)

50cl, 52.6%
Greensand Ridge

This is That Boutique-y Rum Company's very first bottling of rum from the Greensand Ridge Distillery! Greensand Ridge produces a host of spirits, from gin and apple brandy, to the rum right here.…  More info

Greensand Ridge 18 Months Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)
$51.99
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Best Seller

Copeland Smugglers Reserve Overproof Rum

70cl, 57.2%
Copeland

It turns out those Copeland folks don't just do gin, but fabulous rum too! This is Smugglers Reserve Overproof Rum which is double pot distilled and matured in both bourbon and Pinot Noir casks. It…  More info

Copeland Smugglers Reserve Overproof Rum
9
$46.78

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
$48.59
Best Seller

Boukman Botanical Rhum

70cl, 45%
Boukman

Boukman Botanical Rhum is made in Haiti, with sugar cane juice distilled from sugar cane grown in Croix des Bouquets and around Cap-Haitien. It's also infused with a selection of botanicals,…  More info

Boukman Botanical Rhum
$48.87

Cornish Rock Golden Vanilla Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Cornish Rock

A golden vanilla rum from Cornish Rock that has been hand bottled and produced in Cornwall with Cornish spring water and made in small batches with vanilla and Cornish Gorse. Superb for sipping over…  More info

Cornish Rock Golden Vanilla Rum
$33.26
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English Harbour Reserve 10 Year Old

70cl, 40%
The Antigua Distillery

A well-aged Antiguan rum, blended from rums aged between 10 and 25 years. This was matured in bourbon barrels.  More info

English Harbour Reserve 10 Year Old
8
$49.90

Worthy Park Single Estate Reserve

70cl, 45%
Worthy Park

Announced in 2017, Worth Park's Single Estate Reserve is one of the first official releases from the distillers in Jamaica, with other bottlings from Worthy Park released under the Rum-Bar name. This…  More info

Worthy Park Single Estate Reserve
4
$49.90

Uitvlugt 22 Year Old 1999 - Old & Rare Rum

70cl, 63.9%
Uitvlugt

Independently bottled rum from the Uitvlugt Distillery, which is sadly no more. This particular bottling was distilled in 1999, and was matured for 22 years (for 12 months it aged in Guyana, before…  More info

Uitvlugt 22 Year Old 1999 - Old & Rare Rum
$187.33

Morant Bay Special Edition Caribbean Spiced Red Rum

70cl, 42%
Morant Bay

A special edition release from Morant Bay, featuring ingredients from the Caribbean to create a richly spiced rum.  More info

Morant Bay Special Edition Caribbean Spiced Red Rum
5
$50.94

Bombo 40 Rum - Caramel & Coconut

70cl, 40%
Bombo

A spiced rum from the Bombo range, flavoured with coconut and caramel to complement the fruity rum. Should be good over ice or with your favourite mixer, or alongside a sweet dessert.  More info

Bombo 40 Rum -  Caramel & Coconut
18
$27.32

Old Grog

75cl, 40%
Old Grog

Old Grog takes it's name for from the rum shipped from Grenada to England for King George III. This rum was labelled Georgius Rex Old Grenada and the abbreviation was taken to name this golden rum.  More info

Old Grog
3
$39.03

TDL Fernandes 19 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)

50cl, 57.4%
Fernandes Distillers

That Boutique-y Rum Company has gone and bottled up its first batch of wonderful spirit from Fernandes Distillers over in Trinidad and Tobago! The multi-column still molasses rum was aged for just…  More info

TDL Fernandes 19 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)
$78

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