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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.

Watson's Demerara Rum

70cl, 40%
Watson's

A blend of Demerara rums from Guyana. The rums are matured in Guyana before blending.  More info

Watson's Demerara Rum
10
$17.87
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
108
$27.76
Best Seller

Chamarel Premium Gold Rum

70cl, 42%
La Rhumerie de Chamarel

Aged for 18 months in oak barrels, this Mauritian gold rum from the Rhumerie de Chamarel is made from pure cane juice, using sugar cane grown in the fields surrounding the distillery. The quality of…  More info

Chamarel Premium Gold Rum
8
$32.25
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Watson's Trawler Rum

70cl, 40%
Watson's

In case you couldn’t tell from the name or rather nautical packaging, Watson’s Trawler Rum is a Navy style dark rum, marrying spirits from Barbados and Guyana. The rums have been aged in their…  More info

Watson's Trawler Rum
9
$16.70

Cape Cornwall Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Cape Cornwall

A suitably warming spirit from Cape Cornwall, it's a Spiced Rum! In here you'll find Caribbean rum along with spices including saffron and nutmeg, which is finally blended with Cornish water. We…  More info

Cape Cornwall Spiced Rum
21
$33.37
Best Seller

Plantation Isle of Fiji

70cl, 40%
Plantation

This colourful bottling is Plantation's homage to the Fiji Islands. Distilled from Fijian molasses, it's initially aged for around three years in the tropical climate in bourbon casks, before it's…  More info

Plantation Isle of Fiji
10
$30.53

Rum-Bar Overproof

70cl, 63%
Worthy Park

A blend of three unaged pot still Jamaican rums, this release from Worthy Park Estate is made is 100% Pot Still distilled rum and, unlike other Jamaican rums, it was not created using Dunder pits.…  More info

Rum-Bar Overproof
1
$28.54

Westerhall Estate Jack Iron Rum (69%)

75cl, 69%
Westerhall

Overproof rum from Grenada-based producers, Westerhall Estate. Their Iron Jack is allowed to age in charred oak casks before being bottled at a generous 69% ABV - you'll want to dilute this well with…  More info

Westerhall Estate Jack Iron Rum (69%)
4
$34.30

Smith and Cross Jamaica Rum

70cl, 57%
Smith and Cross

A Navy Strength edition of the classic Smith and Cross Jamaica rum, this stuff is beautiful for sipping neat, and works tremendously well with a couple of ice cubes and a squeeze of lime juice.  More info

Smith and Cross Jamaica Rum
15
$34.77
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Project #173 Coffee Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

We don't know about you, but we find it incredibly interesting that a flavour as powerful and distinctive as coffee manages to pair so well with all kinds of spirits. Whisky, vodka, Tequila, even…  More info

Project #173 Coffee Rum
3
$18.52
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A.H. Riise Black Barrel Navy Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
A. H. Riise

This premium Navy Spiced Rum was distilled by A.H. Riise and infused with a blend of carefully selected secret spices that was then matured for a long time in charred oak cask - hence Black Barrel.  More info

A.H. Riise Black Barrel Navy Spiced Rum
$35.23

Cut Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Cut Rum

Cut Spiced Rum is made with a blend of rums distilled in Jamaica and Trinidad, blended with a selection of botanicals to enhance the flavours. This includes cinnamon, lemon, coriander seed, ginger,…  More info

Cut Spiced Rum
16
$22.73
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Flor de Caña 4 Extra Seco (40%)

70cl, 40%
Flor de Caña

A tasty extra dry rum from Nicaragua, Flor de Caña 4 year old is intended for use as a mixer and it's already won ten international awards!  More info

Flor de Caña 4 Extra Seco (40%)
1
$19.03
Best Seller

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
13
$26.91

Two Swallows Citrus & Salted Caramel (70cl)

70cl, 38%
Rockstar Spirits

It's a 70cl bottle of Two Swallows' Citrus & Salted Caramel spiced rum, which features rum from the Diamond Distillery in Guyana, infused with candied citrus and salted caramel. Perhaps you thought…  More info

Two Swallows Citrus & Salted Caramel (70cl)
5
$25.06

Plantation Guyana 2007

70cl, 51%
Plantation

Plantation has released this intriguing 2007 vintage limited edition rum. From Demerara Distillers in Guyana, this blend of column and pot still rums aged for 13 years in bourbon casks, before…  More info

Plantation Guyana 2007
$67.71

Langs Banana Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Langs

Back in the late 1800s, Langs Banana Rum was first released. At some point between then and now, it disappeared from shelves. This is not where the story ends, however, as that would be incredibly…  More info

Langs Banana Rum
9
$19.25
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Banana Bomb Spiced Rum

50cl, 57%
Rockstar Spirits

Rockstar Spirits, the very same folks behind Pineapple Grenade deliciousness, has crafted Banana Bomb! Oodles of ripe, tropical tastiness to behold in this one, with banana, baking spices and salted…  More info

Banana Bomb Spiced Rum
7
$29.64

Bumbu XO

70cl, 40%
Bumbu

Bumbu Rum XO small batch rum is produced from molasses in a distillery in Panama that dates back more than 120 years! It spent 18 years in American white oak bourbon barrels, and was then treated to…  More info

Bumbu XO
14
$37.13
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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
$33.41

Green Island Superior Light Rum

70cl, 40%
Green Island

A young, light rum from Green Island, a great producer of rum in Mauritius. This is distilled from molasses in a four column still, and the rum in the bottle is aged for between 3 and 5 years in oak.…  More info

Green Island Superior Light Rum
4
$21.96

Hawksbill Spiced Rum

70cl, 38.8%
Hawksbill

A spiced rum here from Hawksbill with a mission – to protect the critically endangered Hawksbill turtle. Rums from Guyana and Trinidad have been bolstered with vanilla, raisin, cinnamon, nutmeg,…  More info

Hawksbill Spiced Rum
5
$24.55
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Project #173 Hazelnut Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

The folks behind Project #173 have been squirreling away some fantastic flavour combinations while they worked on their upcoming releases. But it's time to reveal the latest line-up of gold flecked…  More info

Project #173 Hazelnut Rum
$18.52

Don Q 151°

70cl, 75.5%
Serralles

A blend of aged Puerto Rican rum from Don Q, bottled at 75.5% ABV. Useful for cocktails and mixed drinks when used sparingly.  More info

Don Q 151°
$35.50

The Real McCoy 14 Year Old Limited Edition

70cl, 46%
The Real McCoy

Fabulous 14 year old Foursquare rum here, bottled up as a limited edition for The Real McCoy range! Made from a blend of copper column and pot still rums, matured in bourbon barrels, this is a real…  More info

The Real McCoy 14 Year Old Limited Edition
$71.42

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