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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

Plantation 3 Stars White Rum

70cl, 41.2%
Plantation

Plantation 3 Stars is a crisp, tasty white rum made by blending spirit produced in Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados. Some of the rums in the blend are aged, though their colour is removed via a process…  More info

Plantation 3 Stars White Rum
6
$25.08
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Project #173 Watermelon Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

Wade into the warmth of the tropics with Project #173's Watermelon Rum, produced by combining a core of quality rum with the natural flavour of watermelon. If the word watermelon makes your mouth…  More info

Project #173 Watermelon Rum
$20.06

Mount Gay Black Barrel Double Cask Blend

70cl, 43%
Mount Gay

This Double Cask Blend edition of Mount Gay Black Barrel rum has been matured for around seven years, before a finishing period in heavily-charred bourbon casks.  More info

Mount Gay Black Barrel Double Cask Blend
7
$36.19

Ron Barceló Gran Añejo

70cl, 37.5%
Ron Barceló

A beautifully smooth, sweet Dominican rum from Ron Barceló, Gran Añejo is a perfect mixer and works tremendously well in a variety of dark rum cocktails, or you could just have it with a few ice…  More info

Ron Barceló Gran Añejo
11
$23.11

Môr-Ladron Organic Gower Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Môr-Ladron

Spiced rum from Môr-Ladron, based on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales. Rested in oak barrels and infused with orange, vanilla, spices, and foraged gorse flower. Shipwrecks, hidden coves, and local…  More info

Môr-Ladron Organic Gower Spiced Rum
1
$30.11

Chairman's Reserve 1931

70cl, 46%
St. Lucia Distillers

Chairman's Reserve 1931 rum from St. Lucia Distillers was made as a tribute to the founder, Denis Barnard, and the year he established the distillery, 1931. The rum marries a blend of both molasses…  More info

Chairman's Reserve 1931
1
$77.40
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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
$47.30

Hampden Estate 8 Year Old

70cl, 46%
Hampden

An impressive Jamaican rum from the Hampden Estate, boasting an age statement of eight years, and a fantastically full-bodied flavour profile. You know those yummy, punchy, estery notes we all love…  More info

Hampden Estate 8 Year Old
2
$60.30
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British West Indies - Remarkable Regional Rums (West Indies Rum & Cane Merchants)

70cl, 43%
West Indies Rum & Cane Merchants

For this expression from the West Indies Rum & Cane Merchants Remarkable Regional Rums range, they used a blend of rums from Barbados and Trinidad, two incredible well-respected rum producing…  More info

British West Indies - Remarkable Regional Rums (West Indies Rum & Cane Merchants)
$34.84
Best Seller

Pirate's Grog 5 Year Old Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Pirate's Grog Rum Ltd

As the fourth expression in the award-winning Pirate's Grog collection, this rum is a result of adding a new dimension to their original golden rum. Built around a 5 year old dark rum, this tipple…  More info

Pirate's Grog 5 Year Old Spiced Rum
2
$29.14

Mt Uncle 12 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)

50cl, 64.9%
Mount Uncle

Pot still rum from Mt Uncle distillery, part of That Boutique-y Rum Company's Return to Oz collection. Made with sugar cane syrup sourced from a local factory, and combined with dunder, this rum then…  More info

Mt Uncle 12 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)
$80.38
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Don Q 151°

70cl, 75.5%
Don Q

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°
$44.67

Plantation Barbados 2013 - Under The Sea

70cl, 50.2%
Plantation

This rum was distilled in 2013 at the West Indies Rum Distillery in Barbados. A blend of column and pot still rums, it was tropically aged for eight years in bourbon casks, before travelling to…  More info

Plantation Barbados 2013 - Under The Sea
$67.30

Angostura 15 Year Old "1787"

70cl, 40%
Angostura

Released in the latter half of 2016, Angostura's 15 Year Old "1787" rum boasts a dark hue and massive flavour profile of dried fruit, toasted oak and robust spice. Ace Trinidadian rum that's…  More info

Angostura 15 Year Old
15
$63.28
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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
$53.27

Doorly's 14 Year Old

70cl, 48%
Doorly's

Another fabulous release from the Doorly's rum range! Doorly's 14 Year Old is a blend of pot and column still rum produced at the Foursquare distillery in Barbados. The spirit has been aged…  More info

Doorly's 14 Year Old
2
$65.84

Diplomático Single Vintage 2007

70cl, 43%
Diplomático

Here we have the 2007 edition of Diplomático Single Vintage. This exceptional Venezuelan rum has been finished in sherry casks, and makes for a fantastically fruity and complex sipper, bound to…  More info

Diplomático Single Vintage 2007
$110.58

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
$27.14

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
$47.20

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
$49.21

Diamond Distillery Port Mourant Pot Still Rum 11 Year Old 2008 (Master of Malt)

70cl, 50%
Diamond Distillery

We've polished up a real diamond here to join our own collection of splendid bottlings. No really – this superb rum hails from Guyana's Diamond distillery! Produced in April 2008 in the distillery's…  More info

Diamond Distillery Port Mourant Pot Still Rum 11 Year Old 2008 (Master of Malt)
1
$45.19

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
30
$32.17

Santa Teresa 1796

70cl, 40%
Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa 1796 is a brandy made in Spain. It is aged for at least four years in American oak casks and has a light, delicate flavour. Santa Teresa is one of the oldest brandies on the market, and…  More info

Santa Teresa 1796
25
$52.72

Mezan Jamaica 2010

70cl, 46%
Monymusk

Column distilled in 2010 at Jamaica's Monymusk distillery, this captivating rum was bottled up by Mezan, after spending a dozen years resting in ex-bourbon casks. Those years were divided between the…  More info

Mezan Jamaica 2010
$54.24

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
$38.16

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