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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.

Bombo 40 Rum - Caramel & Spices

70cl, 40%
Bombo

From the Bombo Rum range made in Cornwall, bottled at 40% ABV and flavoured with caramel and a secret combination of tropical spices. Also, got a particularly angry looking skull on it, as opposed to…  More info

Bombo 40 Rum - Caramel & Spices
11
$29.56

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
1
$36.83

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
$78.87

Devon Rum Co. Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Devon Rum Co.

Devon Rum Co.'s Spiced Rum is made with a blend of pot and column still rums from Jamaica and Guyana, which is brought down to bottling strength with spring water from the eponymous south west…  More info

Devon Rum Co. Spiced Rum
18
$33.74

Dead Man's Fingers Coffee

70cl, 37.5%
Dead Man’s Fingers

A variation on Dead Man's Fingers Spiced Rum (created by the folks from The Rum & Crab Shack in St. Ives) based around the deliciousness of coffee. Well-suited to enjoying as a digestif after a…  More info

Dead Man's Fingers Coffee
17
$22.43

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
$20.44
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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
$33.69

Beach Bum Rum Gold

70cl, 40%
Beach Bum Beverages

A rum from Mauritius here from those Beach Bum Rum folks! This is the Gold variant, distilled from local sugarcane which has also been infused with coconut and vanilla. Lots of rich, toasty notes…  More info

Beach Bum Rum Gold
5
$29.70

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
$127.02

Malecon 17 Year Old 2002 - Rare Proof

70cl, 51.2%
Malecon

2002 vintage Panamanian rum here from the Malecon range, which has been allowed a relaxed rest in oak for 17 years. Following that, it was bottled up as part of the Rare Proof series at 51.2% ABV. A…  More info

Malecon 17 Year Old 2002 - Rare Proof
1
$66.54

Pull The Pin Passion Fruit & Pineapple Silver Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Pull The Pin

A particularly fruit-forward silver rum from Pull The Pin, combining silver rum with the deliciousness of passion fruit and pineapple. This should pair rather well with fruit juices, and perhaps even…  More info

Pull The Pin Passion Fruit & Pineapple Silver Rum
5
$35.33
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Gunroom Navy Rum

50cl, 65%
Gunroom

From the Gunroom Spirit ranges comes a Navy Rum, made with a blends of rums from a number of origins, including Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad, Jamaica and a secret origin too... It's been bottled at a…  More info

Gunroom Navy Rum
1
$35.86

Cornish Rock Dark Spiced Pineapple Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Cornish Rock

A small batch Spiced Pineapple Rum from the Cornish Rock range, which has been produced in Cornwall with Cornish spring water and fuses together spices including cinnamon and allspice along with…  More info

Cornish Rock Dark Spiced Pineapple Rum
2
$32.74

Ron Barceló Imperial

70cl, 38%
Ron Barceló

An excellent Dominican rum, Barceló Imperial was awarded a Gold Medal and also the coveted "Best In Category" title at the 2008 International Cane Spirits Festival. This is aged for between 4 and 10…  More info

Ron Barceló Imperial
21
$32.77

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
$48.20

Cutters Harrismith Rum

50cl, 37.5%
Cutters

Named after Harrismith Beach in Barbados, Harrismith Rum was specifically made for mixing. Sugar cane-based rum and charred barrels were used in an effort to make it so the flavours of the rum carry…  More info

Cutters Harrismith Rum
1
$27.09

Rosemullion Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Rosemullion

From the Rosemullion Distillery down in Cornwall comes a Spiced Rum! It's pot distilled before it's then aged and spiced. The final aromatic spirit is then bottled at 40% ABV in this very handsome…  More info

Rosemullion Spiced Rum
6
$33.29
Best Seller

Flor de Caña 12

70cl, 40%
Flor de Caña

A top quality rum from the Nicaraguan producer, Flor de Caña. This is fine sipping rum, with flavours like toffee apple and buttery vanilla. We love it. We also love the fact that the distillery is…  More info

Flor de Caña 12
34
$34.26

R L Seale's 10 Year Old

70cl, 46%
R L Seales

An excellent rum from Barbados, aged for 10 years before bottling. A wonderfully designed bottle, containing a wonderful rum packed with juicy fruit, nutty spice and lingering floral elements. Now…  More info

R L Seale's 10 Year Old
12
$44.04

Sixtowns Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Sixtowns

The Sixtowns team is back with another excellent spirit – this time it's a spiced rum! Featuring a secret blend of spices, this expression will be marvellous served over ice, or in mixed drinks. We…  More info

Sixtowns Spiced Rum
$40.92

Dead Man's Fingers Cornish Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Dead Man’s Fingers

A spiced rum created by the chaps behind The Rum & Crab Shack in St. Ives (which serves tasty seafood and top rum - sounds excellent to us). Dead Man's Fingers rum is made using a blend of Caribbean…  More info

Dead Man's Fingers Cornish Spiced Rum
67
$21.98

Facundo NEO

70cl, 40%
Bacardi

A comforting premium rum from Bacardi's Facundo range, named after the company's founder. Rums aged up to 8 years are blended and then charcoal filtered to remove the colour for aged notes in a…  More info

Facundo NEO
1
$51.16
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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
$53.67

Bounty Gold Rum

70cl, 40%
St. Lucia Distillers

Saint Lucia’s most popular rum has arrived at MoM Towers! Bounty Premium Gold Rum is a 100% column still rum that was matured for 2 years in ex-Bourbon casks.  More info

Bounty Gold Rum
$22.95

Chamarel Exotic Spices

70cl, 40%
La Rhumerie de Chamarel

A spiced rum from the Mauritius-based Charamel distillery, dubbed Exotic Spices. It takes the Gold Rum, and infuses it with spices in oak casks for three months. A delectably smooth and spicy…  More info

Chamarel Exotic Spices
1
$37.85

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