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Rum

Popular Rum Types: Dark Rum | White Rum | Spiced 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.

Opthimus 15 Rum

70cl, 38%
Oliver & Oliver

An excellent Solera-aged rum from the Opthimus range, produced by Oliver y Oliver.  More info

Opthimus 15 Rum
$52.46

Legendario Añejo Blanco

70cl, 40%
Legendario

A white Cuban rum, that spent a short time resting in oak barrels prior to a final filtration to remove the colour. Hugely popular in Spain.  More info

Legendario Añejo Blanco
$32.62

Ron Barceló Gran Platinum

70cl, 37.5%
Ron Barceló

The Gran Platinum rum from Dominican Republic producer Ron Barceló is made with rum aged in bourbon barrels, which is then filtered to remove the colour, but not the flavour. The result is rich in…  More info

Ron Barceló Gran Platinum
$21.02

El Dorado 25 Year Old 1986

70cl, 43%
El Dorado

A very special release from Guyana's rum experts El Dorado - the 1986 vintage 25 year old Demerara rum. A blend of rums chosen in 2011 by the late George Robinson, master blender, which were then…  More info

El Dorado 25 Year Old 1986
5
$400.45

New Grove Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Grays

Superbly spiced rum from the island of Mauritius, which sits in the Indian Ocean. New Grove have struck a fine balance between classic sweet rum notes of citrus and honey and the hot notes driven by…  More info

New Grove Spiced Rum
$26.32

Clément Rhum Agricole - 125th Anniversary Edition by JonOne

70cl, 40%
Clément

A special edition of four year old Rhum Agricole, produced by Martinique distillers, Clément, in celebration of their 125th anniversary. The bottle was designed by famous street artist JonOne and is…  More info

Clément Rhum Agricole - 125th Anniversary Edition by JonOne
$52.31

Ron Mulata Añejo 7 Year Old

70cl, 38%
Ron Mulata

The distillers behind Ron Mulata only use Cuban sugar cane syrup to produce their fantastic rum. They also only use 180 litre white oak barrels to age it. This expression, for example, spent 7 long…  More info

Ron Mulata Añejo 7 Year Old
$25.78

Don Q Signature Release Single Barrel 2005

70cl, 40%
Serralles

A single barrel expression from Puerto Rican rum brand Don Q, distilled in 2005 and aged in American white oak. Single cask rum isn't seen all that often, but is often very exciting indeed! The folks…  More info

Don Q Signature Release Single Barrel 2005
$43.18

St Aubin Rhum Agricole Vanilla

50cl, 40%
St Aubin

St Aubin Agricole Rhum Vanilla is a delicious, laid back rum combined with vanilla grown on the St Aubin plantations in Mauritius. The sugary addition from the vanilla makes this an excellent rum for…  More info

St Aubin Rhum Agricole Vanilla
$28.60

Doorlys 3 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Doorly's

This white rum from the Foursquare distillery in Barbados is perfect for a variety of rum-based cocktails.  More info

Doorlys 3 Year Old
$23.54

Plantation Jamaica 2002

70cl, 42%
Plantation

A 2002 vintage rum from an undisclosed distillery in Jamaica, bottled by French-owned company Plantation Rum.  More info

Plantation Jamaica 2002
$39.35

Porfidio Triple Distilled Plata Rum

70cl, 45%
Porfidio

From the Porfidio range comes a triple distilled white rum, presented in a bottle which features a glass palm tree in the middle - just like how their triple distilled agave spirit has a glass cactus…  More info

Porfidio Triple Distilled Plata Rum
$40.55

Ron Cubay 10 Year Old - Reserva Especial

70cl, 40%
Cuba Ron

Wonderful Cuban rum which has enjoyed a rather lengthy maturation (for a rum). 10 years in the cask has given this beauty bags of character, flavour and an glorious mahogany hue.  More info

Ron Cubay 10 Year Old - Reserva Especial
1
$41.05

Doorly's 12 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Doorly's

The 12 year old Doorly's Rum has finally made it to our shores! Top stuff from a top range, expect masses of tropical fruit, chewy caramel, leafy tobacco and fragrant oak notes throughout gorgeous…  More info

Doorly's 12 Year Old
3
$38.10

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°
$44.43

Port Morant 25 Year Old 1990 Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish (Bristol Spirits)

70cl, 46%
Port Morant

25 year old demerara rum! Bottle by Bristol Spirits in 2015, it was distilled in Guyana back in 1990.  More info

Port Morant 25 Year Old 1990 Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish (Bristol Spirits)
$171.18

Sailor Jerry 1.5l

150cl, 40%
Sailor Jerry

The eponymous spiced rum named for Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins, a world famous tattoo artists who created the recipe whilst working at sea.  More info

Sailor Jerry 1.5l
16
$42.64

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
$26.38

Burke’s Fine Old Original Jamaica Rum - 1990s

70cl, 75%
Burke's

White Jamaican rum, made by Burke's in the 1990s. In great condition, it still even has the straw tied around it - a collectible piece.  More info

Burke’s Fine Old Original Jamaica Rum - 1990s
$101.18

Sweden Rock Holy Spirit Gold Label Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Herman Jansen

Holy Spirit Gold Label is an aged rum from Barbados, released by the chaps behind the Sweden Rock Festival. Plenty of creamy vanilla, tropical fruit and a touch of chocolate - enjoy in a cocktail,…  More info

Sweden Rock Holy Spirit Gold Label Rum
$41.71

Brugal Ron Blanco Especial Extra Dry Rum

70cl, 40%
Brugal

Classic white rum from Dominican producers, Brugal, which is aged for at least one year to mellow out some of the overly intense qualities of rum straight from the still. This tasty rum is no…  More info

Brugal Ron Blanco Especial Extra Dry Rum
$21.98

Plantation Trinidad 2003

70cl, 42%
Plantation

2003 vintage rum from Trinidad, bottled for the excellent Plantation Rum range. This was distilled in column stills and aged in white oak casks before being bottled at 42% ABV.  More info

Plantation Trinidad 2003
$39.42

Barbancourt 3 Star (4 Year Old)

70cl, 40%
Barbancourt

A popular bottling from the superb Barbancourt range of rhums and rhums agricole. 3 star is actually a 4 year old expression rum exhibits classic Haitian character.  More info

Barbancourt 3 Star (4 Year Old)
4
$27.98

Clément 8 Year Old 2005 (cask 20100201) - Single Cask

50cl, 41.6%
Clément

Single cask 8 year old Rhum Agricole from Clément, aged in a bourbon cask from October 2005 to June 2014. Only 497 bottles were release - very interesting Martinican rhum right here...  More info

Clément 8 Year Old 2005 (cask 20100201) - Single Cask
$45.36

Mocambo 10 Year Old Cask Aged Mexican Rum

70cl, 40%
Licores Veracruz

A 10 year old Mexican rum from Mocambo, presented in a bottle that might look a tiny little bit like an aftershave bottle. Rather fancy indeed.  More info

Mocambo 10 Year Old Cask Aged Mexican Rum
$36.26

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