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Bajan Rum

The story of Barbadian rum is inseparable from the history of sugarcane on the island. Sugarcane was introduced to the Caribbean by the Portuguese in the 16th century, where it flourished thanks to its fertile soils and tropical climate. The production of sugar from cane brought with it molasses, and it was the fermentation of this byproduct that gave birth to rum in the 17th century.

The oldest surviving commercial rum distillery in the world, Mount Gay, founded in 1703, is a testament to this deep-rooted history. It stands as a beacon of tradition, with techniques refined over centuries still being used today. Other storied distilleries like Foursquare and St. Nicholas Abbey also contribute to the island's legacy, each with their own distinctive methods and flavours.

Distillation Process

Barbadian rum is traditionally made through a combination of pot and column still distillation. Pot stills, the older method of the two, produce rums with more character and heavier flavours due to their batch distillation process and the retention of more congeners. Column stills, on the other hand, allow for continuous distillation, resulting in a lighter, cleaner spirit. Many distillers in Barbados take advantage of both methods, creating blends that are robust and complex while maintaining a certain smoothness and drinkability.

Ageing and Terroir

After distillation, Barbadian rum is often aged in oak barrels, a process that imbues the liquid with colour, complexity, and a host of flavours that can include notes of vanilla, coconut, spice, and toffee. The ageing process in Barbados is accelerated due to the tropical climate, which intensifies the interaction between the wood and the spirit. Consequently, a rum aged for ten years in Barbados may have a depth and complexity comparable to a much older spirit aged in a cooler climate.

The concept of terroir, often associated with wine, is equally relevant to rum. The specific environmental factors, including the soil type, climate, and topography of Barbados, influence the characteristics of the sugarcane and, by extension, the rum. This sense of place is evident in the final product, which can vary from parish to parish.

Flavour Profiles

Barbadian rums are known for their balance and smoothness, with a flavour profile that typically falls between the lighter rums of Spanish-speaking islands and the heavier, more aromatic rums of English-speaking territories. The profile of a typical Barbadian rum might include a sweet, fruity note with undercurrents of spices and a smooth, warm finish—a versatility that makes these rums excellent for both sipping neat and for use in cocktails.

Rum and Bajan Culture

In Barbados, rum is more than just a product; it’s a way of life. It’s found in the rum shops that dot the landscape, where locals gather not just to drink but to socialise debate, and exchange news. It’s in the festivals and celebrations where rum flows freely, uniting Bajans in a shared heritage. And it’s in the cuisine, with rum being a staple ingredient in many Bajan dishes and sauces, showcasing its integral role in the island’s gastronomy.

Global Recognition and Appellation

Barbadian rums have earned their place on the global stage, recognised for their superior quality and distinctive character. The industry on the island is pushing for a Geographical Indication (GI) status, which would protect the authenticity of Barbados rum and ensure that any product labelled as such meets specific production standards. This move towards a GI not only seeks to preserve the traditional methods and history but also to promote sustainable practices and the welfare of those who are a part of the rum-making process.

Modern Innovations

While tradition forms the backbone of Barbadian rum, innovation is not absent from the scene. Distillers are experimenting with new types of barrels for ageing, different fermentation techniques, and even the introduction of local botanicals and fruits to create flavoured rums. These innovations respect the legacy of Barbadian rum while ensuring its relevance to new generations of drinkers.

Rum Tourism

The island has capitalised on its rum heritage by offering tours and experiences that allow visitors to delve into the history and making of this spirit. Distillery tours, rum tastings, and mixology classes are just a few of the attractions that rum enthusiasts can enjoy, providing an immersive experience that goes beyond the bottle.

Barbadian rum is a product of its history, a reflection of its culture, and a celebration of craftsmanship. It’s a spirit that tells a story - a story of an island that has taken what was once a byproduct of the sugar industry and turned it into a world-renowned spirit cherished by many. Whether enjoyed in a Bajan rum punch on a sunny beach or sipped slowly in the quiet of a winter’s evening elsewhere in the world, rum from Barbados carries with it the warmth, complexity, and soul of the island. It’s a tribute to those who have made it for centuries and a legacy that continues to evolve, capturing the hearts of those who appreciate fine spirits across the globe.

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Plantation XO Barbados 20th Anniversary product image
Plantation XO Barbados 20th Anniversary
70 cl / 40% ABV
Full starFull starFull starFull starHalf star
87 Reviews
51.99
Crusty Juggler Black Spiced Rum product image
Crusty Juggler Black Spiced Rum
70 cl / 37.5% ABV
Full starFull starFull starFull starFull star
7 Reviews
37.49
Price Drop
Mount Gay XO Triple Cask Blend product image
Mount Gay XO Triple Cask Blend
70 cl / 43% ABV
Full starFull starFull starFull starFull star
8 Reviews
54.74
59.25 -7%
Jack Ratt Lugger Spiced Rum product image
Jack Ratt Lugger Spiced Rum
70 cl / 40% ABV
Full starFull starFull starFull starHalf star
18 Reviews
37.95
Bumbu Original product image
Bumbu Original
70 cl / 40% ABV
Full starFull starFull starFull starEmpty star
39 Reviews
36.50
Price Drop
Plantation Pineapple Stiggins' Fancy product image
Plantation Pineapple Stiggins' Fancy
70 cl / 40% ABV
Full starFull starFull starFull starHalf star
32 Reviews
33.95
34.95 -2%
Best Seller
Plantation Original Dark Double Aged product image
Plantation Original Dark Double Aged
70 cl / 40% ABV
Full starFull starFull starFull starHalf star
22 Reviews
23.49
24.40 -3%
Admiral Vernon's Old J Tiki Fire Spiced Rum product image
Admiral Vernon's Old J Tiki Fire Spiced Rum
70 cl / 75.5% ABV
Full starFull starFull starFull starHalf star
43 Reviews
47.95
Equiano Rum product image
Equiano Rum
70 cl / 43% ABV
Full starFull starFull starFull starHalf star
13 Reviews
39.99
Plantation 5 Year Old Barbados product image
Plantation 5 Year Old Barbados
70 cl / 40% ABV
Full starFull starFull starFull starEmpty star
19 Reviews
29.90
Cut Spiced Rum product image
Cut Spiced Rum
70 cl / 37.5% ABV
Full starFull starFull starFull starHalf star
19 Reviews
25.94
Discarded Banana Peel Rum product image
Discarded Banana Peel Rum
70 cl / 37.5% ABV
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17 Reviews
29.95
Price Drop
The Kraken Black Spiced Rum product image
The Kraken Black Spiced Rum
70 cl / 40% ABV
Full starFull starFull starFull starEmpty star
110 Reviews
24.99
25.95 -3%
Price Drop
The Kraken Black Spiced Rum - Roast Coffee product image
The Kraken Black Spiced Rum - Roast Coffee
70 cl / 40% ABV
Full starFull starFull starFull starHalf star
23 Reviews
24.99
27.99 -10%
Doorly's 12 Year Old product image
Doorly's 12 Year Old
70 cl / 43% ABV
Full starFull starFull starFull starHalf star
6 Reviews
49.95
Plantation O.F.T.D. product image
Plantation O.F.T.D.
70 cl / 69% ABV
Full starFull starFull starFull starHalf star
9 Reviews
43.14
Price Drop
Plantation Guatemala & Bélize Gran Añejo Rum product image
Plantation Guatemala & Bélize Gran Añejo Rum
70 cl / 42% ABV
Full starFull starFull starFull starFull star
14 Reviews
34.75
35.50 -2%
Master of Malt Rum product image
Master of Malt Rum
70 cl / 42% ABV
Full starFull starFull starFull starHalf star
7 Reviews
24.95
Staff Pick
Plantation 3 Stars White Rum product image
Plantation 3 Stars White Rum
70 cl / 41.2% ABV
Full starFull starFull starFull starEmpty star
6 Reviews
23.90
R L Seale's 10 Year Old product image
R L Seale's 10 Year Old
70 cl / 46% ABV
Full starFull starFull starFull starHalf star
15 Reviews
49.24
Central Galactic Spiced Rum product image
Central Galactic Spiced Rum
70 cl / 43.5% ABV
Full starFull starFull starFull starEmpty star
8 Reviews
25.95