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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.

Zuidam Flying Dutchman Premium Rum No.1

70cl, 40%
Zuidam

Zuidam is said to have been the first rum producer in Europe, certainly the first in the Netherlands. Their Premium Rum No.1 is made from pure cane molasses, triple distilled in pot stills and aged…  More info

Zuidam Flying Dutchman Premium Rum No.1
$35.68
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Zhú Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Zhú Spirits

Adventurous spirit enthusiasts, step forward – Zhú Spiced Rum is a truly unique spirit. Inspired by the flavours of East Asia, Zhú Spiced Rum is made with a blend of Chinese five spice and an…  More info

Zhú Spiced Rum
2
$35.94

YD Spiced Golden Rum

70cl, 40%
Yorkshire Dales Distillery

This isn't the first rum we've seen from the Yorkshire Dales Distillery, though it is the first spiced rum! The golden rum is packed full of warming spices for a smooth and aromatic spirit, great for…  More info

YD Spiced Golden Rum
$25.62

Worthy Park Single Estate Reserve

70cl, 45%
Worthy Park

Announced in 2017, Worth Park's Single Estate Reserve is one of the first official releases from the distillers in Jamaica, with other bottlings from Worthy Park released under the Rum-Bar name. This…  More info

Worthy Park Single Estate Reserve
4
$49.25

Worthy Park 109

100cl, 54.5%
Worthy Park

A marvellous Jamaican rum from Worthy Park, copper pot distilled from estate-grown sugar cane molasses. The rum spends a short stay in American oak and ex-bourbon casks, before blending and bottling…  More info

Worthy Park 109
1
$38.24

Wooden Moose Coffee, Cocoa & Caramelised Chipotle Spiced Rum

50cl, 40%
Wooden Moose

Coffee and cocoa are likely flavours you've seen in rum before – but caramelised chipotle? Now this is something new! Wooden Moose has combined all three in this spiced rum, with aged Caribbean rum…  More info

Wooden Moose Coffee, Cocoa & Caramelised Chipotle Spiced Rum
$24.60

Wooden Moose Caramelised Pineapple & Passionfruit Spiced Rum

50cl, 40%
Wooden Moose

A juicy, fruity spiced rum from the Wooden Moose range! A base of Guyanese rum has been treated to the addition of caramelised pineapple and tangy passion fruit. This is sure to make some rather…  More info

Wooden Moose Caramelised Pineapple & Passionfruit Spiced Rum
$24.60

Wooden Moose Caramelised Banana & Peanut Butter Spiced Rum

50cl, 40%
Wooden Moose

Banana and peanut butter – an age-old (and delicious) combination. Now, the folks behind Wooden Moose have put it into its spiced rum! Made with a base of Guyanese rum, it's rich, nutty, and subtly…  More info

Wooden Moose Caramelised Banana & Peanut Butter Spiced Rum
$24.60

Wing Walker Rum

70cl, 40%
Wing Walker

Wing Walker Rum is made using a blend of pot distilled rums from Venezuela and Dominica, offering up notes of caramel, citrus peels and vanilla. Suitable for bringing some warming, well-rounded…  More info

Wing Walker Rum
2
$40

Windsong White Rum

70cl, 40%
Peggy's Rum

This white rum comes from Peggy's Rum on the Isle of Man. With a gently sweet, crisp character, this is wonderfully balanced – should be ideal for mixing up some Mojitos we reckon!  More info

Windsong White Rum
2
$35.90

William Hinton 6 Year Old Whisky Cask Matured

70cl, 42%
William Hinton

You've sampled Madeira wine - now familiarise yourself with William Hinton's range of Madeira-made rums! The brand founder's eponymous distillery can trace its roots back to 1845, when its agricole…  More info

William Hinton 6 Year Old Whisky Cask Matured
$80.55

William Hinton 6 Year Old

70cl, 40%
William Hinton

A limited edition rum from William Hinton, which takes a blend of Madeiran agricole rum and ages it for six years. Just one cask maturation wasn't enough, and those William Hinton folks aged the…  More info

William Hinton 6 Year Old
$70.85

William George Rum

70cl, 43%
William George

William George Rum is the creation of bartender Andrew Nicholls, named to honour his two grandfathers, William and George. The rum was distilled in Jamaican pot stills and Trinidadian column stills,…  More info

William George Rum
2
$43.12
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Wild Tiger Spiced Rum

70cl, 38%
Wild Tiger

Wild Tiger is a premium rum brand from India that has launched its very first spiced rum, made from sugar cane distillates, molasses and sugarcane juice in Kerala, South India. It's a column…  More info

Wild Tiger Spiced Rum
9
$21.91

Wild Tiger Special Reserve Rum

70cl, 40%
Wild Tiger

The uniquely presented Wild Tiger Special Reserve Rum comes to us from India, and is aged in American oak barrels before being bottled at 40% ABV. It'll certainly stand out on your back-bar.  More info

Wild Tiger Special Reserve Rum
9
$19.89

Wildjac Honey Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Wildjac

An aged, spiced rum from Wildjac with a Worcestershire twist! The rum itself is produced from sustainably sourced sugar cane grown in Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Honduras. The spirit is aged…  More info

Wildjac Honey Spiced Rum
1
$29.79

Wildjac Cherry Wood Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Wildjac

A tasty spiced rum from the Wildjac team, featuring oodles of fruity notes, perfect for enjoying over ice on a hot evening. We can see this going particular well with cola – or cherry cola, if you're…  More info

Wildjac Cherry Wood Spiced Rum
$30.81

White Peak Cask Aged Rum

50cl, 47%
White Peak Distillery

Created from scratch in Derbyshire and made using solidified sugar cane juice imported from South America which is blended with molasses before fermentation, distillation, maturation and bottling at…  More info

White Peak Cask Aged Rum
2
$33.84

White Hare Spiced Rum

70cl, 43%
White Hare Distillery

This spice rum from the White Hare Distillery takes inspiration from a rather interesting source – Welsh Cakes! Featuring the likes of vanilla, orange, and a selection of spices, you can expect for…  More info

White Hare Spiced Rum
$46.22

Wester Spiced Rum

50cl, 40%
Wester Spirit Co.

A spiced rum from the Wester team up in Glasgow, infused with a fab selection of natural spice, making for a full and fantastic flavour profile. Suitable for sipping over ice, and rather good with a…  More info

Wester Spiced Rum
$27.68

Westerhall White Jack (69%)

75cl, 69%
Westerhall

From the Westerhall Estate in Grenada comes their White Jack overproof white rum, which has been bottled at 69% ABV. Use sparingly in rum punches and cocktails.  More info

Westerhall White Jack (69%)
$37.82

Westerhall No.7 Rum

70cl, 40%
Westerhall

Westerhall Rum No.7 was unveiled in mid-2016 as part of the Westerhall Estate range redesign, taking the place of their Westerhall Dark Rum. It's been aged for 7 years, during which time its taken on…  More info

Westerhall No.7 Rum
1
$30.50

Westerhall No.5 Rum

70cl, 43%
Westerhall

Replacing the Westerhall Plantation Rum (Westerhall's range underwent a redesign in mid-2016), Westerhall Rum No.5 is a great base for all manner of fruity rum cocktails.  More info

Westerhall No.5 Rum
1
$28.70

Westerhall No.3 Rum

70cl, 40%
Westerhall

The entry-level expression from Westerhall Estate's range, which was redesigned in mid-2016, is their Westerhall Rum No.3 (which replaces the Westerhall Superb Light). An elegant, sweet rum from…  More info

Westerhall No.3 Rum
2
$25.93
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Westerhall No.2 Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Westerhall

A great value-for-money white rum from the Westerhall Estate in Grenada, tying into their number-based expression style bottlings. Suitable for use in all manner of cocktails and mixed drinks.  More info

Westerhall No.2 Rum
1
$25.31

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