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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.

New Grove Oak Aged Rum

70cl, 40%
Grays

From the beautiful Island of Mauritius, all the way out in the Indian Ocean, comes the cracking New Grove Oak Aged Rum. A spicy, sensual blend of rums aged between 1 and 15 years. Perfect on ice for…  More info

New Grove Oak Aged Rum
$31.72

New Grove Old Tradition 5 Year Old Rum

70cl, 40%
Grays

This is the New Grove Old Tradition 5 Year Old Rum, matured in a selection of French Limousin casks and port pipes. This Mauritian rum is suited to sipping neat or being used in a cocktail which…  More info

New Grove Old Tradition 5 Year Old Rum
$32.17

New Grove Old Tradition 8 Year Old Rum

70cl, 40%
Grays

8 year old Mauritian rum from the New Grove brand. Suited to slow sipping in the evening, with an ice cube or two if you're lucky enough to be enjoying this in Mauritius.  More info

New Grove Old Tradition 8 Year Old Rum
$44.34

New Grove Plantation Rum

70cl, 42%
Grays

A simple white rum from Mauritius, made by New Grove. Sweet and slightly nutty with a hint of grass, like how you imagine sugar cane should taste. Ought to make good friends with your favourite…  More info

New Grove Plantation Rum
$28.30

New Grove Silver

70cl, 37.5%
Grays

Blended white rum from the New Grove selection of fine expression. Made on the picturesque island of Mauritius. Perfect for cocktails. Sweet and floral, with a hint of spice on the finish. Sling it…  More info

New Grove Silver
$23.52

New Grove Solera 25 Year Old Rum

70cl, 40%
Grays

Solera-aged rum from Mauritius, distilled for the New Grove brand of tasty rums. This limited edition bottling is made using rums aged for at least 25 years, expertly blended to produce a rich,…  More info

New Grove Solera 25 Year Old Rum
1
$167.33

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
$26.17

Nicaragua 12 Year Old 2002 Rum (Berry Bros & Rudd)

70cl, 46%
Berry Brothers and Rudd

A tasty twelve year old Nicaraguan rum distilled in 2000 and bottled by Berry Bros & Rudd in the UK.  More info

Nicaragua 12 Year Old 2002 Rum (Berry Bros & Rudd)
$65.73

Nicaraguan Rum 17 Year Old 1999 - Kill Devil (Hunter Laing)

70cl, 59.5%
Hunter Laing

A cask strength bottling of Nicaraguan rum from Hunter Laing's Kill Devil range. This was distilled in January 1999 and allowed to mature in a single cask for 17 years before being bottled at a…  More info

Nicaraguan Rum 17 Year Old 1999 - Kill Devil (Hunter Laing)
$93.73

NV Caribbean Rhum

70cl, 40%
NV Spirits

The Envy & NV range expanded in 2016 from one Absinthe to a number of different spirits, including this Caribbean white molasses rhum!  More info

NV Caribbean Rhum
$19.24

O'Hara's Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
O'Hara

O'Hara's Spiced Rum features a blend of 3 and 5 year old rums from Guyana as well as 5 year old rum from Trinidad and Tobago at its core. This is combined with vanilla, lime, cinnamon and clove plus…  More info

O'Hara's Spiced Rum
$29.21

O.V.D. Demerara Rum

70cl, 40%
George Morton Ltd

A dark Demerara rum from Guyana. This was aged in oak casks and has a sweet, creamy flavour.  More info

O.V.D. Demerara Rum
14
$20.50

O.V.D. Demerara Rum 1.5l

150cl, 40%
William Grant

The O.V.D. is a blend of Demerara rums and flavoured with spices to create this easy drinking rum in a whopping 1.5 litre bottle.  More info

O.V.D. Demerara Rum 1.5l
$50.05

O.V.D. Demerara Rum 35cl

35cl, 40%
William Grant

A blend of Demerara rums, intended for mixing purposes.  More info

O.V.D. Demerara Rum 35cl
1
$10.98

Old Monk The Legend

100cl, 42.8%
Mohan Meakin Brewery

From the Old Monk range produced by Mohan Meakin in India comes The Legend, a well-aged blended rum presented in a bottle supposedly shaped like the head of H.G. Meakin, the company's founder. Pretty…  More info

Old Monk The Legend
2
$71.86

Old Port East Indian Rum

70cl, 40%
Amrut

A double charcoal-filtered rum produced in India. Packaged in a distinct bell-shaped bottle.  More info

Old Port East Indian Rum
1
$19.92

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
$52.16

Opthimus 18 Rum

70cl, 38%
Oliver & Oliver

Dominican rum matured in an 18 year old Solera system form Oliver & Oliver's Opthimus range.  More info

Opthimus 18 Rum
1
$55.65

Optimum Premium Black Rum 1l

100cl, 37.5%
Toorank

A rich, sweet dark rum, which was imported from the Caribbean to the Netherlands. Should do well with your favourite mixer.  More info

Optimum Premium Black Rum 1l
$24.40

Optimum Ron Blanco Rum 1l

100cl, 37.5%
Toorank

A white rum from the Optimum range, made in the Netherlands using rum imported from the Caribbean.  More info

Optimum Ron Blanco Rum 1l
$24.91

Owney's Original Rum

70cl, 40%
The Noble Experiment NYC

Owney's Original Rum comes to us from The Noble Experiment NYC, established by Bridget C. Firtle in 2012. Named in honour of Owen 'Owney' Madden, a Prohibition-era rum-runner and speak-easy…  More info

Owney's Original Rum
$44.37

Panama 11 Year Old Rum (Berry Bros & Rudd)

70cl, 46%
Berry Brothers and Rudd

This is a bottling of 11 year old rum from Panama in Central America. After it matured in oak for 11 years, developing rich wells of spice and golden syrup notes, Berry Bros. & Rudd decided it was…  More info

Panama 11 Year Old Rum (Berry Bros & Rudd)
$47.50

Panama Don Jose 2003 (bottled 2015) - Isla del Ron

70cl, 53.6%
Don Jose

Single cask rum distilled at Don Jose in Panama in 2003, bottled in 2015 by Isla del Ron at 53.6% abv. 252 bottles were produced.  More info

Panama Don Jose 2003 (bottled 2015) - Isla del Ron
$57.17

Panama Rum 10 Year Old 2004 - Kill Devil (Hunter Laing)

70cl, 46%
Hunter Laing

This is a 2004 vintage Panama rum aged for 10 years in a single cask. It was bottled by the independent whisky and rum bottler Hunter Laing. One of 33 just bottles.  More info

Panama Rum 10 Year Old 2004 - Kill Devil (Hunter Laing)
$51.25

Panama Rum 10 Year Old 2006 - Kill Devil (Hunter Laing)

70cl, 60.5%
Hunter Laing

Single cask 10 year old rum here from an undisclosed distillery in Panama, bottled at cask strength 60.5% - another excellent release from Hunter Laing's Kill Devil range. 264 bottles were produced.  More info

Panama Rum 10 Year Old 2006 - Kill Devil (Hunter Laing)
$72.39

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