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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. 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.

Wood's 100 Old Navy Rum

70cl, 57%
Wood's

Wood's is made from the finest sugar cane and distilled in Guyana, South America. Bottled at 57% abv, it is one of the highest percentage volume dark rums out there right now, at least at this…  More info

Wood's 100 Old Navy Rum
20
$30.66

Worthy Park 8 Year Old - Bristol Spirits

70cl, 43%
Worthy Park

Delicious 8 year old Jamaican rum bottled by Bristol Spirits!  More info

Worthy Park 8 Year Old - Bristol Spirits
$55.90

XM Royal 10 Year Old

70cl, 40%
XM Rum

This is a delicious Guyana rum from Banks DIH, made by ageing spirit in bourbon casks for at least a decade. The rum is then finished in sherry casks for six months before bottling.  More info

XM Royal 10 Year Old
1
$44.88

Zaya 12 Year Old Gran Reserva

70cl, 40%
Zaya

12 year old rum from Trinidad, bottled for the Zaya range. Made with a carefully crafted blend of rums, all of which have aged for at least 12 years, Zaya is a rich, oily, nutty expression. Good…  More info

Zaya 12 Year Old Gran Reserva
$74.33

Zuidam Flying Dutchman White Rum

70cl, 40%
Zuidam

Flying Dutchman White Rum is made with pure cane molasses and may be the first ever European rum! This triple-distilled white rum has been aged for 6 months in oak casks and won a Silver Medal at the…  More info

Zuidam Flying Dutchman White Rum
$31.62

10 Cane Rum

100cl, 40%
Moët Hennessy

A white rum created by Hennessy's Master Distiller, Jean Pineau. He created 10 Cane rum by applying the standards employed by Cognac makers. This is distilled from sugarcane as opposed to the usual…  More info

10 Cane Rum
$37.76

Achino Creola Rhum di Fantasia - 1960s

100cl, 40%
Ditta Achino

This bottle of Achino Creola Rhum di Fantasia dates from the 1960s.  More info

Achino Creola Rhum di Fantasia - 1960s
$174.93

Admiral Rodney Extra Old

70cl, 40%
St. Lucia Distillers

This St Lucian rum is matured in ex-bourbon casks, and is famed for its smoothness. The rum is named after Georges Brydges Rodney, a British naval officer, famous for his tactical acumen, who…  More info

Admiral Rodney Extra Old
1
$52.39

Admiral Vernon's Old J Tiki Fire Spiced Rum

70cl, 75.50%
Old J

A high-strength edition of Admiral Vernon's Old J Spiced Rum, which features plenty of vanilla and a touch of lime peel flavours at its core. The Tiki Fire bottling is presented at an intense 75.5%…  More info

Admiral Vernon's Old J Tiki Fire Spiced Rum
1
$43.67

Alnwick Golden Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Alnwick Rum

Alnwick's is an old rum brand dating from 1914 with this spiced release using rums from the Caribbean, mixed spices, citrus, and other exotic fruit.  More info

Alnwick Golden Spiced Rum
$36.41

Ancient Mariner Navy Rum

50cl, 54%
Ancient Mariner

Ancient Mariner Rum was conceived to revive the classic rum as enjoyed by the Royal Navy up until 1970. After sourcing a sample of the original rum, the recipe was recreated with spirit sourced from…  More info

Ancient Mariner Navy Rum
$54.34

Angostura No.1 First Edition - Cask Collection

70cl, 40%
Angostura

The first in a range of from Angostura called The Cask Collection. No. 1 is a blend of rums between 8 and 10 years old that a married together for another year in first-fill ex-bourbon casks.  More info

Angostura No.1 First Edition - Cask Collection
$51.58

Antich Ron Blanco - 1970s

100cl, 40%
Sarmiento Bembibre

Antich is a once-produced Spanish rum, from Barcelona. This number "77" was bottled sometime in the 1970s. Unusual stuff!  More info

Antich Ron Blanco - 1970s

Appleton 151 Jamaican Rum - 1960s

100cl, 75.50%
Appleton Estate

A 1960s bottling of Appleton 151 Jamaican Rum, an overproof rum that would have been great in cocktails 40 years ago. Not only is it stronger that your average Appleton, this is a bigger 100cl…  More info

Appleton 151 Jamaican Rum - 1960s
$218.66

Appleton Estate 151 proof - 1970s

100cl, 75.50%
J Wray and Nephew

A rare bottling of 151 proof Jamaican rum from the excellent Appleton Estate, dating from the 1970s.  More info

Appleton Estate 151 proof - 1970s
$218.66

Appleton Estate 21 Year Old

70cl, 43%
Appleton Estate

A well-aged 21 year old Jamaican rum from the Appleton Estate. Following maturation this was blended and married in casks for two years.  More info

Appleton Estate 21 Year Old
3
$145.47

Appleton Estate 8 Year Old Reserve

70cl, 43%
Appleton Estate

A dark rum blended from 20 pot and column still rums from Jamaica. This was aged for a minimum of 8 years and it offers lots of dark sugar, and honey character. Great value for money because whilst…  More info

Appleton Estate 8 Year Old Reserve
5
$31.39

Appleton Estate Classic White

70cl, 37.50%
Appleton Estate

Appleton Estate created this as a great mixing rum. Classic White was a Gold Medal winner at the 1998 International Wine and Spirits Competition.  More info

Appleton Estate Classic White
2
$21.92

Appleton Estate V/X - 1980s

75cl, 43%
Appleton Estate

One of the most famous expressions from the Appleton Estate range of Jamaican rums, their V/X is made with a blend of 15 aged rums, resulting in a wonderful, rich flavour profile of peach, orange…  More info

Appleton Estate V/X - 1980s
$145.78

Atlantico Private Cask (75cl)

75cl, 40%
Atlantico

Atlantico Private Cask is a thick, toffee-rich, woody dark rum from the Dominican Republic, blended from small batch rums aged between 15 and 25 years.  More info

Atlantico Private Cask (75cl)
4
$46.01

Bacardi 151 - 1970s

75cl, 75.50%
Bacardi

Bacardi 151, a very strong rum which has been bottled at 75% abv, from the 1970s. The bottle features a sticker informing you that the liquid is flammable, and we feel that this deserves a second…  More info

Bacardi 151 - 1970s
$218.66

Bacardi 151 Rum - 1980s

75cl, 75.50%
Bacardi

This is a high-proof, "151" dark rum from Bacardi - the world's most famous spirit of its kind. This particular bottling was made in the 1980s and is thus rather rare.  More info

Bacardi 151 Rum - 1980s
$72.89

Bacardi 8 Year Old Gift Pack

70cl, 40%
Bacardi

A gift pack including a 70cl bottle of Bacardi's popular 8 year old premium rum and two handsome tumblers.  More info

Bacardi 8 Year Old Gift Pack
$42.03

Bacardi Amber Label - 1970s

175cl, 40%
Bacardi

A 1.75 litre bottling of Puerto Rican dark dry rum from Bacardi. It dates fromthe 1970s and has a built in pourer.  More info

Bacardi Amber Label - 1970s
$255.11

Bacardi Anejo - 1970s

75cl, 40%
Bacardi

Produced in Puerto Rico, this is a great old rum, and a rare bottling of Bacardi too, bottled in the 1970s.  More info

Bacardi Anejo - 1970s

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