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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.

Bacardi 8 Year Old

70cl, 40.0%
Bacardi

Bacardi's premium rum release, the 8 year old is blended with rums aged for between 8 and 16 years.  More info

Bacardi 8 Year Old
8
$29.77

Bacardi Black

70cl, 40.0%
Bacardi

A lovely dark rum, now bottled at 40% (as opposed to 37.5%), from stalwart producers Bacardi. This is rich, full and spicy and works brilliantly in a variety of cocktails…  More info

Bacardi Black
$32.00

Bacardi Carta Blanca (70cl) - 1990s

70cl, 37.5%
Bacardi

A 70cl bottling of white rum from Bacardi dating from the 1990s. This bottle was part of a private collection. More detailed information and photographs of this item are available, please…  More info

Bacardi Carta Blanca (70cl) - 1990s
$104.31

Bacardi Carta Blanca (75cl) - 1980s

75cl, 37.5%
Bacardi

This collectible bottle of Bacardi Carta Blanca white rum was produced in the power-suited, big-haired decade known as the 1980s. Heady days indeed.  More info

Bacardi Carta Blanca (75cl) - 1980s
$130.39

Bacardi Carta Blanca - 1970s

75cl, 40.0%
Bacardi

Bacardi's classic white rum, just the ticket for those Daiquiris you've been wanting to make. This bottle was produced in the 1970s.  More info

Bacardi Carta Blanca - 1970s
$156.46

Bacardi Carta Blanca 1.5l

150cl, 37.5%
Bacardi

A magnum of the classic Carta Blanca white rum from Bacardi. First created by Don Facundo Bacardi, a Spaniard who travelled to Cuba as a teenager.  More info

Bacardi Carta Blanca 1.5l
4
$55.39

Bacardi Carta Blanca 1.5l

150cl, 37.5%
Bacardi

A 1.5 litre bottling of the one of the world's best-selling spirits! Bacardi was first created in Cuba but moved to Puerto Rico rather than face nationalisation. Thanks to its stint in Cuba, the…  More info

Bacardi Carta Blanca 1.5l
$52.52

Bacardi Carta Blanca 37.5% - 1970s

75cl, 37.5%
Bacardi

A rare old bottling of classic Bacardi white rum from Funky Nassau, Bahamas. This bottle was part of a private collection. More detailed information and photographs of this item are available,…  More info

Bacardi Carta Blanca 37.5% - 1970s
$156.46

Bacardi Carta Blanca 40% - 1980s

Bacardi

Bacardi's classic Carta Blanca white rum, produced in the 1980s. Sadly, this collectible bottle from over 20 years ago does not actually feature a volume, but we believe it to be a 1 litre…  More info

Bacardi Carta Blanca 40% - 1980s
$130.39

Bacardi Carta Blanca Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Bacardi

A white rum which needs very little introduction, Bacardi's Carta Blanca is incredible popular indeed, seen on backbars around the world. The Bacardi brand originated in Cuba, and the first…  More info

Bacardi Carta Blanca Rum
$20.27

Bacardi Carta de Oro - 1980s

100cl, 40.0%
Bacardi

This is a 1980's bottling of Barcardi's golden rum. Barcardi fled Cuba when Fidel Castro wanted the distillery for himself, well you can't blame the guy....  More info

Bacardi Carta de Oro - 1980s
$156.46

Bacardi Carta de Oro Dark Dry - 1970s

75cl, 40.0%
Bacardi

A 75cl bottle of gold rum from Bacardi dating from the 1970s. This bottle was part of a private collection. More detailed information and photographs of this item are available, please contact…  More info

Bacardi Carta de Oro Dark Dry - 1970s
$156.46

Bacardi Carta Fuego Spirit Drink

70cl, 40.0%
Bacardi

A warming spiced-rum-based-spirit-drink from Bacardi, with a focus on the fiery notes of cinnamon. Bacardi Carta Fuego ages in torched oak barrels for at least a year and is charcoal filtered before…  More info

Bacardi Carta Fuego Spirit Drink
$24.72

Bacardi Carta Negra 40%

70cl, 40.0%
Bacardi

Rich, sweet dark rum from one of the most well known spirits brands in the world - Bacardi. This bottling of Bacardi Carta Negra has been bottled at a slightly-higher-than-usual 40% ABV, and still…  More info

Bacardi Carta Negra 40%
1
$21.67

Bacardi Carta Oro 40%

70cl, 40.0%
Bacardi

Bacardi is a world-class back-bar staple rum which was originally created in Cuba in the 1800s, though now produced in Puerto Rico. Bacardi Carta Oro is one of the most popular gold rums in the…  More info

Bacardi Carta Oro 40%
$24.13

Bacardi Gran Reserva Maestro De Ron 1l

100cl, 40.0%
Bacardi

A Travel Retail bottling of Bacardi Gran Reserva Maestro De Ron, a made with rum aged up to three years and slow filtered through coconut shell charcoal. The label calls it a "sipping rum", and it is…  More info

Bacardi Gran Reserva Maestro De Ron 1l
$43.63

Bacardi Reserva

70cl, 40.0%
Bacardi

This is a fairly rare golden rum from, veteran rum producer Bacardi. This rum has been aged in oak casks and has been charcoal filtered.  More info

Bacardi Reserva
$37.92

Bacardi Reserva Limitada

100cl, 40.0%
Bacardi

A rather rare sight on these shores, Bacardi Reserva Limitada rum was originally only available from the distillery's gift shop! It's made with a blend of well-aged Puerto Rican rums, resulting in a…  More info

Bacardi Reserva Limitada
$216.22

Bacardi Reserve - 1980s

70cl, 37.5%
Bacardi

A 1980s bottling from Bacardi. Rum geeks? Christmas has come early.  More info

Bacardi Reserve - 1980s
$130.39

Balcones Texas Rum

75cl, 63.9%
Balcones

The Balcones distillers in Waco, Texas, have only gone and made their own rum! It's a molasses-based rum which has been double distilled and aged in a variety of casks with differing toast levels and…  More info

Balcones Texas Rum
2
$108.60

Bandama Ron Las Canadas - 1970s

75cl, 0.0%
Bandama

1970s rum. Let's all have a Daiquiri!  More info

Bandama Ron Las Canadas - 1970s
$104.31

Banks 5 Island Rum

70cl, 43.0%
Banks

Banks 5 Island is a blend of five rums from distilleries in Trinidad, Barbados, Trinidad and Guyana. They add a little Batavia Arrack from Java and the result is a beautiful cocktail rum. Highly…  More info

Banks 5 Island Rum
$44.37

Banks 7 Island Rum

70cl, 43.0%
Banks

This is a follow-up to the successful Banks 5 Island Rum which is a blend of rums from five Caribbean islands, the Banks 7 Islands is unsurprisingly a blend of rums from seven Caribbean islands.…  More info

Banks 7 Island Rum
$48.39

Barbancourt 2004 (Bottled 2014) - Bristol Spirits

70cl, 43.0%
Barbancourt

A reserve 'rum' made from pure sugar cane rather than molasses (i.e. rhum) from Haiti, distilled at La société du Rhum Barbancourt in 2004 and bottled in the UK a decade later by Bristol Spirits.  More info

Barbancourt 2004 (Bottled 2014) - Bristol Spirits
$60.73

Barbancourt 3 Star (4 Year Old)

70cl, 40.0%
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
$28.84

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