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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.

Bacardi Gold 37.5%

70cl, 37.50%
Bacardi

Bacardi Gold was created in 1862 in Cuba. Today it is produced in Puerto Rico and it is the world's most popular gold rum. Sometimes known as "Oro".  More info

Bacardi Gold 37.5%
1
$24.32

Bacardi Oro (Gold) - 1970s

75cl, 40%
Bacardi

Rum rum rum. Rum for my Tum. From the 1970s.  More info

Bacardi Oro (Gold) - 1970s
$115.38

Bacardi Reserve

75cl, 40%
Bacardi

This is an old bottling of the Bacardi golden rum known as the Bacardi Reserve.  More info

Bacardi Reserve
$58.83

Bacardi Superior 1l - 1980s

100cl, 37.50%
Bacardi

A bottling of the ever-popular club standard, Bacardi Superior, that dates from the 1980s.  More info

Bacardi Superior 1l - 1980s
$115.38

Bacardi Superior 1l - 1990s

100cl, 38%
Bacardi

Let me introduce my good friend Ron (rum in Spanish). This one litre bottling of Bacardi Superior rum comes from the 1990s.  More info

Bacardi Superior 1l - 1990s
$86.54

Backum Hans Moser - 1960s

100cl, 46%
Oswin Juan Moser

Rare Argentinian rum dating from the 1960s.  More info

Backum Hans Moser - 1960s
$145.79

Baldoni Creola (Rhum Fantasia) - 1960s

100cl, 48%
M.O. Baldoni

A Rhum Fantasia made by Baldoni in Ancona, Italy. This antique bottle was produced over 40 years ago in the 1960s. This is a 100cl bottle, larger than most.  More info

Baldoni Creola (Rhum Fantasia) - 1960s
$173.07

Barbados Rum 12 Year Old 1998 (Berry Bros. & Rudd)

70cl, 46%
Berry Brothers and Rudd

Bottled by Berry Brothers & Rudd, this Bajan rum has been aged for an impressive twelve years.  More info

Barbados Rum 12 Year Old 1998 (Berry Bros. & Rudd)
$53.97

Barbados Rum 13 Year Old 1998 (Berry Bros. & Rudd)

70cl, 46%
Berry Brothers and Rudd

A 13 year old rum released by Berry Brothers & Rudd, distilled in Barbados.  More info

Barbados Rum 13 Year Old 1998 (Berry Bros. & Rudd)
$64.21

Barbados Rum 14 Year Old (Berry Bros. & Rudd)

70cl, 46%
Berry Brothers and Rudd

From the Berry Bros. & Rudd selection of independently bottled rums comes a full-bodied Barbados rum, which was matured for 14 years before being bottled. A very fruit-forward expression, with…  More info

Barbados Rum 14 Year Old (Berry Bros. & Rudd)
$64.86

Barbancourt 15 Year Old

70cl, 43%
Barbancourt

Originally launched during the 1960s, column stills are now used prior to a 15 year maturation in Limousin white oak barrels.  More info

Barbancourt 15 Year Old
4
$58.69

Barbancourt 3 Star - 1970s

75cl, 43%
Barbancourt

Barbancourt Rhum comes from Haiti and is often made with sugar cane juice rather than molasses. This bottle of their 3 Star Rhum, which is aged for four years, was produced in the 1970s - very…  More info

Barbancourt 3 Star - 1970s
$288.46

Barbancourt 5 Star - 1970s

75cl, 43%
Barbancourt

A 1970s bottling of 5 Star rhum from the Barbancourt range, which was produced in Haiti. The range is still available today, as is the 5 Star expression.  More info

Barbancourt 5 Star - 1970s
$360.57

Bardinet Rhum Negrita - 1950s

75cl, 0%
Bardinet Distillery

An antique bottle of Bardinet Rhum Negrita, a rum made with sugar cane rather than molasses, produced in the 1950s. Rare and very collectible. Please note that the label does not state the ABV of…  More info

Bardinet Rhum Negrita - 1950s
$288.46

Bardinet Rhum Negrita - 1980s

100cl, 44%
Bardinet Distillery

A bottling of Bardinet Rhum Negrita from the 1980s, a rare and collectible Caribbean rum.  More info

Bardinet Rhum Negrita - 1980s
$115.38

Bardinet Ron Negrita - 1970s

75cl, 43%
Bardinet Distillery

This is a delicious dark rum from the French Antilles, it was bottled in the 1970s by the French company Bardinet. Very rare.  More info

Bardinet Ron Negrita - 1970s
1
$86.54

Bellevue 14 Year Old 1998 Rum (cask 4) (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 52.30%
Bellevue

A superb single cask rum from Bellevue, Guadeloupe. Bottled by Duncan Taylor with an outturn of 263.  More info

Bellevue 14 Year Old 1998 Rum (cask 4) (Duncan Taylor)
$90.46

Bellevue 16 Year Old - WM Cadenhead

70cl, 57.10%
Bellevue

Would you look at this - independently bottled rum from WM Cadenhead, one of Scotland's oldest indie bottlers! This is a 16 year old rum from the Bellevue distillery in Guadeloupe, which was bottled…  More info

Bellevue 16 Year Old - WM Cadenhead
$79.95

Bellevue 17 Year Old - Cask Strength (WM Cadenhead)

70cl, 54.30%
Bellevue

A 17 year old rum produced at the Bellevue distillery in Guadeloupe, bottled at cask strength by one of Scotland's oldest independent bottlers, WM Cadenhead. This weighs in at a generous 54.3% ABV,…  More info

Bellevue 17 Year Old - Cask Strength (WM Cadenhead)
$76.80

Bellevue Distillery 15 Year Old 1998 (cask 88) - Single Cask Rum (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 51.40%
Bellevue

A Duncan Taylor bottling of single cask rum from the Bellevue distillery in Guadeloupe. It was distilled in March 1998 and bottled in February 2014 with an outturn of 213 bottles of 15 year old rum,…  More info

Bellevue Distillery 15 Year Old 1998 (cask 88) - Single Cask Rum (Duncan Taylor)
$65.57

Bielle 1998 Rhum Vieux Agricole

70cl, 45%
Distillerie Bielle

A 1998 vintage Rhum Vieux Agricole from the Rhum Bielle distillery on the small island of Marie-Galante, which can be found just south of Guadeloupe. It comes presented in a wonderfully stylish…  More info

Bielle 1998 Rhum Vieux Agricole
$144.17

Bielle 2003 Brut de Fût Rhum Vieux Agricole

70cl, 52.90%
Distillerie Bielle

Cask strength rhum vieux agricole from Rhum Bielle, distilled using fermented sugar cane juice on the small island of Marie-Galante, just south of Guadeloupe. This particular release is bottled…  More info

Bielle 2003 Brut de Fût Rhum Vieux Agricole
$87.14

Bielle Rhum Agricole Blanc

50cl, 59%
Distillerie Bielle

This is a blanc rhum agricole from the Rhum Bielle, located on the small island of Marie-Galante, located just south of Guadeloupe. It's been bottled at 59% ABV, preserving its intense, grassy and…  More info

Bielle Rhum Agricole Blanc
$30.06

Black Tot Last Consignment

70cl, 54.30%
Speciality Drinks

Forty years after Black Tot Day in 1970, the day when the British Royal Navy's 300 year old practice of daily rum rations stopped, the Black Tot Last Consignment gives us insight into the history of…  More info

Black Tot Last Consignment
$719.89

Blue Mauritius Gold

70cl, 40%
Stanford Cove

Blue and gold, two colours that generally don't go together, but in Mauritius they go hand in hand. Blue seas and gold sands, they're a perfect match. Also, the Blue Mauritius Gold, a gorgeous rum…  More info

Blue Mauritius Gold
1
$59.68

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