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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.

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
2
$40.32

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
5
$63.35
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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
3
$18.68
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Bacardi Carta Blanca Rum (50ml)

5cl, 37.5%
Bacardi

This is a 50ml bottling of Bacardi Carta Blanca, a well-loved Puerto Rican rum that is known the world over. If you're looking for a tasty little gift for someone who loves fab spirits, this ought to…  More info

Bacardi Carta Blanca Rum (50ml)
1
$5.96

Bacardi Carta Negra (40%)

70cl, 40%
Bacardi

Rich, sweet dark rum from one of the most well known spirits brands in the world - Bacardi. Carries a flavour profile packed with dark coffee, molasses and cinnamon. A perfect dark rum for cocktails…  More info

Bacardi Carta Negra (40%)
4
$22.74

Bacardi Carta Oro 40%

70cl, 40%
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%
1
$21.80

Bacoo 4 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Bacoo

This tasty rum comes to you all the way from the Dominican Republic, thanks to Bacoo! Distilled from fresh cane juice, it's been aged in barrels which previously held bourbon for four years before…  More info

Bacoo 4 Year Old
$31.11

Bacoo 7 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Bacoo

This seven year old rum from Bacoo hails from the Dominican Republic, having spent its ageing in bourbon casks. It's rich and tropical, perfect for some dark rum cocktails, or keep it simple with a…  More info

Bacoo 7 Year Old
$34.23

Balla Black Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Cockspur

Spiced rum from the folks behind the Cockspur rum range, built around spiced from the Caribbean. They recommend serving it in a Zombie cocktail, or simply mixed with cola and a good wedge of lime for…  More info

Balla Black Spiced Rum
18
$24.87
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Banana Bomb Spiced Rum

50cl, 57%
Rock Star Spirits

Rockstar Spirits, the very same folks behind Pineapple Grenade deliciousness, has crafted Banana Bomb! Oodles of ripe, tropical tastiness to behold in this one, with banana, baking spices and salted…  More info

Banana Bomb Spiced Rum
5
$32.72
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Banditti Club

50cl, 44%
The Glasgow Distillery Co.

A spiced rum from The Glasgow Distillery Co.! Banditti Club is, funnily enough, named after the Banditti Club, a group of rogues who used to gather in Glasgow’s pubs, singing, eating and playing…  More info

Banditti Club
21
$24.77

Banks 5 Island Rum

70cl, 43%
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
1
$34.27

Banks 7 Island Rum

70cl, 43%
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
$39.46

Barbados 2001 (bottled 2021) (cask 4) - Samaroli

70cl, 54%
Samaroli

An indie bottling of well-aged rum all the way from Barbados, distilled back in 2001. Eventually, in 2021, it was bottled up in Scotland by Samaroli, a company with a long history of bottling…  More info

Barbados 2001 (bottled 2021) (cask 4) - Samaroli
$210.82

Barbados Rum 2007 (bottled 2021) (cask 11) - Samaroli

70cl, 45%
Samaroli

Italian indie bottler Samaroli has got its hands on another excellent rum here, this time distilled in Barbados! It was matured in a single cask that was laid down back in 2007, and eventually…  More info

Barbados Rum 2007 (bottled 2021) (cask 11) - Samaroli
$115.25

Barbancourt 2004 - Bristol Spirits

70cl, 43%
Barbancourt

From La Société du Rhum Barbancourt in Haiti comes this superb sugar cane based rum, or rather rhum, independently bottled by Bristol Spirits. Distilled in 2004, the rum was matured until bottling in…  More info

Barbancourt 2004 - Bristol Spirits
$84.09

Barbican Botanics Spiced Rum

50cl, 40%
Barbican Botanics

A spiced rum from Barbican Botanics, distilled in South West England, with the addition of figs, orange and a whole load of baking spices. It's rested in charred American oak casks before it's…  More info

Barbican Botanics Spiced Rum
$34.23

Base Spirits Dark Rum

70cl, 40%
Base Spirits

Dark rum is a fab spirit for cocktails, offering up vibrant fruit notes alongside rich, warming spices from its maturation. That'll be why Base Spirits has created its own Dark Rum that has been…  More info

Base Spirits Dark Rum
$22.80
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Base Spirits Dark Rum (10L)

1000cl, 40%
Base Spirits

We love dark rum-based cocktails, and we know that's a common thing. They're very good, so it makes sense. Bars end up going through plenty of dark rum as a result of this, so it also makes sense…  More info

Base Spirits Dark Rum (10L)
$287.28

Batch Broken Biscuits Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Batch Spirits

This expression from Batch Spirits was created by the team's junior distiller Ryan, inspired by the biscuits of local biscuit luminaries, Farmhouse Biscuits. Based on the flavours of Farmhouse…  More info

Batch Broken Biscuits Rum
$36.31

Batch PX Sherry Cask Rum

70cl, 53%
Batch Spirits

A wonderfully festive aged Caribbean rum from Batch which spent its days maturing in a Pedro Ximénez sherry cask that the folks at the distillery picked up on a family holiday to Córdoba! The rum…  More info

Batch PX Sherry Cask Rum
$48.78

Batch Totally Tropical Rum

70cl, 40%
Batch Spirits

Yet another intriguing expression from the Batch folks. This is their Totally Tropical Rum, which is made with Caribbean white rum that is naturally flavoured and then aged with mango and mandarin.…  More info

Batch Totally Tropical Rum
$36.31

Bayou Pink

70cl, 37.5%
Bayou Rum

For this Pink expression, Bayou has taken a base of its White Rum, produced in Louisiana, and blended it with mayhaw berries, a local small, tart berry that looks rather like a cranberry. Some lovely…  More info

Bayou Pink
1
$20.67

Bayou Select Rum

70cl, 40%
Bayou Rum

Taking inspiration from early Louisiana rum makers, Bayou Select Rum aged in American oak casks, resulting in a tipple which should appeal to rum and whisky enthusiasts alike.  More info

Bayou Select Rum
1
$24.92
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Bayou Single Barrel

70cl, 40%
Bayou Rum

Bayou Rum hails from Louisiana, and this Single Barrel expression is distilled from single source sugar cane. After, it's aged for two and a half years in barrels which previously held rye whiskey,…  More info

Bayou Single Barrel
$44.60
$39.41

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