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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.

Beach Bum Rum Gold

70cl, 40%
Beach Bum Beverages

A rum from Mauritius here from those Beach Bum Rum folks! This is the Gold variant, distilled from local sugarcane which has also been infused with coconut and vanilla. Lots of rich, toasty notes…  More info

Beach Bum Rum Gold
4
$29.77

Beach Bum Rum Silver

70cl, 40%
Beach Bum Beverages

A fresh, tropical unaged rum from the Beach Bum range! It hails from Mauritius, distilled from sugarcane – specifically, 27 different types of local sugarcane from the island! It's then infused with…  More info

Beach Bum Rum Silver
3
$30.75

Beachcomber Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Beachcomber Gin

The very same folks behind Beachcomber Gin have turned their hand to rum! This one is distilled in the Caribbean, before it's rested in oak and blended with spices. It's warming, subtly sweet, and…  More info

Beachcomber Spiced Rum
$36.92

Beach House Gold Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Beach House

This Gold Spiced Rum from Beach House is made in Mauritius, with an agricole rhum base. It's then infused with tropical fruits and a whole host of warming spices, with sweeter fruity notes balancing…  More info

Beach House Gold Spiced Rum
1
$29.74

Beach House Pink Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Beach House

Pink gin is very much a thing – but pink rum?! That's exactly what we've got here from the Beach House folks in Mauritius (nothing to do with the American dream-pop band that also happens to be…  More info

Beach House Pink Spiced Rum
$29.74

Beach House White Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Beach House

Here we have White Spiced Rum from Beach House, produced in Mauritius. It's not very often that we come across a white spiced rum! The base rum is infused with tropical fruits, including lychee and…  More info

Beach House White Spiced Rum
$29.74

Beenleigh 5 Year Old - Rum Explorer

70cl, 43%
Beenleigh

An intriguing Australian rum here from Beenleigh Artisan Distillers, independently bottled as part of the Rum Explorer. This expression was allowed to age for five years, including a stay in a cask…  More info

Beenleigh 5 Year Old - Rum Explorer
$45.70
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Belgrove Hazelnut Rum

70cl, 40%
Belgrove

Well, this is a pretty unique combination right here... Thanks to Belgrove, hazelnut rum is now a thing! The brand is named after William Belgrove, a rum pioneer, and the spirit is a single-origin…  More info

Belgrove Hazelnut Rum
12
$29.17

Belgrove Hazelnut Rum (20cl)

20cl, 40%
Belgrove

Delicious Demerara rum combined with toasted hazelnut flavours? Absolutely yes please! This tasty treat comes to us from Belgrove, and this one right here is a 20cl bottling, making it perfect for…  More info

Belgrove Hazelnut Rum (20cl)
$13.30

Belgrove Spiced Fig & Blackberry Rum

70cl, 40%
Belgrove

Another excellent and intriguing flavour combination here from the Belgrove team, bringing together aged rum, fig, blackberry, and a selection of spices! A base of Guyanese rum is infused with fig,…  More info

Belgrove Spiced Fig & Blackberry Rum
7
$30.76

Bellevue 19 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)

50cl, 54.2%
Bellevue

This is one of the first bottlings from That Boutique-y Rum Company (following in the footsteps of That Boutique-y Whisky Company and That Boutique-y Gin Company). This one is a 19 year old rum from…  More info

Bellevue 19 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)
$102.65

Berry Bros. & Rudd Barbados - The Classic Rum Range

70cl, 40.5%
Berry Bros. & Rudd

The Classic Rum Range from Berry Bros & Rudd explores a variety of rum styles from a number of different countries - this one, for example, is a light though oaky rum all the way from Barbados!…  More info

Berry Bros. & Rudd Barbados - The Classic Rum Range
$35.90
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Berry Bros. & Rudd Guatemala - The Classic Rum Range

70cl, 40.5%
Berry Bros. & Rudd

A Guatemalan rum from the Berry Bros. & Rudd Classic Rum Range, which features rums from around the world. This one a rather sweet, subtly peppery rum, with notes of bakes goods running all the way…  More info

Berry Bros. & Rudd Guatemala - The Classic Rum Range
2
$36.97

Berry Bros. & Rudd Jamaica - The Classic Rum Range

70cl, 40.5%
Berry Bros. & Rudd

Ester-heavy Jamaican rum from Berry Bros. & Rudd, released as part of its Classic Rum Range. The selection explores a variety of rum styles from around the world, so anyone looking to find out more…  More info

Berry Bros. & Rudd Jamaica - The Classic Rum Range
$35.90

Berry Bros. & Rudd Nicaragua - The Classic Rum Range

70cl, 40.5%
Berry Bros. & Rudd

Released as part of Berry Bros. & Rudd's Classic Range comes this Nicaraguan rum. The rum was aged in Nicaragua which has a slightly cooler climate compared to other rum-producing parts of the…  More info

Berry Bros. & Rudd Nicaragua - The Classic Rum Range
$36.97

Black Gate 3 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)

50cl, 50%
Black Gate

The Black Gate Distillery in New South Wales doesn't only produce ace Australian whisky – it also makes some fantastic Australian rum! And you're in luck, because That Boutique-y Rum Company has got…  More info

Black Gate 3 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)
1
$67.73
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Black Magic Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Sazerac

Black Magic Spiced Rum is a blend of light and dark rums, along with a secret recipe of spices, which help to bolster the rum's flavour profile. Expect big ol' helpings of vanilla, cherry, runny…  More info

Black Magic Spiced Rum
23
$22.75

Black Tears Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
The Island Rum Company

Black Tears Spiced Rum marries Cuban rum and Cuban spices, with coffee, cacao and ají dulce, which is a sweet chilli pepper. Full of toasty, roasted flavours, it's not overly sweet, so works very…  More info

Black Tears Spiced Rum
5
$35.89

Black Thistle Pearl Mist Rum

70cl, 41%
Black Thistle

A rather intriguing spiced rum from Scotland's Black Thistle, featuring a host of botanicals but no hue – however, what it does have is a shimmery quality when you shake the bottle! It's made with…  More info

Black Thistle Pearl Mist Rum
$36.92

Black Thistle White Spiced Rum

70cl, 41%
Black Thistle

From Scotland's Black Thistle Distillers comes a White Spiced Rum, which features the likes of elderberry, star anise, and orange among its ingredient selection. The result is a spirit offering up…  More info

Black Thistle White Spiced Rum
1
$34.86

Black Tot 40 Year Old

70cl, 44.2%
Black Tot

Following on from the Black Tot Last Consignment, this range continues to shine a spotlight on extraordinarily old rums with the Black Tot 40 Year Old. A Demerara rum distilled back in 1975 in…  More info

Black Tot 40 Year Old
3
$1,535.36

Black Tot Master Blender’s Reserve - 2021 Edition

70cl, 54.5%
Black Tot

A marvellous commemorative rum from Black Tot, this expression marks the 100th anniversary of the last rum ration given to Australian Navy sailors on British ships. The Black Tot crew began with a…  More info

Black Tot Master Blender’s Reserve - 2021 Edition
$102.65
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Black Tot Rum

70cl, 46.2%
Black Tot

Black Tot takes inspiration from 300 years of Navy tradition! A blend of rums from Barbados, Jamaica and Guyana are featured here, with the complex spirit weighing in at 46.2% ABV. The rum is named…  More info

Black Tot Rum
7
$40.83
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Black Tot Rum 50th Anniversary Set (5 x 30ml)

15cl, 47.9%
Black Tot

Black Tot has crafted this gorgeous set in honour of the 50th anniversary of Black Tot Day. If you need to brush up on your rum-based history, Black Tot Day was the final day (on 31 July 1970) that…  More info

Black Tot Rum 50th Anniversary Set (5 x 30ml)
$40.30

Blackwell Black Gold Fine Jamaican Rum

70cl, 40%
J Wray and Nephew

Blackwell Black Gold Rum was created by Chris Blackwell, who also happens to be the owner of Island Records. The dark rum itself is distilled and blended by J. Wray & Nephew in Jamaica. It was made…  More info

Blackwell Black Gold Fine Jamaican Rum
28
$25.52
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