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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.

Brugal XV

70cl, 38%
Brugal

A well aged, well blended rum from top Dominican producers, Brugal. To create the XV, they use a selection of ex-bourbon casks and casks which have previously held Pedro Ximénez Sherry, aged between…  More info

Brugal XV
2
$27.76

Bumbu Original Rum

70cl, 35%
Bumbu

A spiced rum based on 16th and 17th century 'bumbo' recipes, Caribbean spices are added with no artificial flavourings or colours at all.  More info

Bumbu Original Rum
$32.22

Burke’s Fine Old Original Jamaica Rum - 1990s

70cl, 75%
Burke's

White Jamaican rum, made by Burke's in the 1990s. In great condition, it still even has the straw tied around it - a collectible piece.  More info

Burke’s Fine Old Original Jamaica Rum - 1990s
$100.61

Cabo Bay White Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Wilhelm Braun Erben

This is a simple, uncomplicated white rum which has been produced in Germany. Good for use in cocktails and long drinks. It might be named after Cabo San Lucas in Mexico, which is often just called…  More info

Cabo Bay White Rum
$18.17

Cacique Ron Añejo Superior

70cl, 37.5%
Cacique

A popular Venezuelan rum brand, Cacique means 'chief of the tribe'. The Añejo is a blend of seven aged molasses rums.  More info

Cacique Ron Añejo Superior
$23.62

Cadenhead's Classic Rum

70cl, 50%
WM Cadenhead

Though known more for their whisky bottlings (they're one of the oldest independent bottlers in Scotland!), W.M. Cadenhead also bottle delicious rums, too. This is their Classic Rum, made with…  More info

Cadenhead's Classic Rum
$34.03

Cana Brava 7 Year Old Rum

75cl, 45%
Las Cabras

A 7 year old rum from The 86 Company's Cana Brava range, distilled by Panamanian distillery Las Cabras and matured in ex-bourbon casks. The 86 Company's spirits are known for being excellent in…  More info

Cana Brava 7 Year Old Rum
$43.02

Captain Flint Dark Rum

70cl, 40%
Captain Flint

Named after the treasure-burying pirate of Robert Louis Stevenston's Treasure Island, Captain Flint Dark rum is made with Caribbean rum and is bottled in France.  More info

Captain Flint Dark Rum
$22.78

Captain Flint White Rum

70cl, 40%
Captain Flint

White rum which has been named after the fearsome, treasure buryin', rum drinkin' pirate in the literary classic 'Treasure Island' - Captain Flint.  More info

Captain Flint White Rum
$22.78

Captain Morgan Black Label - 1980s

70cl, 73%
Captain Morgan

A rare old bottling of Captain Morgan Overproof Black Label Jamaican rum thought to date from the 1980s. This bottle was part of a private collection. More detailed information and photographs…  More info

Captain Morgan Black Label - 1980s
$188.65

Captain Morgan Black Label 1l - 1980s

100cl, 40%
Captain Morgan

Got a collection of Captain Morgan bottles? This ought to pique your fancy - a 1 litre 1980s bottling of Captain Morgan Black Label!  More info

Captain Morgan Black Label 1l - 1980s
$125.77

Captain Morgan Original Rum

70cl, 40%
Captain Morgan

Captain Morgan is a dark rum seen on back-bars seen on back-bars around the world. This is made using a blend of Jamaican, Guyanan and Bajan rums. Great in loads of cocktails and mixed drinks -…  More info

Captain Morgan Original Rum
5
$18.65

Captain Morgan Original Rum 1.5l

150cl, 40%
Captain Morgan

A very popular dark rum named after the 17th century Welsh sailor, Captain Henry Morgan. It is made with rums from Jamaica, Guyana and Barbados. This is the 1.5l magnum version, for all you Captains…  More info

Captain Morgan Original Rum 1.5l
$36.36

Captain Morgan Original Spiced Gold

70cl, 35%
Captain Morgan

A rounded, medium bodied spiced spirit drink (to be classified as a rum, it needs to be 37.5% abv) known the world over. Captain Morgan's Spiced is great value for money, and needs little…  More info

Captain Morgan Original Spiced Gold
3
$17.49

Captain Morgan Original Spiced Gold 1.5l

150cl, 35%
Captain Morgan

Captain Morgan's Spiced is a blend of Caribbean rums, flavoured with a mix of vanilla and cassia. Aged in Scotland in charred casks.  More info

Captain Morgan Original Spiced Gold 1.5l
3
$37.38

Captain Morgan White

70cl, 37.5%
Captain Morgan

Captain Morgan White is a classic Caribbean rum that works splendidly in cocktails and mixed drinks. Captain-and-Coke is a tasty combination enjoyed in bars and pubs the world over.  More info

Captain Morgan White
2
$16.65

Cargo Cult Spiced Rum

70cl, 38.5%
Cargo Cult

Named for Melanesian beliefs held on remote islands that John Frum, probably a corruption of "John from..." (American serviceman having visited during the second World War bringing with them goods…  More info

Cargo Cult Spiced Rum
$32.75

Cargo Cult Spiced Rum with Gift Box

70cl, 38.5%
Cargo Cult

An Oceanian spiced rum is made with rums from Papua New Guinea and Fiji that are blended and spiced in Australia. This limited edition comes with a presentation case like the one's that once carried…  More info

Cargo Cult Spiced Rum with Gift Box
$55.50

Caribbean Blended Rum (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 46%
Duncan Taylor

A blended rum from 2001 - bottled by Duncan Taylor.  More info

Caribbean Blended Rum (Duncan Taylor)
$52.09

Caribbean Cabana Blanca - 1970s

75cl, 35%
Caribbean Distillers

A rum from the 1970s. Who's got the cocktail umbrellas?  More info

Caribbean Cabana Blanca - 1970s
$150.92

Caribbean Collection - Bristol Spirits

70cl, 40%
Bristol Spirits

From the Bristol Spirits collection comes a blend of rums from Trinidad, perfect for enjoying in cocktails and mixed drinks. Packed with notes of muscovado sugar and rich toffee - yummers.  More info

Caribbean Collection - Bristol Spirits
$32.79

Caroni 17 Year Old Rum 1998

70cl, 55%
Caroni

A 17 year old rum from the Caroni distillery in Trinidad, which has been closed for over 15 years. This was bottled at a generous 55% ABV by Italian bottler Velier.  More info

Caroni 17 Year Old Rum 1998
$94.32

Cartavio 1929 Ron Añejo Reserva

70cl, 38%
Destilerias Unidas

Aged for around 3 years, this rum has a nice balance of fresh and cask aged notes. Enjoy over ice or with cola or ginger ale.  More info

Cartavio 1929 Ron Añejo Reserva
$21.39

Caves Monte Crasto Rhum - 1970s

Justino de Sampaio

A old bottling of white rum from Justino de Sampaio of Alegre in Portugal dating from the 1970s. This bottle was part of a private collection. Please note that the label does not state the…  More info

Caves Monte Crasto Rhum - 1970s
$150.92

Caña Brava 3 Year Old Rum

70cl, 43%
Las Cabras

Caña Brava is produced at the Panamanian distillery, Las Cabras, under the watchful eye of Francisco "Don Pancho" J. Fernandez. It is aged for 18 to 24 months in new American oak barrels before being…  More info

Caña Brava 3 Year Old Rum
$27.37

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