Created by potrace 1.12, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2015

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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.

Brugal 1888 Ron Gran Reserva Familiar

70cl, 40%
Brugal

High-quality Dominican rum from the Brugal range, which is double distilled then matured in American oak barrels. After a lengthy maturation is the aforementioned barrels, the rum then enjoys a…  More info

Brugal 1888 Ron Gran Reserva Familiar
2
$43.44

Brugal Añejo

70cl, 38%
Brugal

Brugal Anejo is a 5 year old Dominican rum. The company was founded by Andrés Brugal Montaner. The majority of the board members are actually descendants of Montaner.  More info

Brugal Añejo
14
$20.76
Try a sample

Brugal Extra Viejo

70cl, 38%
Brugal

An extra-aged rum from very highly respected Dominican producer Brugal.  More info

Brugal Extra Viejo
4
$30.16

Brugal Ron Blanco Especial Extra Dry Rum

70cl, 40%
Brugal

Classic white rum from Dominican producers, Brugal, which is aged for at least one year to mellow out some of the overly intense qualities of rum straight from the still. This tasty rum is no…  More info

Brugal Ron Blanco Especial Extra Dry Rum
1
$23.33

Bumbu Original

70cl, 35%
Bumbu

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

Bumbu Original
24
$33.65

Bumbu XO

70cl, 40%
Bumbu

Bumbu Rum XO small batch rum is produced from molasses in a distillery in Panama that dates back more than 120 years! It spent 18 years in American white oak bourbon barrels, and was then treated to…  More info

Bumbu XO
9
$44.86

Burla Negra Rum

70cl, 40%
Burla Negra Rum

Burla Negra Rum is made with a blend of Caribbean rums, and finished in casks that previously held Albariño wine. This one's got a subtle saltiness to it, and that's not an accident. It's in…  More info

Burla Negra Rum
1
$39.10

Burning Barn Smoked Rum

70cl, 40%
Burning Barn

An intriguingly rich rum which is aptly smoky considering the name of its producers - Burning Barn. They make this expression by cold smoking their rum with local apple wood, imparting obvious…  More info

Burning Barn Smoked Rum
5
$39.10

Burning Barn Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Burning Barn

The folks at Burning Barn set out to make a spiced rum that was... Well, spicy. As luck would have it, they succeeded in their quest! This warming tipple features ginger, Bird's Eye chilli and…  More info

Burning Barn Spiced Rum
3
$33.45

Bush Rum Mango

70cl, 37.5%
Bush Rum Co.

A rather fruity spiced rum from the Bush Rum Co.! This one makes fabulous use of ripe mangoes, which are used to flavour the tropical spirit. The fruity influence isn't too overwhelming, with a good…  More info

Bush Rum Mango
1
$22.78

Bush Rum Original Spiced

70cl, 37.5%
Bush Rum Co.

A classic spiced rum here from the Bush Rum Co.! The warming spirit takes a base of Caribbean rum and adds a whole host of fragrant spices. We can see this working superbly well with ginger beer...  More info

Bush Rum Original Spiced
1
$22.78

BVB 09 Rum 12 Year Old

70cl, 40%
BVB

A rather unique rum made for BVB! For the less sport-minded of you, BVB is also known as Ballspielverein Borussia 09 e.V. Dortmund (we can see why they abbreviated it), also known more simply…  More info

BVB 09 Rum 12 Year Old
$63.02

C.A.C.D. 15 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)

50cl, 52.4%
C.A.C.D.

The very first batch of Venezuelan rum from C.A.C.D., independently bottled by those That Boutique-y Rum Company folks! This expression was matured for 15 years, and eventually bottled at 52.4% ABV.…  More info

C.A.C.D. 15 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)
$59.75

C.A.D.C. 14 Year Old 2005 - Venezuela Rum (Compagnie Des Indes)

70cl, 43%
C.A.C.D.

Compagnie Des Indes has bottled a delicious Venezuela rum from C.A.D.C.! Distilled in 2005, it rested in a single cask for an entire 14 years before it was released with an outturn of 385 bottles.  More info

C.A.D.C. 14 Year Old 2005 - Venezuela Rum (Compagnie Des Indes)
$76.07

Caithness Raiders Rum

70cl, 40%
Ice & Fire

From Ice & Fire Distillery comes Caithness Raiders Rum, which has had a touch of honey, various spices and gorse (which gives a coconut flavour) added. It has also been aged in oak, imparting a…  More info

Caithness Raiders Rum
5
$41.32

Caliche Rum

70cl, 40%
Caliche Rum

Caliche Rum is awesome both inside and out, founded by none other than Rande Gerber and Roberto Serrallés. Produced at Destileria Serrallés in Puerto Rico, the five times distillied white rum is in…  More info

Caliche Rum
$36.92

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
$40.18
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Cane Toad Ruby Chocolate Rum

70cl, 38%
The Zymurgorium

A rather intriguing rum here, made using ruby chocolate, which is produced with the ruby cocoa bean! It's not actually a new type of cocoa bean, rather it's an unfermented cocoa bean which retains…  More info

Cane Toad Ruby Chocolate Rum
5
$30.39

Canuto Highland Rum 7 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Zhumir Distillery

Ron Canuto Highland Rum is a molasses rum from Ecuador, matured at in white oak barrels 2,000 metres above sea level for seven years before bottling, creating a ripe and flavourful rum.  More info

Canuto Highland Rum 7 Year Old
$35.34
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Cape Cornwall Gold Rum

70cl, 40%
Cape Cornwall

A Gold expression from the Cape Cornwall range! A base of aged Caribbean rum has been blended with Cornish water for this one, so there's lots of chocolatey notes among the fresher, grassy flavours.…  More info

Cape Cornwall Gold Rum
2
$39.10

Cape Cornwall Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Cape Cornwall

A suitably warming spirit from Cape Cornwall, it's a Spiced Rum! In here you'll find Caribbean rum along with spices including saffron and nutmeg, which is finally blended with Cornish water. We…  More info

Cape Cornwall Spiced Rum
3
$39.10

Cape Cornwall White Rum

70cl, 40%
Cape Cornwall

A vibrant White Rum from Cape Cornwall, made by blending a Caribbean rum base with Cornish water. The name is a nod to the history of Cape Cornwall, when rum was smuggled in by boat and stored in the…  More info

Cape Cornwall White Rum
1
$35.83

Captain Morgan Original Rum

70cl, 40%
Captain Morgan

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

Captain Morgan Original Rum
8
$19.72

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
1
$44.41

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
35
$17.93

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