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.

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
4
$20.61

Cargo Cult Banana Spiced Rum

70cl, 38%
Cargo Cult

An interesting expression from Australia's Cargo Cult rum range, which has been flavoured with bananas from North Queensland, alongside a selection of lip-smacking spices. This should make a great…  More info

Cargo Cult Banana Spiced Rum
7
$34.62

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
4
$34.84

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
1
$39.18
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Caroni 1997 (bottled 2019) - Bristol Spirits

70cl, 56.4%
Caroni

A fantastic indie bottling of rum from Trinidad's sadly closed Caroni Distillery. It was distilled all the way back in 1997 and set aside to slumber for many moons. Eventually, Bristol Spirits got…  More info

Caroni 1997 (bottled 2019) - Bristol Spirits
$218.84

Caroni 20 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)

50cl, 54.7%
Caroni

This is a fantastic independent bottling of 20 year old rum from the Caroni Distillery in Trinidad. Though the distillery is now sadly closed, indie bottlers like the Boutique-y folks do sometimes…  More info

Caroni 20 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)
$143.38

Caroni 23 Year Old 1996 Tasting Gang

70cl, 63.5%
Caroni

Well-matured rum from the closed Caroni Distillery, blended by a team of 23 Caroni experts - exactly the people you want doing the blending! The panel did a pretty bloomin' good job on this one, too.…  More info

Caroni 23 Year Old 1996 Tasting Gang
$419.06

Caroni Navy Rum Extra Strong - 100th Anniversary

70cl, 51.4%
Caroni

A very cool bottling of rum from the closed Caroni distillery in Trinidad, celebrating the 100th anniversary of its opening back in 1918. The aged rum has been bottled at 90° proof as a team effort…  More info

Caroni Navy Rum Extra Strong - 100th Anniversary
$328.28

Casa Santana 12 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)

50cl, 58.4%
Casa Santana

The first bottling of Casa Santana rum from Colombia from That Boutique-y Rum Company, and it's a fascinating expression which was matured for 12 years before bottling. Very satisfying stuff, with…  More info

Casa Santana 12 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)
$32.78

Cashcane Extra Old Rum

70cl, 40%
Cashcane

A Caribbean rum blend from Cashcane, this Extra Old expression marries three rums from Trinidad, Barbados and Panama, with each rum aged for six years in its country of origin. The rums are aged…  More info

Cashcane Extra Old Rum
$49.20

Cashcane Saloon Cask Rum

70cl, 55%
Cashcane

A rum made for people who like bourbon - and westerns! Cashcane Saloon Cask is made with a blend of aged rums from Barbados, Trinidad and Panama, all aged exclusively in bourbon casks (of course).…  More info

Cashcane Saloon Cask Rum
$57.96

Casiano Strawberry Rum

70cl, 38%
Ron Casiano

If you like your rums particularly fruity, then you've come to the right place! This here is a Strawberry Rum from Casiano, which takes a white rum base and infuses it with strawberry. It's left to…  More info

Casiano Strawberry Rum
$29.50

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. Please note that the label does not state the volume or ABV of this product and that it is being…  More info

Caves Monte Crasto Rhum - 1970s
$32.83

Central America - Remarkable Regional Rums (West Indies Rum & Cane Merchants)

70cl, 43%
West Indies Rum & Cane Merchants

For the Central American expression from the West Indies Rum & Cane Merchants' Remarkable Regions Rums range, they've blended rums from Guatemala and Nicaragua, creating a full-bodied, vibrant…  More info

Central America - Remarkable Regional Rums (West Indies Rum & Cane Merchants)
$36.06

Central Galactic Spiced Rum

70cl, 43.5%
Central Galactic

What if we told you that you could taste the centre of the galaxy? Don't believe us? Well, around a decade ago scientists (yes, actual scientists) peeked through a massive telescope at a vast dust…  More info

Central Galactic Spiced Rum
6
$38.26

Chairman's Reserve 1931

70cl, 46%
St. Lucia Distillers

Chairman's Reserve 1931 rum from St. Lucia Distillers was made as a tribute to the founder, Denis Barnard, and the year he established the distillery, 1931. The rum marries a blend of both molasses…  More info

Chairman's Reserve 1931
$77.66

Chairman's Reserve 2005

70cl, 46%
St. Lucia Distillers

It's the very first vintage release from Chairman's Reserve! This 2005 vintage is a blend of two rums from St Lucia Distillers, from both the John Dore pot still and a coffey column still. The…  More info

Chairman's Reserve 2005
1
$65.61
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Chairman's Reserve Finest St Lucia Rum

70cl, 40%
St. Lucia Distillers

Chairman's Reserve is a St Lucian Rum blended from pot still and continuous still rums.  More info

Chairman's Reserve Finest St Lucia Rum
9
$25.86
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Chairman's Reserve Forgotten Casks

70cl, 40%
St. Lucia Distillers

Sit down, gentle reader, and we shall tell you a tale. On the 2nd May 2007 a great fire ravaged St Lucia Distillers distillery, destroying much of the storage buildings. "Good heavens!" You might…  More info

Chairman's Reserve Forgotten Casks
3
$43.18

Chairman's Reserve Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
St. Lucia Distillers

Spiced rum from Saint Lucia. Impressively, it was the only spiced or flavoured rum to receive a Gold Medal at the International Spirits Challenge 2013.  More info

Chairman's Reserve Spiced Rum
20
$25.72

Chairman's Reserve White Label

70cl, 43%
St. Lucia Distillers

Saint Lucia Distillers, the owner of Charmain's Reserve, distilled, blended and bottled this white rum on the Caribbean island nation. Unusually for a white rum, it was aged like the rest of…  More info

Chairman's Reserve White Label
$27.30

Chamarel 4 Year Old 2014 - Indian Ocean Stills (Velier)

70cl, 58%
La Rhumerie de Chamarel

A fresh and vegetal rhum agricole from the Chamarel distillery in Mauritius, produced in a single column still. Distilled in 2014 from pure sugar cane juice, it was then matured in French oak barrels…  More info

Chamarel 4 Year Old 2014 - Indian Ocean Stills (Velier)
$83.12

Chamarel 8 Year Old Cognac Cask Finish

70cl, 45%
La Rhumerie de Chamarel

This rather stylish decanter is full of delicious Mauritian rum from Charamel! Distilled from cane juice, a marriage of both pot and column still rhum agricole, the spirit was initially aged for six…  More info

Chamarel 8 Year Old Cognac Cask Finish
$159.74

Chamarel 8 Year Old Sauternes Cask Finish

70cl, 45%
La Rhumerie de Chamarel

This rhum agricole was distilled over on the Chamarel estate on the island of Mauritius. It was aged for eight years, with the majority of that ageing initially spent in French oak casks in…  More info

Chamarel 8 Year Old Sauternes Cask Finish
$171.77

Chamarel Exotic Spices

70cl, 40%
La Rhumerie de Chamarel

A spiced rum from the Mauritius-based Charamel distillery, dubbed Exotic Spices. It takes the Gold Rum, and infuses it with spices in oak casks for three months. A delectably smooth and spicy…  More info

Chamarel Exotic Spices
$40.44

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