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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. 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.

Expedition Superior Light White Rum

70cl, 37.50%
Hall and Bramley

A white rum which has been distilled in Guyana and Barbados, then bottled by Hall & Bramley. Just the ticket for cocktails and mixed drinks.  More info

Expedition Superior Light White Rum
$16.84

Facundo Eximo 10 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Bacardi

A 10 year old blend of rums that was blended before it went into the barrel (with a couple of the rums used already being 1-2 years old at the time). This is an incredibly difficult art, and the…  More info

Facundo Eximo 10 Year Old
$83.88

Facundo Exquisito

70cl, 40%
Bacardi

A blend of rums aged 7 to 23 years old from Bacardi's premium Fagundo label, named after the founder of the company. It has been finished for at least a month in Sherry casks.  More info

Facundo Exquisito
$144.86

Facundo NEO

70cl, 40%
Bacardi

A comforting premium rum from Bacardi's Facundo range, named after the company's founder. Rums aged up to 8 years are blended and then charcoal filtered to remove the colour for aged notes in a…  More info

Facundo NEO
$63.31

Facundo Paraiso XA

70cl, 40%
Bacardi

A blend of rums up to 23 years old, with a higher proportion of older rums than any others in the Facundo range. Finished in XO Cognac casks it comes in a decanter bottle engraved with the Bacardi…  More info

Facundo Paraiso XA
$307.94

FAIR. 10 Year Old Rum

70cl, 40%
FAIR.

A limited edition release from the FAIR. range, this 10 year old rum is a Fairtrade Certified made with sugar cane from Belize, matured in American oak casks for a whole decade.  More info

FAIR. 10 Year Old Rum
$62.92

FAIR. 5 Year Old Rum

70cl, 40%
FAIR.

5 year old rum made exclusively using Fair Trade certified sugar cane from Belize and matured in Kentucky bourbon barrels before being shipped out to France to be bottled. Made by FAIR., whom created…  More info

FAIR. 5 Year Old Rum
4
$37.98

Fiji 11 Year Old 2003 Rum (Berry Bros & Rudd)

70cl, 46%
Berry Brothers and Rudd

An 11 year old rum distilled in Fiji that was bottled by Berry Bros & Rudd of St James's at 46% abv.  More info

Fiji 11 Year Old 2003 Rum (Berry Bros & Rudd)
$70.46

Filippo Franelli White Australian Rum - 1949-59

100cl, 70%
Filippo Zanelli

An old, rare bottle of Australian Rum, produced by Filippo Zanelli all the way back between 1949 and 1959. However, it was produced in Italy, Bologna to be exact, which is quite far away from…  More info

Filippo Franelli White Australian Rum - 1949-59
$289.83

Flamboyant Vieux Rum

70cl, 40%
International Distillers Mauritius

Produced in Mauritius, Flamboyant Vieux Rum is a blended expression that has been aged in oak casks for 7 years in ex-bourbon barrels before being bottled. The rum gets its name from the tree on the…  More info

Flamboyant Vieux Rum
$38.81

Flor de Caña 12 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Flor de Caña

A top quality 12 year old rum from the Nicaraguan producer, Flor de Caña. This is fine sipping rum, with flavours like toffee apple and buttery vanilla. We love it.  More info

Flor de Caña 12 Year Old
4
$48.82

Flor de Caña 18 Year Old Centenario

70cl, 40%
Flor de Caña

Flor de Caña 18 year old is a very well-aged expression from Nicaragua. This was awarded Double Gold medals at the 2006 and 2008 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.  More info

Flor de Caña 18 Year Old Centenario
3
$64.40

Flor de Caña 25 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Flor de Caña

An impressive, well aged Flor de Caña single estate rum, made with spirits which have been aged for at least 25 years. A stunning, radiant hue makes it a wonder to look at, and it tastes as good as…  More info

Flor de Caña 25 Year Old
$150.89

Flor de Caña 4 Year Old Extra Dry

70cl, 40%
Flor de Caña

The producers recommend Flor de Caña Extra Dry as a mixing rum. It is a well-made expression and has won ten international awards, notably a Platinum Award and Gold medal at the 2003 International…  More info

Flor de Caña 4 Year Old Extra Dry
1
$26.72

Flor de Caña 7 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Flor de Caña

A great Nicaraguan rum from Flor de Caña. This 7 year old is great as a mixing rum, and it makes a fantastic cocktail. It is aged in 180 litre white oak barrels, which are only used once before…  More info

Flor de Caña 7 Year Old
1
$30.13

Foursquare 11 Year Old Zinfandel Cask Blend - Exceptional Cask Selection

70cl, 43%
Foursquare

A 'single blended rum' from Foursquare containing pot and column still rums, matured in either bourbon or Zinfandel casks, aged for 11 years.  More info

Foursquare 11 Year Old Zinfandel Cask Blend - Exceptional Cask Selection
$50.05

Foursquare 12 Year Old - Barbados Rum (Compagnie Des Indes)

70cl, 45%
Foursquare

A molasses rum distilled at Foursquare distillery and aged for 12 long years in a single ex-Buffalo Trace bourbon barrel!  More info

Foursquare 12 Year Old - Barbados Rum (Compagnie Des Indes)
$72.65

Foursquare 2004 (bottled 2013) - Bristol Spirits

70cl, 43%
Foursquare

This Bristol Spirits bottling, comes from the Foursquare distillery (nothing to do with the app) in Barbados. It was distilled in 2004 and left to mature until 2013, when it was bottled at 43% ABV.…  More info

Foursquare 2004 (bottled 2013) - Bristol Spirits
$62.44

Foursquare 9 Year Old Port Cask Finish - Exceptional Cask Selection

70cl, 40%
Foursquare

Well this ought to be pretty awesome - a 9 year old rum from the Foursquare distillery in Barbados, which was initially aged for 3 years in bourbon casks, before being transferred over to Port casks…  More info

Foursquare 9 Year Old Port Cask Finish - Exceptional Cask Selection
1
$38.00

Foursquare Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.50%
Foursquare

One of the best spiced rums on the market, Foursquare is a delicious Bajan rum which makes an incredible spicy mojito!  More info

Foursquare Spiced Rum
3
$26.50

Francisco Montero 50th Anniversary Rum

70cl, 40%
Francisco Montero

A rich expression from Ron Francisco Montero, who have been producing rum since 1963. It was released in 2013, marking their 50th anniversary. The rum features spirits aged for at least 10 years.  More info

Francisco Montero 50th Anniversary Rum
$119.77

Glen's Dark Rum

70cl, 37.50%
Glen Catrine Distillers

Glen's Dark Rum. Yep. All the way from the West Indies.  More info

Glen's Dark Rum
$20.03

Glen's White Rum

70cl, 37.50%
Glen Catrine Distillers

This is a white rum from the West Indies, perfect for mixing in cocktails or serving over ice with a slice of lime.  More info

Glen's White Rum
$17.75

Gosling's Black Seal

70cl, 40%
Gosling's Rum

A much rated rum from Bermuda. This was rated 96 out of 100 at the World Spirits Championship. It is named for the black sealing wax used to seal the stopper in place.  More info

Gosling's Black Seal
16
$25.32

Gosling's Black Seal 151 Proof

70cl, 75.50%
Gosling's Rum

A super high strength dark rum from Bermuda. Despite the 75.5% of Gosling's Black Seal 151, this is a very smooth rum, and it's utterly delicious. Well worth trying.  More info

Gosling's Black Seal 151 Proof
13
$39.11

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