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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.

Pirate's Grog Honey Spiced Rum Gift Chest

70cl, 37.5%
Pirate's Grog Rum Ltd

The tremendous bit of treasure here for rum fans – it's a bottle of Pirate's Grog Honey Spiced Rum, presented in a fancy gift chest! The rum itself is excellent stuff, made with aged rum from…  More info

Pirate's Grog Honey Spiced Rum Gift Chest
$54.41

Carnaval Organic Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Carnaval Spirits

Prepare to party with a parade of botanicals in this spiced rum, including lime, vanilla, cinnamon, almond, and cherries. Made with a base of rum from organic molasses, Carnaval Organic Spiced Rum is…  More info

Carnaval Organic Spiced Rum
$35.26

Pull The Pin Spiced Rum (50ml)

5cl, 37.5%
Pull The Pin

Here's a miniature 50ml bottle of the tasty Pull The Pin Rum! This expression is made with a whole host of spices, as well as a helping of butterscotch, and then it's given some time resting in oak…  More info

Pull The Pin Spiced Rum (50ml)
$6.03

Appleton Estate 37 Year Old 1984 - Hearts Collection

70cl, 63%
Appleton Estate

An impressively aged rum from Appleton Estate. This 100% pot still rum from the Jamaican producers was distilled in 1984 and enjoyed a tropical maturation for 37 years in casks 3391 through to 3399.…  More info

Appleton Estate 37 Year Old 1984 - Hearts Collection
$1,006.53

T.D.L. Trinidad Rum 2009 (bottled 2022) - Wonders of the World (Swell de Spirits)

50cl, 64.5%
T.D.L.

This was distilled in 2009 at TDL (Trinidad Distillers Ltd) using a column still and bottled by Swell de Spirits, an independent spirit bottler based in France. It was aged for five years in the…  More info

T.D.L. Trinidad Rum 2009 (bottled 2022) - Wonders of the World (Swell de Spirits)
$107.57

Australian Rum 2012 (bottled 2022) - Wonders of the World (Swell de Spirits)

50cl, 66.9%
Swell de Spirits

A rum from Australia? Whatever next? Well, we'll have you know that Australia has a long and proud rum-making tradition. This was distilled from molasses in 2012 and aged in first fill ex-bourbon…  More info

Australian Rum 2012 (bottled 2022) - Wonders of the World (Swell de Spirits)
$92.88

Pull The Pin Raspberry & Strawberry Pink Rum (50ml)

5cl, 37.5%
Pull The Pin

Get a taste of Pull The Pin's Raspberry & Strawberry Pink Rum with this miniature 50ml bottle! With a cracking combo of British strawberries and raspberries in the mix, this is sure to be smashing in…  More info

Pull The Pin Raspberry & Strawberry Pink Rum (50ml)
$6.03

Pull The Pin Passion Fruit & Pineapple Silver Rum (50ml)

5cl, 37.5%
Pull The Pin

A particularly zesty flavoured rum from the Pull The Pin range, featuring the lip-smacking combo of passion fruit and pineapple. This is a 50ml miniature bottle, so you can get a tangy taste of it…  More info

Pull The Pin Passion Fruit & Pineapple Silver Rum (50ml)
$6.03

Two Shores Rum - Irish Single Malt Whiskey Cask Finish

70cl, 43%
Autentico Nativo

Two Shores sourced this sugar-cane distilled rum from Autentico Nativo, a distillery in Panama, and treated it to a finish for a minimum of 6 months on the west coast of Ireland in casks that…  More info

Two Shores Rum - Irish Single Malt Whiskey Cask Finish
$50.38

Dictador Aurum

70cl, 40%
Dictador

Dictador's Aurum rum, from Columbia, is made using virgin sugar cane honey and distilled in antique copper alembic stills. It's then aged in ex-bourbon barrels, resulting in a richly honeyed, moreish…  More info

Dictador Aurum
$87.85

Teeda Craft Rum 21 Year Old

70cl, 48%
Helios

From the Okinawa-based Helios distillery comes this limited release of Teeda Craft Rum, aged for an impressive 21 years. Distilled in a copper pot still, it aged in new American oak barrels. Only…  More info

Teeda Craft Rum 21 Year Old
$629.74

HAMA Rum – Madagascan Vanilla

70cl, 40%
HAMA Spirits

Infused with Madagascan vanilla pods, the base of white rum here gets an aromatic, decadent makeover in this Madagascan Vanilla Rum from HAMA. Try swapping the vodka for this if you're making…  More info

HAMA Rum – Madagascan Vanilla
$40.30

Dead Man's Fingers Tequila Raspberry Rum

50cl, 37.5%
Dead Man’s Fingers

If you happen to be a fan of Tequila, raspberries, rum, and skulls, then this limited release from the gang at Dead Man's Fingers will have your eyes popping out of their sockets! This blend of Dead…  More info

Dead Man's Fingers Tequila Raspberry Rum
$20.10

City of London 16 Year Old Navy Strength Rum

70cl, 57%
City of London Distillery

A navy strength rum from Trinidad and Tobago, aged for 16 years and bottled for City of London Distillery. Expect plenty of oaky vanilla alongside the light and fruity rum at its core. This will…  More info

City of London 16 Year Old Navy Strength Rum
$45.29

Malecon 12 Year Old Reserva Superior Gift Pack with 2x Glasses

70cl, 40%
Malecon

Two handsome balloon glasses are included in this gift pack, along with a bottle of Malecon 12 Year Old Reserva Superior, a deliciously sippable, dark rum from Panama.  More info

Malecon 12 Year Old Reserva Superior Gift Pack with 2x Glasses
$40.72

Dictador 2 Masters - Hardy Spring Blend 1975 and 1977

70cl, 42.1%
Dictador

A tremendously well-aged rum from Columbia, this blend combines two single vintage expressions distilled at Dictador in 1975 and 1977. The rum was then shipped to France, where cellar master at…  More info

Dictador 2 Masters - Hardy Spring Blend 1975 and 1977
$675.08

Fortuna Script 43 Spiced Rum

70cl, 43%
Fortuna Script

South American rum blended with a heap of spices and bottled at 43% ABV is what we have here. Fortuna Script already makes a very tasty rum, but the creators decided that a higher-strength edition…  More info

Fortuna Script 43 Spiced Rum
$38.24

Saison Rum Sherry Cask Gift Set with 2x Glasses

70cl, 42%
Distillerie Tessendier & Fils

A cracking gift set for a rum fan here, featuring a bottle of Saison Rum Sherry Cask accompanied by a pair of branded glasses. A blend of bourbon cask matured rum from Barbados and Trinidad is…  More info

Saison Rum Sherry Cask Gift Set with 2x Glasses
$45.74

Compagnie des Indes Boulet de Canon No.8

70cl, 46%
Compagnie Des Indes

The eighth edition of Boulet de Canon from French independent bottler Compagnie des Indes. You might not even need a translation tool to work out what the name means, well you definitely don't…  More info

Compagnie des Indes Boulet de Canon No.8
$54.35

HAMA Rum - Berry

70cl, 40%
HAMA Spirits

A base of Caribbean white rum get a berry burst in this edition from HAMA Rum. Strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries were infused in the rum, making it a vibrant addition to your cocktail…  More info

HAMA Rum - Berry
$40.30

Neptune Rum Charred Pineapple

70cl, 34%
Neptune Rum

The heat has been turned up on this tropical number from Neptune Rum. Charred Pineapple combines fruity funk with a touch of smoky goodness, perfect for experimental cocktails.  More info

Neptune Rum Charred Pineapple
$25.14

Platinum White Rum

70cl, 40%
Mount Uncle

Produced at the Mt. Uncle Distillery in Australia, this rum is distilled from fresh sugar cane syrup, for a silky, gently herbaceous sweetness. Filtered through volcanic rock from the Cairns…  More info

Platinum White Rum
$37.23

Flat Cap Rum - Dash of Honey

70cl, 40%
Flat Cap Drinks Company

Combining a base of white rum from the West Indies and a gentle infusion of honey comes this tasty treat from Flat Cap! A silky, softly sweet sipper, this is fab served neat over ice, and ought to…  More info

Flat Cap Rum - Dash of Honey
$32.25

Clarendon 25 Year Old 1996 Jamaica Edition No. 3 - The Colours of Rum (Wealth Solutions)

70cl, 67%
Clarendon

Distilled in 1996 at Jamaica's Clarendon distillery, this immensely impressive rum spent the next quarter of a century maturing in a single ex-rum cask. That cask was selected by the splendid gang at…  More info

Clarendon 25 Year Old 1996 Jamaica Edition No. 3 - The Colours of Rum (Wealth Solutions)
$216.63

Guatemala Rum 2013 (bottled 2022) (cask 4) - Berry Bros. & Rudd

70cl, 56.3%
Berry Bros. & Rudd

This impressive Guatemalan rum joins the range from indie bottler Berry Bros. & Rudd. Distilled in 2013 and filled into a single hogshead cask, a total of 270 bottles were released in 2022, at a bold…  More info

Guatemala Rum 2013 (bottled 2022) (cask 4) - Berry Bros. & Rudd
$104.03

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