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.

ARLU Original Spiced Rum

50cl, 40%
ARLU

Here we have the Original Spiced Rum from ARLU, the brainchild of the same folks behind Didsbury Gin! The liquid is distilled at Guyana’s ever-wonderful Diamond Distillery, and then blended in…  More info

ARLU Original Spiced Rum
$23.83

Bacardi Carta Blanca (1L) - 1970s

100cl, 40%
Bacardi

A large one litre bottle of Bacardi's Carta Blanca, described as 'Ron Superior' on the label, produced back in the 1970s. This bottle was part of a private collection - if you'd like more detailed…  More info

Bacardi Carta Blanca (1L) - 1970s
$249.10

Bardinet Old Nick Rhum Negrita - 1960s

75cl, 0%
Bardinet

A bottle of Bardinet Old Nick Rhum Negrita, a Caribbean blend from French producer Bardinet bottled back in the 1960s. This bottle was part of a private collection - if you'd like more detailed…  More info

Bardinet Old Nick Rhum Negrita - 1960s
$124.55

Bardinet Old Nick Rhum Negrita 'Old Genuine' - 1960s

75cl, 0%
Bardinet

An old and collectible Old Genuine expression of Bardinet Old Nick Rhum Negrita rum produced in the 1960s. This bottle was part of a private collection - if you'd like more detailed photos just…  More info

Bardinet Old Nick Rhum Negrita 'Old Genuine' - 1960s
$114.17

Basseterre 1997 Rhum Vieux (Velier)

70cl, 49.2%
Montebello

The Basseterre rums from Velier make for some fascinating sipping indeed. This is the 1997 vintage, which was distilled by Montebello in Guadeloupe, then matured in oak until 2006, when it was moved…  More info

Basseterre 1997 Rhum Vieux (Velier)
$301

Black Sails White Rum

70cl, 40%
Black Sails

A fab English white rum here from Two Drifters in Devon, made by fermenting 100% molasses and distilling the spirit twice in pot stills. The distillery was created with sustainability and…  More info

Black Sails White Rum
$36.28

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
$35.24

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
$46.66

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
$27.97

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
$151.49

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
$162.90

Diamond 16 Year Old 2003 Guyanese Rum - Kill Devil (Hunter Laing)

70cl, 59.9%
Diamond Distillery

Hunter Laing has gone and bottled yet another awesome rum for its Kill Devil series - this time it's a Guyanese rum from the Diamond Distillery! It spent its entire maturation in a single cask, and…  More info

Diamond 16 Year Old 2003 Guyanese Rum - Kill Devil (Hunter Laing)
$111.01

Diamond and Port Mourant 19 Year Old 1995 Blended in the Barrel

70cl, 62.1%
Demerara Distillers Limited

A rather collectible rum from Diamond distillery. The bottling marries a pair of experimental barrels containing rum from both the Diamond metal Coffey still and the wooden double pot still from Port…  More info

Diamond and Port Mourant 19 Year Old 1995 Blended in the Barrel
$934.13

Dictador 1972 Glenfarclas - 2 Masters

70cl, 45%
Dictador

The folks at Dictador teamed up with Glenfarclas over in Scotland for this 2 Masters release! The rum itself was distilled in 1972, and after a few decades of ageing was transferred to Port casks for…  More info

Dictador 1972 Glenfarclas - 2 Masters
$882.23

Dictador 1978 Hardy - 2 Masters

70cl, 41%
Dictador

After many years of ageing in Colombia, this 1978 vintage rum from Dictador was transferred to old Limousin oak casks which previously held Hardy Cognac for a two month finish. It was released as…  More info

Dictador 1978 Hardy - 2 Masters
$617.56

Dictador 1980 Chateau D'Arche - 2 Masters

70cl, 45%
Dictador

An intriguing rum here from Dictador's 2 Masters collection. This 1980 vintage Colombian rum has its first finishing period in barrels which previously held whisky, before it journeyed over to to…  More info

Dictador 1980 Chateau D'Arche - 2 Masters
$409.98

Dictador 1980 Despagne - 2 Masters

70cl, 45%
Dictador

This impressive bottle of 1980 vintage Dictador was initially finished in a sherry cask, before it was shipped over to Despagne in Bordeaux. Here, the liquid was treated to a four month finish French…  More info

Dictador 1980 Despagne - 2 Masters
$363.27

Dictador Best of 1977 - Altisimo

70cl, 41.5%
Dictador

An astounding 1977 vintage rum from Dictador's Best of series, this Altisimo expression was aged in a Highland whisky barrel! A limited run of 300 bottles were released of the complex rum, with each…  More info

Dictador Best of 1977 - Altisimo
$217.96

Dictador Best of 1979 - Extremo

70cl, 42%
Dictador

A 1979 vintage Extremo rum from Dictador, released as part of the Best of series from the Colombian distillery. Just 300 bottles were released at 42% ABV, with Extremo expressions produced to exhibit…  More info

Dictador Best of 1979 - Extremo
$202.39

El Dorado Single Still - Enmore 2006

75cl, 40%
El Dorado

This 2006 vintage rum from El Dorado was distilled in a Coffey still, the last operational wooden column still in the world! The Guyanese molasses rum was produced in the still, the original and last…  More info

El Dorado Single Still - Enmore 2006
$94.40

El Dorado Single Still - Port Mourant 2006

75cl, 40%
El Dorado

Part of El Dorado's Single Still releases comes this 2006 vintage rum from the Diamond Estate in Guyana. This was produced in the Port Mourant wooden double pot still, the only one of its kind still…  More info

El Dorado Single Still - Port Mourant 2006
$94.40

Epris Rum - West Indies Rum & Cane Merchants

70cl, 46%
Epris

An XO rum here from Brazil's Epris distillery, bottled up by West Indies Rum & Cane Merchants. The spirit was distilled from cane juice and aged in a refill rum cask. Just 210 bottles were released…  More info

Epris Rum - West Indies Rum & Cane Merchants
$62.23

Guadeloupe 2013 - Transcontinental Rum Line (La Maison Du Whisky)

70cl, 43%
La Maison du Whisky

From La Maison du Whisky's Transcontinental Rum Line range comes this bottling of Guadeloupe rum. A traditional vintage rum made with molasses and distilled in 2013, this version was aged first in…  More info

Guadeloupe 2013 - Transcontinental Rum Line (La Maison Du Whisky)
$58.12

Guyanese Rum - Remember (Moon Import)

70cl, 45%
Moon Import

An indie rum here, distilled in Guyana and bottled by Italy's Moon Import. It was bottled for the Remember series in 2018, and features all sorts of wonderfully colourful birds on the label. This…  More info

Guyanese Rum - Remember (Moon Import)
$64.31

Hansen Präsident Jamaican Rum 3L - 1970s

300cl, 42%
Hansen

3 litres of Hansen Präsident Jamaican Rum all the way from the 1970s. This antique bottle is so big it even comes with its own antique pourer - how handy! This bottle was part of a private…  More info

Hansen Präsident Jamaican Rum 3L - 1970s
$186.83

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