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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.

Admiral's Cask Dark Rum Barrel

70cl, 40%
OSA Fine Spirits

Look at this! OSA Fine Spirits has taken some of its fabulous five year old Panamanian rum, and filled up these snazzy barrel-shaped containers with it! Eye catching indeed, this is a great novelty…  More info

Admiral's Cask Dark Rum Barrel
$46.81

Five Rivers Indian Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Five Rivers Rum

Though Five Rivers rum is distilled in England, it boasts a whole host of Indian spices! Cardamom, cassia, ginger, clove, and coriander seed are re-distilled into a blend of pot and column-distilled…  More info

Five Rivers Indian Spiced Rum
1
$38.61

Devon Rum Co. Honey Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Devon Rum Co.

A wonderfully well-rounded spiced rum here from the Devon Rum Co., featuring a blend of Caribbean rums, alongside local wild flower honey and a host of spices. As you might expect, the result is…  More info

Devon Rum Co. Honey Spiced Rum
$42.13

Four Feathers Golden Rum

70cl, 40%
Four Feathers

For its Golden Rum, Wales' Four Feathers sourced some aged tasty spirits from the Caribbean, including some funky Jamaican rum. It was blended with Welsh spring water before being bottled, full of…  More info

Four Feathers Golden Rum
1
$40.96

Old Mother Hunt Smoky Oak Golden Rum

70cl, 40%
Old Mother Hunt

An intriguing rum from Old Mother Hunt which, instead of being aged in wood, has actually been infused with it! It's been infused with charred American white oak, adding dry, slightly spicy, subtly…  More info

Old Mother Hunt Smoky Oak Golden Rum
$42.13

Rockhopper Rum

50cl, 40%
Rockhopper Rum

A fabulous rum from the team at Rockhopper in Belgium. Made with a blend of rums from Panama, Dominican Republic and Guatemala, each aged in ex-bourbon casks for a minimum of five years, this is a…  More info

Rockhopper Rum
$42.13

Batch Broken Biscuits Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Batch Spirits

This expression from Batch Spirits was created by the team's junior distiller Ryan, inspired by the biscuits of local biscuit luminaries, Farmhouse Biscuits. Based on the flavours of Farmhouse…  More info

Batch Broken Biscuits Rum
$40.96

Yarm Pink Rum

70cl, 40%
Yarm Distillery

You've heard of pink gin, but now the Yarm Distillery has created Pink Rum! The team combined a white rum with strawberries, rhubarb, and rose petal to create tipple that's fruit-forward with a…  More info

Yarm Pink Rum
$37.45
Special Offer

Rumbullion! and Goose Island IPA Bundle

202cl, 18.7%
Ableforth's

Pick up a bundle of multi-award-winning spiced rum and multi-award-winning beer right here, folks! This bundle contains a bottle of Ableforth's brilliant Rumbullion!, alongside four 330ml cans of…  More info

Rumbullion! and Goose Island IPA Bundle
RRP $50.21
$34.99

Dominican Republic 7 Year Old 2013 (cask 2) - Berry Bros. & Rudd

70cl, 57.6%
Alcoholes Finos Dominicanos

7 year old rum from the Alcoholes Finos Dominicanos Distillery in the Dominican Republic! This was independently bottled by the good folk at Berry Bros. & Rudd, who are perhaps better known for their…  More info

Dominican Republic 7 Year Old 2013 (cask 2) - Berry Bros. & Rudd
$120.99

Lost Years Arribada Cask Aged Rum

70cl, 42%
Lost Years

This is the first limited-edition rum from the Lost Years range, featuring a blend of aged rums from the Dominican Republic, Panama, El Salvador, Venezuela and Nicaragua. Just 420 bottles were…  More info

Lost Years Arribada Cask Aged Rum
$50.33

Base Spirits Dark Rum (10L)

1000cl, 40%
Base Spirits

Estimated despatch 21 May We love dark rum-based cocktails, and we know that's a common thing. They're very good, so it makes sense. Bars end up going through plenty of dark rum as a result of…  More info

Base Spirits Dark Rum (10L)
$324.08

Ninefold Dormont Spiced

70cl, 40%
Ninefold

A Scottish spiced rum from Ninefold over in Scotland! Dormont Spiced is made with a base of its own unaged Pure Single Rum, which is then flavoured with nutmeg, allspice, and aniseed, and slightly…  More info

Ninefold Dormont Spiced
$43.30

Eccentric Black Batch Rum

70cl, 40%
Eccentric Gin

From the folks at Eccentric Gin in Wales comes Black Batch Rum! Its name is a reference to the heavily charred American oak casks that it was rested in, though it's also been treated to the addition…  More info

Eccentric Black Batch Rum
$37.45

Unconventional Distillery Original White Rum

70cl, 38%
Unconventional Distillery

The Unconventional Distillery is based in the north of England, specifically Lincoln, and this is its Original White Rum! It's distilled in a 12 plate reflux still rather than a traditional pot…  More info

Unconventional Distillery Original White Rum
$28.07

Charles Butler Rambunctious Spiced Rum

50cl, 42%
Charles Butler

It's the Rambunctious Spiced Rum from Charles Butler – famed sweet maker as well as distiller! Distilled in England, this warming bottling is an homage to the aforementioned confectionary, full of…  More info

Charles Butler Rambunctious Spiced Rum
$46.81

Panamá-Pacific Reserva 9

70cl, 47.3%
Panamá-Pacific

From the San Carlos Distillery in Panama, a nine year old rum distilled from Cuban style sugar cane molasses. This spends three years in ex-bourbon casks, before moving over for a generous six year…  More info

Panamá-Pacific Reserva 9
$62.05

Panamá-Pacific Blanco 3

100cl, 40%
Panamá-Pacific

This three year old rum is distilled at San Carlos Distillery in Panama. Made from sugar cane molasses, it is aged in ex-bourbon barrels, before being filtered to remove the colour – but certainly…  More info

Panamá-Pacific Blanco 3
$46.81

The Public Spirit Original Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
The Public Spirit

A spiced variation of The Public Spirit Rum! Featuring spirits from the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, this expression was also made with salted toffee and a secret selection of…  More info

The Public Spirit Original Spiced Rum
2
$38.61

Lost Years Silver Moon Rum

70cl, 40%
Lost Years

It's a white rum from the Lost Years range! A blend of unaged rums from Caribbean go into this one – specifically, Coffey still rum from Jamaica, and high-ester pot still rum from Barbados. The folks…  More info

Lost Years Silver Moon Rum
$33.93

Hampden Estate 8 Year Old Gift Pack with 2x Glasses

70cl, 46%
Hampden

This bottle of Hampden Estate 8 Year Old comes in a rather lovely gift set, accompanied by a pair of very impressive Riedel tumblers. Just the thing you'll want to sip the full-bodied, estery…  More info

Hampden Estate 8 Year Old Gift Pack with 2x Glasses
$77.28

St Nicholas Abbey 22 Year Old

70cl, 40%
St Nicholas Abbey

From St Nicholas Abbey in Barbados comes an incredibly well-matured single cask rum, which has been bottled at 22 years of age. Always a treat to see rum reach lofty ages like this, and likely to be…  More info

St Nicholas Abbey 22 Year Old
$878.86

Yarm Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Yarm Distillery

The Yarm Distillery (it's in Yarm, funnily enough) has gone and made a tasty spiced rum! Build around a core of aged rum, this expression has had a helping of spices to accentuate the bold, warming…  More info

Yarm Spiced Rum
$37.45

Yarm Pineapple Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Yarm Distillery

Not content with having just one spiced rum in its stable, the Yarm Distillery went and made its very own Pineapple Spiced Rum! Tasty pineapple is combined with Caribbean rum, alongside clove,…  More info

Yarm Pineapple Spiced Rum
$37.45

Old Mother Hunt Winter Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Old Mother Hunt

A cockle-warming rum from Old Mother Hunt, bundling in all sorts of festive flavours – hence its name, Winter Spiced! It's infused with a whole host of spices along with homemade caramel. Amp up the…  More info

Old Mother Hunt Winter Spiced Rum
$42.13

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