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.

Plantation Barbados 2011

70cl, 51.1%
Plantation

The excellent rum was produced in Barbados by the West Indies Rum Distillery, and was distilled back in 2011. After four and a half years of maturation in Barbados in bourbon casks, the rum took a…  More info

Plantation Barbados 2011
$62.20

Spirited Union Pink Grapefruit & Rose

70cl, 38%
Spirited Union

Yet another excellent expression from Spirited Union! This botanical rum is made with a base of Swazi rum, which is combined with distilled pink grapefruit skins, as well as infused blood orange and…  More info

Spirited Union Pink Grapefruit & Rose
$33.29

Spirited Union Sweet Orange & Ginger

70cl, 38%
Spirited Union

Another brilliant botanical rum from the Spirited Union team, which was made with Jamaican rum, infused and distilled Valencia and Curaçao oranges, as well as fresh ginger root. This one strikes a…  More info

Spirited Union Sweet Orange & Ginger
$35.52

A.H. Riise Non Plus Ultra Ambre d'or Excellence

70cl, 42%
A. H. Riise

Another top rum from A.H. Riise, Ambre d'or Excellence has been aged in casks which previously held Sauternes dessert wine, adding honeyed, floral notes to the spirit. You'll spot the Roman term 'Non…  More info

A.H. Riise Non Plus Ultra Ambre d'or Excellence
$114.43

Jamaica 2019 Pedro Ximénez Cask - 1423 Single Barrel Selection

70cl, 62.6%
1423

A sherried Jamaican rum here bottled up by 1423 for Drinks by the Dram! This expression is a DOK marque rum from an undisclosed distillery in Jamaica, which was distilled in 2019, and matured in a…  More info

Jamaica 2019 Pedro Ximénez Cask - 1423 Single Barrel Selection
$94.42

Mauritius 9 Year Old 2010 (cask 1) - Berry Bros. & Rudd

70cl, 46%
Berry Brothers and Rudd

A richly fruity rum all the way from Mauritius, independently bottled by Berry Bros. & Rudd. It was distilled back in 2010, eventually moved over to a Port pipe for a finishing period, then bottled…  More info

Mauritius 9 Year Old 2010 (cask 1)  - Berry Bros. & Rudd
$97.76

Damoiseau Concordia

70cl, 40%
Damoiseau

For this Concordia expression distilled at the Bellevue Distillery in Guadeloupe, Damoiseau blended together agricole and molasses rums. The blend was rested in re-charred bourbon barrels, so there's…  More info

Damoiseau Concordia
$49.97

The Last Drop 1976 Very Old Jamaica Rum

75cl, 68.5%
The Last Drop

The Last Drop has gone and bottled up a tremendous rum all the way from Jamaica! This expression was distilled back in 1976, and was aged in ex-bourbon barrels for 43 years, with part of that…  More info

The Last Drop 1976 Very Old Jamaica Rum
$3,468.01

Ron San Miguel Solera 1952

70cl, 43%
San Miguel

This rum hails from Ecuador, and was produced by Ron San Miguel! Distilled from sugar cane, it was eventually drawn from an American oak solera system – hence the name. Bright tropical notes balance…  More info

Ron San Miguel Solera 1952
$44.40

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
$833.66

El Salvador 2008 - 1423 Single Barrel Selection

70cl, 55%
1423

The folks at 1423 looks to Central America's smallest country for this bottling, distilled in El Salvador in 2008! The molasses rum rested in a single cask until 2020, when it was bottled for the…  More info

El Salvador 2008 - 1423 Single Barrel Selection
$122.22

Mezan Chiriquí Rum

70cl, 40%
Mezan

This rum, dubbed Chiriquí, is the work of Mezan, and boasts an intriguing cask finish! Distilled in Panama, after an initial maturation in American white oak bourbon casks it was transferred to…  More info

Mezan Chiriquí Rum
$35.52

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
$122.27

Guyana 2003 - 1423 Single Barrel Selection

70cl, 59.7%
1423

A Guyanese rum here from Danish bottler 1423, released as part of the Single Barrel Expression. This fantastic expression was distilled back in 2003 and left alone to mature in a single cask until…  More info

Guyana 2003 - 1423 Single Barrel Selection
$172.24

Mauritius 2010 Experimental Cask Series - 1423 Single Barrel Selection (4 x 200ml)

80cl, 51.5%
Grays

this set from the 1423 Experimental Cask Series, features four 200ml bottles of rum from Grays in Mauritius, each one slightly different from the other. One was aged in French oak and chestnut wood…  More info

Mauritius 2010 Experimental Cask Series - 1423 Single Barrel Selection (4 x 200ml)
$133.33

Jamaica 2014 Experimental Cask Series - 1423 Single Barrel Selection (4 x 200ml)

80cl, 49%
Worthy Park

This is a set of four 200ml bottles of rum from Jamaica's Worthy Park, independently bottled by 1423. Interestingly, each of these rums were finished in different types of cask, but the rums…  More info

Jamaica 2014 Experimental Cask Series - 1423 Single Barrel Selection (4 x 200ml)
$133.33

Darkwood 13 Year Old 2007 (cask 5) - Heroes & Heretics

70cl, 50.9%
Heroes & Heretics

Heroes & Heretics has bottled up a rum for us! Darkwood is a Caribbean rum distilled in February 2007, and it was rested in a single cask for 13 years until it was bottled in August 2020. A limited…  More info

Darkwood 13 Year Old 2007 (cask 5) - Heroes & Heretics
$98.88

Martinique 2019 - 1423 Single Barrel Selection

70cl, 53%
1423

Exciting stuff here, it's the first Martinique rum to be bottle by 1423 for the Single Barrel Selection! It was distilled in a column still in 2019, and rested in a Pedro Ximénez sherry cask until…  More info

Martinique 2019 - 1423 Single Barrel Selection
$111.10

Jamaica 2010 - 1423 Single Barrel Selection

70cl, 52%
1423

Those 1423 folks have bottled another wonderfully estery Jamaican rum for us to enjoy! This one was pot distilled in 2010, and left to mature in a cask which previously held both bourbon and Port…  More info

Jamaica 2010 - 1423 Single Barrel Selection
$116.66

Clément L'Elixir

70cl, 42%
Clément

A fabulous aged rhum agricole from Clément! Distilled on Martinique, the grassy spirit was then aged in French oak before it was bottled up in this handsome decanter, complete with cork stopper. A…  More info

Clément L'Elixir
$133.33

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
$200.08

Clément Très Vieux Rhum Agricole 1970 Millésime

70cl, 44%
Clément

This impressive bottle hails from Clément over in Martinique, and holds within it a 1970 vintage rhum agricole! See, we told you it was impressive. Lots of juicy sugar cane sweetness to be found…  More info

Clément Très Vieux Rhum Agricole 1970 Millésime
$653.88

Ron Artemi Etiqueta Plata - 1960s

99cl, 40%
Artemi

White rum produced in the 1960s by Spanish distillers Artemi. A rare anyique from over 40 years ago. This bottle was part of a private collection - if you'd like more detailed photos just get in…  More info

Ron Artemi Etiqueta Plata - 1960s
$53.35

Steuerrad Echter Übersee Rum - 1980s

70cl, 40%
Steuerrad

Using my very limited German I've managed to translate the name of this bottling with the following results: Steuerrad = steering wheel Echter = however Übersee = overseas. Combined with the…  More info

Steuerrad Echter Übersee Rum - 1980s
$80.03

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
$1,000.39

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