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.

SeaWolf White Rum

70cl, 41%
SeaWolf

This unaged rum hails from Scotland, and is the delicious creation of Mike Aikman and Jason Scott (of Bramble, The Last Word and Lucky Liquor Co. fame), as well as Gavin Ferguson. The molasses rum is…  More info

SeaWolf White Rum
$39.93

Liv Navy Strength White Rum

50cl, 57.5%
Liv Rums

A Navy Strength variation of Liv's white rum, produced at the micro-distillery in Livingston, Scotland (by the same folks behind the excellent Matugga Rum. The distillers ferment the sugar cane…  More info

Liv Navy Strength White Rum
$31.51

Liv Pot Distilled White Rum

50cl, 42.5%
Liv Rums

Liv Pot Distilled White Rum comes to us all the way from Scotland (it's made by the same people who created the tasty Matugga Rum!), and from the name, you can probably guess how it was made.…  More info

Liv Pot Distilled White Rum
$26.24

Toti White Rum Eco-Pouch (The Sustainable Spirit Co.)

280cl, 38%
Toti

The team behind Toti White Rum (also known as The Sustainable Spirit Co.) are all about sustainability, donating 15% of the profits from each bottle to supporting Caribbean marine conservation. The…  More info

Toti White Rum Eco-Pouch (The Sustainable Spirit Co.)
$90.42

Papalin (2013 Bottling) - Velier

70cl, 42%
Velier

A rather unique blended rum created by Luca Gargano, he of Velier fame. Making up the blend is a generous helping of Cuban rum, with smaller amounts of Venezuelan rum from the Carupano Distillery,…  More info

Papalin (2013 Bottling) - Velier
$286.01

Foursquare Plenipotenziario 12 Year Old 2007

70cl, 60%
Foursquare

An impressive blend of pot and column still rum from Foursquare, Plenipotenziario is the sixth collaboration between the Barbados distillery and indie bottler Velier. It spent its 12 years of ageing…  More info

Foursquare Plenipotenziario 12 Year Old 2007
$157.78

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)
$58.90

Guyana 2008 - Rum Exchange

70cl, 58.3%
Rum Exchange

An independently bottled Guyanese rum from Rum Exchange! This one was distilled back in 2008 in the famed Port Mourant double wooden pot still. It rested in a bourbon cask until 2019, when it was…  More info

Guyana 2008 - Rum Exchange
$105.13

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
$115.66

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
$164.04

Barbados 2000 - 1423 Single Barrel Selection

70cl, 53.2%
Mount Gay

Another single cask rum from the ever wonderful 1423, this one was distilled over at Barbados' Mount Gay Distillery in the year 2000. The pot still rum then rested for the next two decades, until it…  More info

Barbados 2000 - 1423 Single Barrel Selection
$196.65

Jamaica 2008 - 1423 Single Barrel Selection

70cl, 62.9%
1423

A blend of pot and column still rums from various distilleries in Jamaica, distilled back in 2008 matured in a single barrel. It was then bottled by 1423 in March 2019 at 62.9% ABV without any…  More info

Jamaica 2008 - 1423 Single Barrel Selection
$107.24

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
$47.28

Hogerzeil Jules Verne Gold Rum

70cl, 43%
Hogerzeil

Distilled from organic molasses at the Hogerzeil Distillery in Paraguay, Jules Verne has been aged in American oak casks which previously held bourbon. The spice of the rum balances rather well with…  More info

Hogerzeil Jules Verne Gold Rum
$44.13

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
$165.09

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
$894.10

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
$252.45

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)
$65.17

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
$946.70

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
$115.71

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
$151.47

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
$100.98

Uitvlugt 17 Year Old 1999 Guyanese Rum - Kill Devil (Hunter Laing)

70cl, 46%
Uitvlugt

A Guyanese rum independently bottled by Hunter Laing for the Kill Devil selection. This was distilled in December 1999 by the closed Uitvlugt distillery, and bottled 17 years later with an outturn of…  More info

Uitvlugt 17 Year Old 1999 Guyanese Rum - Kill Devil (Hunter Laing)
$73.58
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Panama 2010 - Transcontinental Rum Line (La Maison du Whisky)

70cl, 43%
Rum Line

From La Maison du Whisky's Transcontinental Rum Line range (their very own independent rum bottling series!) comes a Panamanian expression from an undisclosed distillery - or "Mysterious Distillery",…  More info

Panama 2010 - Transcontinental Rum Line (La Maison du Whisky)
1
$52.55
$47.28

New Grove Double Cask Moscatel Finish

70cl, 47%
Grays

This dark rum from New Grove was aged 7 years in oak barrel and 1 year in Moscatel barrels to create a deeply rich, unctuous and delicious rum.  More info

New Grove Double Cask Moscatel Finish
$73.58

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