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.

24 Days of Rum Advent Calendar 2020

48cl, 41.7%
1423

The 24 Days of Rum Advent Calendar from Danish independent rum bottler 1423 has been refreshed for 2020! It featuring 24 different 20ml miniature bottles of rum, each one from a different country,…  More info

24 Days of Rum Advent Calendar 2020
$86.16

Runaway Bay

70cl, 42.5%
Runaway Bay

Here we have Runaway Bay, a rum named for a beach on the north coast of Jamaica. The pot still rum brings together rum from four distilleries on the Island, including high ester spirit from Trelawny…  More info

Runaway Bay
1
$59.21

Mainbrace Navy Strength Rum

70cl, 54.5%
Mainbrace

A limited edition Navy Strength variant from Mainbrace. This one is an unusual blend of rums, with an unaged agricole from Martinique working alongside an aged Guyanese rum – not something you see…  More info

Mainbrace Navy Strength Rum
$48.44

Mainbrace Rum

70cl, 40%
Mainbrace

Mainbrace Rum is built using a blends of dark rums from Guyana (from three different stills, no less) and unaged rhum agricole from Martinique! A unique combination, and a marvellously tasty one too.…  More info

Mainbrace Rum
$37.67

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
$48.44

Liverpool Lost Dock Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Liverpool Lost Dock Rum

This spiced rum was inspired by the Old Dock in Liverpool, which was opened in 1716 but closed in 1826. Packing notes of vanilla, orange, tea, ginger, cardamom and a touch of smoke, this should be…  More info

Liverpool Lost Dock Spiced Rum
$41.97

Cutters Rum Punch Set

50cl, 37.5%
Cutters

If you want to taste the deliciousness of Cutters of Barbados' famous rum punch but travelling all the way Barbados is a bit of a stretch, you're in luck. This right here is a 50cl bottle of Cutters'…  More info

Cutters Rum Punch Set
1
$39.81

Cutters Harrismith Rum

50cl, 37.5%
Cutters

Named after Harrismith Beach in Barbados, Harrismith Rum was specifically made for mixing. Sugar cane-based rum and charred barrels were used in an effort to make it so the flavours of the rum carry…  More info

Cutters Harrismith Rum
1
$29.04

Grand Kadoo Carnival Spiced Rum

70cl, 38%
Grand Kadoo

A wonderfully flavoursome spiced rum from the Grand Kadoo Carnival range, named after the The Grand Kadooment, a part of the Crop Over Festival in Barbados. Expect generous helpings of warming baking…  More info

Grand Kadoo Carnival Spiced Rum
$30.12

Crusoe Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Lundin

We've got a Scottish spiced rum here from Lundin Distilling! Crusoe Spiced Rum is inspired by the real life inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Alexander Selkirk. A blend of aged Barbados…  More info

Crusoe Spiced Rum
$38.74

Grand Kadoo Carnival Pineapple

70cl, 38%
Grand Kadoo

If the brilliant brightness of pineapple combined with waves and waves of Caribbean rum-based deliciousness sounds like your sort of thing, you'll certainly enjoy Grand Kadoo's Carnival Pineapple…  More info

Grand Kadoo Carnival Pineapple
$30.12

Ron Zacapa Edición Negra

70cl, 43%
Ron Zacapa

An excellent Guatemalan rum from Ron Zacapa, Edición Negra has been aged in a combination of double charred American oak bourbon barrels and Pedro Ximénez casks. The casks work in harmony, and you'll…  More info

Ron Zacapa Edición Negra
$87.23

Grand Kadoo Club 8 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Grand Kadoo

This handsome expression is an 8 year old Caribbean rum from the Grand Kadoo Club range - excellent for sipping neat or over ice. The name Grand Kadoo comes from The Grand Kadooment, an event during…  More info

Grand Kadoo Club 8 Year Old
$39.81

Grand Kadoo Carinval Coconut

70cl, 38%
Grand Kadoo

Coconut and rum - a storied, much-adored flavour combo. The folks behind Grand Kadoo have gone ahead and made their own Carinval Coconut expression, combining its cracking Caribbean rum with the…  More info

Grand Kadoo Carinval Coconut
$30.12

Grand Kadoo Club 3 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Grand Kadoo

A 3 year old Caribbean rum here from the Grand Kadoo Club range. More than suitable for sipping neat or over ice, but this should also do particularly well bringing some aged rum richness to your…  More info

Grand Kadoo Club 3 Year Old
$34.47

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
$118.49

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
$201.45

Seven Three Distilling Black Pearl Rum

75cl, 42%
Seven Three Distilling

This rum from Seven Three Distilling wasn't inspired by that famous pirate film that everyone knows, but is in fact named for the reemergence of a New Orleans neighbourhood in the 1970s! The area,…  More info

Seven Three Distilling Black Pearl Rum
$53.83

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
$193.96

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
$169.12

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.)
$92.62

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
$168.05

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
$107.70

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
$51.72

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
$77.59

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