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Rum

Popular Rum Types: Dark Rum | White Rum | Spiced 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.

Diplomático Single Vintage 2002

70cl, 43%
Diplomático

Single vintage rum from Diplomático? Delicious! This particular bottling of fantastic Venezuelan rum was distilled in 2002 and given a finishing period in Spanish Sherry casks before being bottled at…  More info

Diplomático Single Vintage 2002
$83.55

Caves Monte Crasto Rhum - 1970s

Justino de Sampaio

A old bottling of white rum from Justino de Sampaio of Alegre in Portugal dating from the 1970s. This bottle was part of a private collection. Please note that the label does not state the…  More info

Caves Monte Crasto Rhum - 1970s
$150.92

Guyanan Rum 24 Year Old - Berry's Best (Berry Bros. & Rudd) (La Maison du Whisky 60th Anniversary)

70cl, 46%
Berry Brothers and Rudd

An independently bottled rum from Guyana, released in celebration of La Maison du Whisky's 60th Anniversary, alongside a massive selection of top-notch drinks. This particular rum was aged for 24 and…  More info

Guyanan Rum 24 Year Old - Berry's Best (Berry Bros. & Rudd) (La Maison du Whisky 60th Anniversary)
$225.52

FAIR. Rum XO Gold Label Acacia Cask Finish (La Maison du Whisky 60th Anniversary)

70cl, 46%
FAIR.

A well-aged rum from the FAIR. range, which is based around Fair-Trade spirits. The rum itself was distilled in Belize and has been finished in a Acacia casks! It was released as part of La Maison du…  More info

FAIR. Rum XO Gold Label Acacia Cask Finish (La Maison du Whisky 60th Anniversary)
$109.52

Forsyths White 2015 - Habitation Velier

70cl, 57%
Worthy Park

An independently bottled Jamaican white rum from the Habitation Velier range. This was distilled by Worthy park using their Forsyths still, and has been bottled at 57% ABV.  More info

Forsyths White 2015 - Habitation Velier
$55.55

Sweden Rock Extra Old Rum - 25 Year Anniversary

70cl, 40%
Herman Jansen

A limited edition Guyanese rum released in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Sweden Rock Festival, held yearly in Norje. Very handsomely packaged, with a presentation box designed to look…  More info

Sweden Rock Extra Old Rum - 25 Year Anniversary
1
$95.97

Cana Brava 7 Year Old Rum

75cl, 45%
Las Cabras

A 7 year old rum from The 86 Company's Cana Brava range, distilled by Panamanian distillery Las Cabras and matured in ex-bourbon casks. The 86 Company's spirits are known for being excellent in…  More info

Cana Brava 7 Year Old Rum
$43.02

Hampden Rum Fire Velvet

70cl, 63%
Hampden

An overproof Jamaican white rum from Hampden Estate, great for using (sparingly!) in cocktails and mixed drinks.  More info

Hampden Rum Fire Velvet
$30.59

NV Caribbean Rhum

70cl, 40%
NV Spirits

The Envy & NV range expanded in 2016 from one Absinthe to a number of different spirits, including this Caribbean white molasses rhum!  More info

NV Caribbean Rhum
$19.24

WM Cadenhead 8 Year Old Green Label Guatemalan Rum

70cl, 46%
WM Cadenhead

An 8 year old rum from Guatemala, which has been independently bottled by the chaps from WM Cadenhead.  More info

WM Cadenhead 8 Year Old Green Label Guatemalan Rum
$42.85

Isla De Canas Añejo Reserva

70cl, 40%
Isla de Canas

7 year old rum distilled in Panama as prt of the Isla de Canas range. Good value for money, suitable for enjoying over ice or used in cocktails.  More info

Isla De Canas Añejo Reserva
$26.36

Ron Viejo De Caldas 3 Year Old

70cl, 37.5%
Caldas

This is a 3 year old rum from the Ron Viejo De Caldas range, produced in Colombia. Good value for money, and works well in cocktails and mixed drinks.  More info

Ron Viejo De Caldas 3 Year Old
$18.71

Bardinet Negrita Dry & Light - 1990s

70cl, 38%
Bardinet Distillery

A collectible bottle of white rum produced by Bardinet back in the 1990s. Should be interesting for cocktail enthusiasts. This bottle was part of a private collection. More detailed information…  More info

Bardinet Negrita Dry & Light - 1990s
$100.61

Bardinet Old Nick Rhum Negrita - 1980s

75cl, 40%
Bardinet Distillery

This is a rare 1980s bottle of Bardinet Old Nick Rhum Negrita. A collectable item. This bottle was part of a private collection. More detailed information and photographs of this item are…  More info

Bardinet Old Nick Rhum Negrita - 1980s
$125.77

Four Bells Navy Rum 1l - 1980s

100cl, 57%
Four Bells

A rare old bottle of Four Bells Navy Rum thought to date from the 1980s, produced in Guyana. This bottle was part of a private collection. More detailed information and photographs of this item…  More info

Four Bells Navy Rum 1l - 1980s
$188.65

Presidente Marti Añejo

70cl, 40%
Oliver & Oliver

An añejo solera-aged rum from the Dominican Republic, produced by Oliver & Oliver for the Presidente Marti range.  More info

Presidente Marti Añejo
$29.56

Presidente Marti 19

70cl, 40%
Oliver & Oliver

This is a rich and thick well-aged 19 year solera rum from the Presidente Marti range, made in the style of Cuban rum (though produced in the Dominican Republic).  More info

Presidente Marti 19
$48.19

Rhum Bielle 2002 (bottled 2014)

70cl, 52%
Distillerie Bielle

A tasty 2002 vintage rhum agricole from Distillerie Bielle on the island of Marie-Galante, just south of Guadeloupe. A rather spicy expression, this...  More info

Rhum Bielle 2002 (bottled 2014)
$491.68

Lamb's Navy Rum 37.5cl - 1960s

38cl, 40%
Lamb's

A half-bottle of Lamb's Navy Rum produced in the 1960s. If you're assembling a collection of Navy paraphernalia, a bottle of this rum would certainly fit in well indeed. This bottle was part of a…  More info

Lamb's Navy Rum 37.5cl - 1960s
$100.61

Captain Morgan Black Label - 1980s

70cl, 73%
Captain Morgan

A rare old bottling of Captain Morgan Overproof Black Label Jamaican rum thought to date from the 1980s. This bottle was part of a private collection. More detailed information and photographs…  More info

Captain Morgan Black Label - 1980s
$188.65

Ron Montero Plata

70cl, 37.5%
Ron Montero

A platinum rum from Rum Montero, founded in 1963 by an established sugar cane growing family in Motril, Granada.  More info

Ron Montero Plata
$21.62

Bacardi Carta Blanca 37.5% - 1970s

75cl, 37.5%
Bacardi

A rare old bottling of classic Bacardi white rum from Funky Nassau, Bahamas. This bottle was part of a private collection. More detailed information and photographs of this item are available,…  More info

Bacardi Carta Blanca 37.5% - 1970s
$150.92

Bacardi Carta de Oro Dark Dry - 1970s

75cl, 40%
Bacardi

A 75cl bottle of gold rum from Bacardi dating from the 1970s. This bottle was part of a private collection. More detailed information and photographs of this item are available, please contact…  More info

Bacardi Carta de Oro Dark Dry - 1970s
$150.92

Ron Cartavio Black

70cl, 40%
Destilerias Unidas

A blend of at least 9 different rums, aged between 2 and years. Enjoy with ginger ale or cola.  More info

Ron Cartavio Black
$22.11

Mezan Panama Don Jose 2006

70cl, 40%
Don Jose

Molasses rum from Panama, distilled in 2006 and double matured in two sets of American oak ex-bourbon casks.  More info

Mezan Panama Don Jose 2006
$39.15

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