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.

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
$40.66

Edinburgh Rum

70cl, 40%
Edinburgh Rum

It's a spiced rum from Edinburgh here, appropriately dubbed Edinburgh Rum and dressed up in tartan! A base of Caribbean rum was shipped to the Scottish capital, and treated to the infusion of vanilla…  More info

Edinburgh Rum
$34.84

Ripping Yarns Golden Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Ripping Yarns

An English spiced rum from Ripping Yarns, come to us all the way from Surrey! The rum itself is double pot distilled before it's infused with botanicals and spices. There's also someone riding a…  More info

Ripping Yarns Golden Spiced Rum
$45.31

Hygge Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Hygge

Created during 2020 Lockdown, Hygge is a small batch Caribbean rum infused with the likes of ginger, nutmeg and clove. In addition to these classic spiced rum flavours, natural lime and caramel are…  More info

Hygge Spiced Rum
$40.66

Rockfall Botanical Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Rockfall

Rockfall is a spiced rum produced in Buckinghamshire, features the likes of caramel and vanilla among its ingredients, imparting a creamy sweetness alongside softly toasty spices. More than enjoyable…  More info

Rockfall Botanical Spiced Rum
$45.31

Unconventional Distillery Charybdis

70cl, 37.5%
Unconventional Distillery

A particularly fruit-forward spiced rum from the Unconventional Distillery in Lincoln! Charybdis boasts a selection of spices, alongside vibrant orange and juicy cherry notes, making for an enjoyable…  More info

Unconventional Distillery Charybdis
$30.19

Kirk & Sweeney XO

70cl, 65.5%
Kirk & Sweeney

The Kirk & Sweeney range grows one larger with this XO expression! A tremendous rum from the Dominican Republic, drawn from American oak barrels and bottled up at a particularly robust 65.5% ABV.…  More info

Kirk & Sweeney XO
$325.65

Unconventional Distillery Opus

70cl, 63%
Unconventional Distillery

An unaged overproof rum from Lincoln's Unconventional Distillery, dubbed Opus and bottled at 63% ABV! It's fresh, mineral, and gently spicy, and we're sure it'll more than hold its own in cocktails.  More info

Unconventional Distillery Opus
$40.66

Unconventional Distillery Time Machine Rum

70cl, 40%
Unconventional Distillery

An intriguing rum for those of you who love a gadget, Time Machine from England's Unconventional Distillery is rapidly-aged in white oak barrels. Using some fancy technology (it's top secret, that's…  More info

Unconventional Distillery Time Machine Rum
$38.33

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
$27.86

Cayo Grande Club Blanco Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Cayo Grande Club

Another top Spanish rum from Cayo Grande Club, this unaged expression was distilled from sugar cane. It's grassy and gently sweet, perfect for using in cocktails.  More info

Cayo Grande Club Blanco Rum
$23.21

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
$3,629.34

Martinique Rum 2008 (cask 4) - Samaroli

70cl, 45%
Samaroli

A single cask rum from a mystery distillery in Martinique, bottled by the wonderful Samaroli! Distilled in 2008, it was shipped over to Scotland to be matured and bottled, with an outturn of 317…  More info

Martinique Rum 2008 (cask 4) - Samaroli
$104.64

Wing Walker Rum

70cl, 40%
Wing Walker

Wing Walker Rum is made using a blend of pot distilled rums from Venezuela and Dominica, offering up notes of caramel, citrus peels and vanilla. Suitable for bringing some warming, well-rounded…  More info

Wing Walker Rum
1
$45.31

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
$127.91

Diamond 15 Year Old - Kinghaven

50cl, 59.2%
Diamond Distillery

The Kinghaven single cask series boasts another top rum in the form of this 15 year old from the Diamond Distillery, bottled by the same folks behind Smögen! It was distilled from a wooden Versailled…  More info

Diamond 15 Year Old - Kinghaven
$139.53

Island Signature Anacaona

70cl, 40%
Island Signature Rum

This Island Signature rum from the Dominican Republic was named after Anacaona, a Taíno cacique. She was the chief of the Xaragua as well as a religious expert and poet born in the 1400s. Anacaona’s…  More info

Island Signature Anacaona
$40.66

Island Signature Tierra Madre

70cl, 40%
Island Signature Rum

From Island Signature comes this Guatemalan rum, dubbed Tierra Madre (or 'Mother Earth'). It's distilled from sugar cane juice, and then aged in oak at a high altitude. The result is a honeyed,…  More info

Island Signature Tierra Madre
$40.66

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
$102.31

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
$872.44

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
$127.96

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
$209.39

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
$684.30

Banks The Endeavour - Limited Edition No.1 - 16 Year Old 1996 Rum

70cl, 43%
Banks

A limited edition rum produced by Banks, which includes rums from Jamaica and Guyana. The Endeavour is named after the famous J-Class yacht and is the first in a new limited edition series of…  More info

Banks The Endeavour - Limited Edition No.1 - 16 Year Old 1996 Rum
$378.05

1731 British West Indies XO

70cl, 46%
1731

This expression from Dutch independent rum bottler 1731 features an ace blend of spirits from Trinidad, Jamaica and Barbados, resulting in a fruit-forward dark rum. Suitable for sipping neat, though…  More info

1731 British West Indies XO
1
$48.80

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