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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.

The Duppy Share White Rum

70cl, 40%
The Duppy Share

The Duppy Share folks teamed up with the brilliant British musician and actor Kano to create Duppy White! It's a 100% Jamaican rum, featuring a fantastically vibrant and delicious flavour profile of…  More info

The Duppy Share White Rum
$24.02

Drapers England Spiced Rum - Smoked Oak & Vanilla

50cl, 40%
Drapers

This spiced rum is produced by Drapers, who double distill molasses imported from the Caribbean! The rum is re-distilled in small batches whilst an array of botanicals such as ginger, cinnamon, and…  More info

Drapers England Spiced Rum - Smoked Oak & Vanilla
$42.26

Demerara Rum 2003 (cask 1700051) - Samaroli

70cl, 50%
Samaroli

Italian indie bottler Samaroli has gone and released another well-aged Demerara rum. This one was distilled back in 2003, and eventually bottled up in 2020 at a generous 50% ABV. It was drawn from a…  More info

Demerara Rum 2003 (cask 1700051) - Samaroli
$177.25

Saint James VSOP

70cl, 43%
Saint James

All the way from Martinique comes the Saint James VSOP rhum agricole, made with sugar cane juice and matured in oak to help develop its flavour profile. It maintains the bright, funky, grassy notes…  More info

Saint James VSOP
$42.84

Anglesey Rum Co. Llanddwyn Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Anglesey Rum Co.

From the Anglesey Rum Co. in Wales comes Llanddwyn Spiced Rum, which features a blend of spices to impart a warming flavour profile. Plus, there's a lighthouse on the label, which is always a good…  More info

Anglesey Rum Co. Llanddwyn Spiced Rum
$43.47

Anglesey Rum Co. Skerries Dark Rum

70cl, 40%
Anglesey Rum Co.

Dark rum here produced in Wales by the Anglesey Rum Co, which has been made with a base of molasses, and also with molasses added post-distillation. Lots of caramel and brown sugar notes to enjoy…  More info

Anglesey Rum Co. Skerries Dark Rum
1
$43.47

Bostin Drinks Co. Black Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Bostin Drinks Co.

The folks at Bostin Drinks Co. took inspiration from their combined years of drinking experience when creating this Black Spiced Rum with the intention of creating a perfectly versatile spiced rum,…  More info

Bostin Drinks Co. Black Spiced Rum
1
$35.40

Decorrum Spiced

70cl, 37.5%
Decorum

Decorrum Spiced takes inspiration from Art Deco for its design, and offers up a lip-smacking flavour profile built upon a selection of spices which includes honeycomb, vanilla, ginger, rhubarb,…  More info

Decorrum Spiced
$34.30

Remedy Spiced Rum

70cl, 41.5%
Remedy Rum

Harking back to the days of Prohibition in America, where rum (and, well, alcohol in general) was hard to come by, Remedy Spiced Rum is based on a recipe from 1922 which was sold at pharmacies as a…  More info

Remedy Spiced Rum
$34.26

The Original Rummers Golden Rum

70cl, 40%
The Original Rummers

This tasty rum is brought to us by The Mallows Distillery, as part of The Original Rummers collection. This is a three year old Caribbean rum, which has spent some time resting in American oak for a…  More info

The Original Rummers Golden Rum
1
$31.97

SAINT OGUN RUM

70cl, 40%
SAINT OGUN

SAINT OGUN is made using a blend of rums from five different distilleries in three different countries – Barbados, Guyana, and Jamaica. Both column and pot still rums are featured here, making for a…  More info

SAINT OGUN RUM
$43.47

Panama Rum 2000 (cask 7) - Samaroli

70cl, 45%
Samaroli

A wonderfully well aged Panamanian rum here, independently bottled by Samaroli. Distilled back in 2000, the cask was dispatched to Scotland for maturation. It was constantly monitored until, in early…  More info

Panama Rum 2000 (cask 7)  - Samaroli
$205.89

Demerara Rum 2007 (bottled 2021) (cask 5872) - Samaroli

70cl, 50%
Samaroli

A superb rum here from Samaroli's extensive independently bottled collection, distilled in Guyana back in 2007. It was aged in cask #5872 until 2021, when it was bottled up at 50% ABV, boasting bold…  More info

Demerara Rum 2007 (bottled 2021) (cask 5872) - Samaroli
$125.50

1000 Trades Spiced Rum

70cl, 38%
1000 Trades

A spiced rum here from the 1000 Trades team, featuring a blend of Caribbean rums, plus the tremendous trio of vanilla, ginger, and clove, alongside a few secret botanicals. The 1000 Trades Distillery…  More info

1000 Trades Spiced Rum
$41.16

Dictador 1974 Glenfarclas - 2 Masters (2nd Release)

70cl, 43.4%
Dictador

A sublime rum here from Dictador, distilled back in 1974 and allowed a finishing period in a whisky cask. Not just any whisky cask, mind. Specifically, it was a whisky cask from one of Speyside's…  More info

Dictador 1974 Glenfarclas - 2 Masters (2nd Release)
$1,277.31

Dictador 1977 Despagne - 2 Masters (2nd Release)

70cl, 46.3%
Dictador

Another expression from Dictador's exceptional 2 Masters series, showing off some extraordinarily well-matured Colombian rums which have enjoyed a finishing period in casks from other top drinks…  More info

Dictador 1977 Despagne - 2 Masters (2nd Release)
$487.63

Dictador 1979 Barton 1792 - 2 Masters

70cl, 46%
Dictador

Dictador's 2 Masters series shows off long-matured Colombian rum with interesting cask finishes, making for some incredible expressions. For example, this one right here was distilled in 1979 and…  More info

Dictador 1979 Barton 1792 - 2 Masters
$1,178.11

Dictador 1979 Barton 1792 Straight Rye Cask - 2 Masters

70cl, 45%
Dictador

An exceptional expression from Dictador for its 2 Masters series, this time finishing the long-age Colombian rum (from all the way back in 1979!) in a straight rye cask! Specifically, the cask came…  More info

Dictador 1979 Barton 1792 Straight Rye Cask - 2 Masters
$920.43

Dictador 1977 Royal Tokaji - 2 Masters

70cl, 46.2%
Dictador

Dictador's 2 Masters series sees well-matured Colombian rum finished in some particularly interesting casks. This expression, for example, was distilled all the way back in 1977, and given a…  More info

Dictador 1977 Royal Tokaji - 2 Masters
$685.54

Jester White Rum

50cl, 40%
Shakespeare

A British rum here from the Shakespeare Distillery in Stratford-upon-Avon, made with British molasses, fermented for seven days at the distillery. Following that, it's distilled twice, and eventually…  More info

Jester White Rum
$38.83

Professors Club White Rum

50cl, 42%
Professors Club

A magical mash up, The Professors Club White Rum is a blend of spirits from three distilleries in South Africa, Mauritius, and Reunion Island. It’s made by the minds behind Afterthought Spirits…  More info

Professors Club White Rum
$33.12

Scratch Botanical Rum

70cl, 42%
Scratch

A wonderfully crafty bit of work from the team at Scratch! This rum, distilled in Hertfordshire, is infused with an array of foraged British botanicals, collected seasonally. With experimental use of…  More info

Scratch Botanical Rum
$46.85

StoneShelf Botanical Rum

50cl, 40%
StoneShelf

An intriguing spiced rum all the way from Devon! StoneShelf Botanical Rum not only features a selection of spices at its core, but it's also aged in a combination of sherry casks and American oak…  More info

StoneShelf Botanical Rum
1
$41.12

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
$137.21

Solway Golden Rum

70cl, 40%
Solway Spirits

A richly warming rum from Solway Spirits in Scotland, featuring a blend of two distillations along with caramel, cinnamon, vanilla, and toffee. Great served over ice with a wedge of citrus, and…  More info

Solway Golden Rum
$34.26

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