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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. 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.

Bacardi Superior 1l - 1970s

100cl, 40%
Bacardi

A 1970s one litre bottling of classic Bacardi Superior Carta Blanca white rum. This bottle was part of a private collection. More detailed information and photographs of this item are…  More info

Bacardi Superior 1l - 1970s
$175.32

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
$116.88

Bacardi Superior 37.5cl - 1980s

38cl, 40%
Bacardi

A rather angular half bottle of Bacardi Superior rum produced in the 1980s. As one of the world's most popular spirits, this ought to appeal to some of the antique spirits enthusiasts out…  More info

Bacardi Superior 37.5cl - 1980s
$73.05

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
$219.15

Ron Montero Plata

70cl, 37.50%
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
$25.11

Lamb's Navy Rum 1l - 1980s

100cl, 40%
Lamb's

A one litre bottling of Lamb's Navy Rum thought to date from the 1980s. This bottle was part of a private collection. More detailed information and photographs of this item are available,…  More info

Lamb's Navy Rum 1l - 1980s
$175.32

Bacardi Carta Blanca 37.5% - 1970s

75cl, 37.50%
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
$175.32

El Dorado Rare Collection - Versailles 2002

70cl, 63%
El Dorado

The El Dorado Rare Collection gives light to three of Guyana's most well-loved rum distilleries - Port Mourant, Enmore and Versailles. This one comes from the single wooden pot still of Versailles,…  More info

El Dorado Rare Collection - Versailles 2002
$194.74

El Dorado Rare Collection - Enmore 1993

70cl, 56.50%
El Dorado

The Enmore from El Dorado's Rare collection, distilled in 1993 and bottled in 2015. The Rare Collection shows off rum from three of Guyana's well-loved rum distilleries - Enmore, Versailles and Port…  More info

El Dorado Rare Collection - Enmore 1993
$219.09

El Dorado Rare Collection - Port Mourant 1999

70cl, 61.40%
El Dorado

One of a trio of rums from El Dorado's Rare Collection, launched in 2016. Each one features rum from one of three renowned Guyanese rum distilleries - this one comes from the double wooden pot still…  More info

El Dorado Rare Collection - Port Mourant 1999
$242.22

Bacardi Carta de Oro - 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 - 1970s
$175.32

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
$25.68

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
$45.48

Mezan Jamaica Worthy Park 2005

70cl, 40%
Worthy Park

A Mezan bottling of Jamaican rum from the Worthy Park Estate, situated in the Vale of Lluidas. Distilled in 2005 and bottled at 40% ABV for the well-loved Mezan selection of independently bottled…  More info

Mezan Jamaica Worthy Park 2005
$40.21

Mezan Jamaica XO Gift Pack with 2x Glasses

70cl, 40%
Mezan

A tasty Jamaican rum from the Mezan range, presented in a set which would make for a delicious gift! This include a full 70cl bottle of Mezan Jamaica XO and two glasses.  More info

Mezan Jamaica XO Gift Pack with 2x Glasses
$45.48

Monymusk 12 Year Old 2003 (cask 18) - Single Cask Rum (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 51.80%
Monymusk

Single cask rum from the Monymusk distillery, bottled by Duncan Taylor! This was distilled in August 2003 and aged in a cask until February 2016, when it was bottled with an outturn of 157 bottles.  More info

Monymusk 12 Year Old 2003 (cask 18) - Single Cask Rum (Duncan Taylor)
$79.22

Long Pond Distillery 15 Year Old 2000 (cask 65) - Single Cask Rum (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 51.90%
Long Pond Distillery

A single cask independent bottling of rum from the Long Pond distillery in Jamaica, famous for being where the much-loved Captain Morgan brand was established. This was distilled in 2000 and matured…  More info

Long Pond Distillery 15 Year Old 2000 (cask 65) - Single Cask Rum (Duncan Taylor)
$82.68

Epris 16 Year Old 1999 (cask 3) - Single Cask Rum (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 47.50%
Epris

A single cask bottling of rum from the Epris distillery in Brazil, distilled in 1999 and bottled 16 years later by Duncan Taylor.  More info

Epris 16 Year Old 1999 (cask 3) - Single Cask Rum (Duncan Taylor)
$76.69

Diamond Distillery 12 Year Old 2002 (cask 131) - Single Cask Rum (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 53.40%
Diamond Distillery

We love single cask rum bottlings from Duncan Taylor - always exciting to find out more about the rum distilleries around the world. This particular one was distilled in January 2002 by the Diamond…  More info

Diamond Distillery 12 Year Old 2002 (cask 131) - Single Cask Rum (Duncan Taylor)
$60.54

Darsa 8 Year Old 2007 (cask 6) - Single Cask Rum (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 52.30%
Darsa Distillery

A single cask rum from the Darsa distillery in Guatemala, bottled by Duncan Taylor. It was distilled in July 2007 and bottled in February 2016 with an outturn of 298 bottles.  More info

Darsa 8 Year Old 2007 (cask 6) - Single Cask Rum (Duncan Taylor)
$58.18

Bellevue 17 Year Old 1998 (cask 94) - Single Cask Rum (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 52.20%
Bellevue

This right is here an independent bottling of rum from Guadeloupe, aged in a single cask for 17 years. It was distilled by the Bellevue distillery in 1998 and bottled 17 years later by Duncan Taylor.  More info

Bellevue 17 Year Old 1998 (cask 94) - Single Cask Rum (Duncan Taylor)
$118.08

Bacardi Superior - 1980s

70cl, 37.50%
Bacardi

An old 70cl bottling of classic white rum from Bacardi that dates from the 1980s. This bottle was part of a private collection. More detailed information and photographs of this item are…  More info

Bacardi Superior - 1980s
$146.10

New Dawn 18 Rum Solera

70cl, 42%
New Dawn Traders

A Solera-aged Dominican Republic rum presented by the New Dawn Traders range, crafted for them by Oliver and Oliver.  More info

New Dawn 18 Rum Solera
$77.40

Dualist Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Dualist

Dualist Spiced Rum was created by a pair of Irish brothers - tasty in a mixed drink, cocktail or simply sipped over ice.  More info

Dualist Spiced Rum
$45.54

Ron Aguere White Rum

70cl, 37.50%
San Bartolomé de Tejina

Blanco sugar cane rhum from the Canary Islands "a rum for people who live life passionately", we're told.  More info

Ron Aguere White Rum
$24.38

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