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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.

Trois Rivières Cuvée Du Moulin Rum

70cl, 40%
Trois Rivieres

A well-aged, rich rhum agricole from Trois Rivières, Cuvée Du Moulin is an utterly beguiling spirit with masses of spice and complexity.  More info

Trois Rivières Cuvée Du Moulin Rum
$53.51

Enmore Still 1988 (Bottled 2008) - Bristol Spirits

70cl, 43%
Enmore

A Demerara rum distilled by Enmore in 1988, matured in used bourbon casks until it was bottled by Bristol Spirits in the UK in 2008. Warming and sweet with burnt sugar and spice, followed by a long,…  More info

Enmore Still 1988 (Bottled 2008) - Bristol Spirits
$110.80

R L Seale's 10 Year Old

70cl, 43%
R L Seales

Quite possibly the greatest packaging ever to grace our humble, but delicious, shelves. R L Seales is a rich 10 year old rum from Barbados, lots of character and richness, very smooth too.  More info

R L Seale's 10 Year Old
9
$41.61

Cadenhead's Classic Rum

70cl, 50%
WM Cadenhead

Though known more for their whisky bottlings (they're one of the oldest independent bottlers in Scotland!), W.M. Cadenhead also bottle delicious rums, too. This is their Classic Rum, made with…  More info

Cadenhead's Classic Rum
$39.36

Mocambo 10 Year Old Mexican Rum Bucaneer Pistol

20cl, 40%
Licores Veracruz

A glass buccaner's pistol full of Mocambo Mexican rum! Produced in Cordoba, this is the perfect gift for the pirate in your life.  More info

Mocambo 10 Year Old Mexican Rum Bucaneer Pistol
$28.46

Zaya 12 Year Old Gran Reserva

70cl, 40%
Zaya

12 year old rum from Trinidad, bottled for the Zaya range. Made with a carefully crafted blend of rums, all of which have aged for at least 12 years, Zaya is a rich, oily, nutty expression. Good…  More info

Zaya 12 Year Old Gran Reserva
2
$74.16

Bristol Black Spiced Rum (Bristol Spirits)

70cl, 42%
Bristol Spirits

Made with a blend of aged rums, as well as touches of fruit and spice, Bristol Black Spiced Rum is not as sweet as your usual spiced rum. Of course, there's still plenty of Christmas cake and brown…  More info

Bristol Black Spiced Rum (Bristol Spirits)
$44.78

Penny Blue XO - Batch #004

70cl, 43.30%
Penny Blue

This is the fourth batch of Penny Blue Rum, produced at Medine, the oldest operational distillery in Mauritius. An excellent expression, made with rums aged between 4 and 11 years old. The Penny Blue…  More info

Penny Blue XO - Batch #004
1
$48.55

Rum-Bar Overproof 1l

100cl, 65%
Worthy Park

A blend of three unaged pot still Jamaican rums distilled and bottled at Worthy Park Estate.  More info

Rum-Bar Overproof 1l
1
$56.93

Old Grog

70cl, 40%
Grenada Distillers

Old Grog takes it's name for from the rum shipped from Grenada to England for King George III. This rum was labelled Georgius Rex Old Grenada and the abbreviation was taken to name this golden rum.  More info

Old Grog
3
$36.64

Long Pond 15 Year Old 2000 Jamaican Rum - Kill Devil (Hunter Laing)

70cl, 46%
Long Pond Distillery

This single cask Jamaican rum was distilled in June 2000 and bottled over 15 years later by Hunter Laing. It's part of their fantastic looking Kill Devil range!  More info

Long Pond 15 Year Old 2000 Jamaican Rum - Kill Devil (Hunter Laing)
$71.85

Plantation Trinidad 2001

70cl, 42%
Plantation

2001 vintage rum from Trinidad, which was blended, bottled and presented as part of the Plantation range by its owners, Cognac Ferrand. Heaps of fruit notes throughout this one - think ripe, exciting…  More info

Plantation Trinidad 2001
$45.85

Darsa 8 Year Old 2007 Guatemalan Rum - Kill Devil (Hunter Laing)

70cl, 46%
Darsa Distillery

A single cask rum from the home of Ron Zacapa and Ron Botran, distilled from a fermented 'honey' made from condensed sugar cane. The outturn from this single cask was 333 bottles.  More info

Darsa 8 Year Old 2007 Guatemalan Rum - Kill Devil (Hunter Laing)
$51.93

Matusalem 23 Gran Reserva

70cl, 40%
Matusalem

This is Matusalem's premium expression of Solera aged rum, the 23 Gran Reserva. The company was once based in Cuba, but have since moved to the Dominican Republic. They Solera age the majority of…  More info

Matusalem 23 Gran Reserva
1
$76.75

Plantation 3 Stars White Rum

70cl, 41.20%
Plantation

Plantation 3 Stars is a crisp, tasty white rum made by blending spirit produced in Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados. Some of the rums in the blend are aged, though their colour is removed via a process…  More info

Plantation 3 Stars White Rum
4
$26.82

Spirits of Old Man Rum Project One - Caribbean Rum

70cl, 40%
Spirits of Old Man

A blend of three aged Caribbean rums, including well aged and younger rum, from German bottler Spirits of Old Man. Very well presented.  More info

Spirits of Old Man Rum Project One - Caribbean Rum
$54.59

Appleton Estate Signature Blend

70cl, 40%
Appleton Estate

Formerly known as V/X and no longer carrying an age statement, Appleton's signature bland has been aptly renamed Signature Blend. A blend of rums matured in smaller barrels before marriage in cask  More info

Appleton Estate Signature Blend
$24.17

Brugal 1888 Ron Gran Reserva Familiar

70cl, 40%
Brugal

A very special old rum from Brugal. This was twice distilled and aged in American oak before a finish in Spanish oak sherry casks. A delicious dark rum from the Dominican Republic.  More info

Brugal 1888 Ron Gran Reserva Familiar
4
$48.23

Ron Barceló Imperial Premium Blend

70cl, 43%
Ron Barceló

A limited edition bottling of Ron Barceló, created in celebration of 30 years production. Every year since 1980, Miguel Barceló has set aside private reserves of his rum for two extra years of…  More info

Ron Barceló Imperial Premium Blend
$94.28

Foursquare 12 Year Old - Barbados Rum (Compagnie Des Indes)

70cl, 45%
Foursquare

A molasses rum distilled at Foursquare distillery and aged for 12 long years in a single ex-Buffalo Trace bourbon barrel!  More info

Foursquare 12 Year Old - Barbados Rum (Compagnie Des Indes)
$72.91

Rebellion Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.50%
Rebellion

A beautiful Trinidadian rum from a distillery founded in 1824. The producers recommend Rebellion Spiced be served long with cola and ice (and a squeeze of fresh lime juice).  More info

Rebellion Spiced Rum
$24.07

Brugal Añejo

70cl, 38%
Brugal

Brugal Anejo is a 5 year old Dominican rum. The company was founded by Andrés Brugal Montaner. The majority of the board members are actually descendants of Montaner.  More info

Brugal Añejo
12
$25.64

Wood's 100 Old Navy Rum

70cl, 57%
Wood's

Wood's is made from the finest sugar cane and distilled in Guyana, South America. Bottled at 57% abv, it is one of the highest percentage volume dark rums out there right now, at least at this…  More info

Wood's 100 Old Navy Rum
20
$30.59

Clarkes Court Pure White

75cl, 69%
Grenada Distillers

This is a white rum from Clarke's Court in Grenada who have made many multi-award winning rums.  More info

Clarkes Court Pure White
$48.42

Bacardi 8 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Bacardi

Bacardi's premium rum release, the 8 year old is blended with rums aged for between 8 and 16 years.  More info

Bacardi 8 Year Old
10
$33.21

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