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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.

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
$26.66

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
$35.90

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
$225.94

Clément 10 Year Old

70cl, 42%
Clément

A very rich, decadent expression from the Clément collection of marvellous Martinique rhum agricole. After spending 10 years in a selectin of re-charred and virgin oak barrels, this has taken on…  More info

Clément 10 Year Old
$67.63

Fine Cuban Rum 2003 - Sherry Finish (Bristol Spirits)

70cl, 43%
Bristol Spirits

A 2003 vintage rum all the way from Cuba, independently bottled by Bristol Spirits in 2016 after a finishing period in sherry casks. We do love these Bristol Spirits rums indeed!  More info

Fine Cuban Rum 2003 - Sherry Finish (Bristol Spirits)
$112.92

Ron Ocumare Blanco

70cl, 40%
Ocumare

A Venezuelan white rum from the Ron Ocumare range. Good for mixed drinks and cocktails. Handsome bottle, too.  More info

Ron Ocumare Blanco
$25.03

Rhum Arcane Delicatissime

70cl, 41%
The Arcane

Arcane golden agricole Delicatissime rum is produced at Gray's Distillery in Mauritius. It is made using fresh sugar cane and is aged in French oak ex-bourbon barrels for 18 months before being…  More info

Rhum Arcane Delicatissime
$39.54

Beach House White Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Beach House

Here we have White Spiced Rum from Beach House, produced in Mauritius. It's not very often that we come across a white spiced rum! The base rum is infused with tropical fruits, including lychee and…  More info

Beach House White Spiced Rum
$29.74

Watson's Trawler Rum 35cl

35cl, 40%
Watson's

A blended rum with spirit from Guyana and Barbados and a seal of approval winner at the 1997 International Spirits Challenge.  More info

Watson's Trawler Rum 35cl
$9.19

Gunroom 2 Ports Rum

70cl, 40%
Gunroom

From the Gunroom range 2 Ports Rum, a blend of rum from Trinidad with an age between 2-5 years and a minor portion of unaged Jamaican pot still rum - hence two ports. It's sublime in Daiquiris...  More info

Gunroom 2 Ports Rum
$31.77

Grand Kadoo Club 8 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Grand Kadoo

This handsome expression is an 8 year old Caribbean rum from the Grand Kadoo Club range - excellent for sipping neat or over ice. The name Grand Kadoo comes from The Grand Kadooment, an event during…  More info

Grand Kadoo Club 8 Year Old
$36.45

Toti White Rum Eco-Pouch (The Sustainable Spirit Co.)

280cl, 38%
Toti

The team behind Toti White Rum (also known as The Sustainable Spirit Co.) are all about sustainability, donating 15% of the profits from each bottle to supporting Caribbean marine conservation. The…  More info

Toti White Rum Eco-Pouch (The Sustainable Spirit Co.)
$84.73

La Factoría Ron El Viejo

70cl, 40%
La Factoría

The El Viejo expression from La Factoría blends together Central American molasses rum and agricole rum from Martinique. It's aged in a solera system before being bottled at 40% ABV, and if you're…  More info

La Factoría Ron El Viejo
$33.84

Distillerie De Paris Galabé Rum

50cl, 43%
Distillerie De Paris

From the first distillery to open in Paris in over a century comes a handcrafted rhum made from galabé. This is sugar cane juice from the island of Reunion, which has been distilled in Paris.  More info

Distillerie De Paris Galabé Rum
1
$54.39

William Hinton 6 Year Old Whisky Cask Matured

70cl, 42%
William Hinton

You've sampled Madeira wine - now familiarise yourself with William Hinton's range of Madeira-made rums! The brand founder's eponymous distillery can trace its roots back to 1845, when its agricole…  More info

William Hinton 6 Year Old Whisky Cask Matured
$80.55

Hattiers Resolute Navy Strength Rum

70cl, 54.5%
Hattiers

A Navy Strength expression from Hattiers! Dubbed Resolute, it's made from a blend of aged rums from Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Australia, bottled up at a burly 54.5% ABV. It's smoky, buttery, and…  More info

Hattiers Resolute Navy Strength Rum
$46.17

Toti Dark Rum Eco-Pouch (The Sustainable Spirit Co.)

280cl, 38%
Toti

The Sustainable Spirit Co. brings you a sustainable alternative to glass bottles in the form of the Eco-Pouch! This particular one holds Toti Dark Rum, enough to fill up four bottles. Now, it looks…  More info

Toti Dark Rum Eco-Pouch (The Sustainable Spirit Co.)
$100.60

Westerhall White Jack (69%)

75cl, 69%
Westerhall

From the Westerhall Estate in Grenada comes their White Jack overproof white rum, which has been bottled at 69% ABV. Use sparingly in rum punches and cocktails.  More info

Westerhall White Jack (69%)
$37.82

Port Morant 25 Year Old 1990 Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish (Bristol Spirits)

70cl, 46%
Port Morant

25 year old demerara rum! Bottle by Bristol Spirits in 2015, it was distilled in Guyana back in 1990.  More info

Port Morant 25 Year Old 1990 Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish (Bristol Spirits)
$251.62

Guyana 2003 - 1423 Single Barrel Selection

70cl, 59.7%
1423

A Guyanese rum here from Danish bottler 1423, released as part of the Single Barrel Expression. This fantastic expression was distilled back in 2003 and left alone to mature in a single cask until…  More info

Guyana 2003 - 1423 Single Barrel Selection
$159.18

Black Tot 40 Year Old

70cl, 44.2%
Black Tot

Following on from the Black Tot Last Consignment, this range continues to shine a spotlight on extraordinarily old rums with the Black Tot 40 Year Old. A Demerara rum distilled back in 1975 in…  More info

Black Tot 40 Year Old
3
$1,535.36

Samaroli Over The World - 2018 Edition

70cl, 45%
Samaroli

The 2018 edition of Samaroli's Over The World rum blend, marrying rums from... Well, from all over the world. Rum from the Caribbean, South America and Fiji features in the blend, and we can imagine…  More info

Samaroli Over The World - 2018 Edition
$150.45

Clément L'Elixir

70cl, 42%
Clément

A fabulous aged rhum agricole from Clément! Distilled on Martinique, the grassy spirit was then aged in French oak before it was bottled up in this handsome decanter, complete with cork stopper. A…  More info

Clément L'Elixir
$127.20

Hattiers Premium Reserve Rum

70cl, 40%
Hattiers

Produced by an independent rum blender in south Devon, Hattiers Premium Reserve Rum brings together aged rums from the Caribbean and South America. This includes rums from Jamaica, Guatemala, Panama…  More info

Hattiers Premium Reserve Rum
3
$37.90

Hattiers Eminence White Rum

70cl, 42%
Hattiers

This white rum from Hattiers, dubbed Eminence, brings together rums from all over the globe! Unaged Jamaican rum is blended with aged rum from Trinidad, Australia and Barbados, bottled over in Devon.…  More info

Hattiers Eminence White Rum
1
$30.76

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