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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.

Compagnie Des Indes West Indies 8 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Compagnie Des Indes

Intensely flavoursome eight year old rum from Compagnie Des Indes, made with a blend of spirits from Panama, Guyana, the Dominican Republic, and Barbados. Impressive stuff, with lots of spicy notes…  More info

Compagnie Des Indes West Indies 8 Year Old
$41.03

Verdant Light Rum

70cl, 43%
Verdant Spirits

A combination of pot, column and lightly oaked rums carefully blended giving each limited edition rum its distinctively clean, smooth flavour. Each bottle is individually numbered and signed by the…  More info

Verdant Light Rum
$40

Zuidam Flying Dutchman Premium Rum No.1

70cl, 40%
Zuidam

Zuidam is said to have been the first rum producer in Europe, certainly the first in the Netherlands. Their Premium Rum No.1 is made from pure cane molasses, triple distilled in pot stills and aged…  More info

Zuidam Flying Dutchman Premium Rum No.1
$35.68
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Clément Rhum Ambré

70cl, 40%
Clément

A simple, fragrant, grassy rhum agricole from Marinique distillers, Clément. After spending 12 months in oak casks, the Rhum Ambré ready to be enjoyed in cocktails or over ice.  More info

Clément Rhum Ambré
$29.24

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
$1,057.77

Greensand Ridge Wealden Rum

50cl, 40%
Greensand Ridge

Kentish rum? What fresh madness is this? Working from one of the country's smallest distilleries just up the road from MoM Towers, Will Edge is something of a spirits Womble - making good use of the…  More info

Greensand Ridge Wealden Rum
2
$33.88

Ron Mulata Blanco Reserva 3 Year Old

70cl, 38%
Ron Mulata

Sugar cane rhum from Ron Palma Mulata de Cuba aged for three whole years in American oak before being bottled as a blanco 'reserva'.  More info

Ron Mulata Blanco Reserva 3 Year Old
$24.16

Australia 2007 - 1423 Single Barrel Selection

70cl, 55%
1423

It's 1423's very first rum bottling from Down Under! This molasses rum was pot distilled in Australia in 2007, and rested in a bourbon barrel until it was independently bottled in February 2020. Just…  More info

Australia 2007 - 1423 Single Barrel Selection
$118.10

Rhum J.M Épices Creoles

70cl, 46%
Rhum J.M

A fragrant spiced rum with a distinct creole spice character. The Rhum J.M. Épices Creoles is made from pure, freshly pressed sugar cane juice grown in the volcanic soils of the Habitation Bellevue…  More info

Rhum J.M Épices Creoles
$59.32

Grand Kadoo Carnival Spiced Rum

70cl, 38%
Grand Kadoo

A wonderfully flavoursome spiced rum from the Grand Kadoo Carnival range, named after the The Grand Kadooment, a part of the Crop Over Festival in Barbados. Expect generous helpings of warming baking…  More info

Grand Kadoo Carnival Spiced Rum
$27.67

Ron Colón Salvadoreño Coffee Infused Rum

70cl, 40.5%
Ron Colón Salvadoreño

A lower-ABV edition of Ron Colón Salvadoreño's Coffee Infused Rum, an impressively flavoursome spirit perfect for sipping neat or for using in cocktails. This expression features a blend of rums,…  More info

Ron Colón Salvadoreño Coffee Infused Rum
$27.86

Compagnie Des Indes Latino 5 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Compagnie Des Indes

This expression from Compagnie Des Indes brings together rum from four different countries, namely Guatemala, Guyana, Trinidad, and Barbados. Drawn from bourbon casks after five years of maturation,…  More info

Compagnie Des Indes Latino 5 Year Old
$35.90

Penrhos Honey Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Penrhos

From the farming families at Penrhos Spirits comes this wonderful Honey Spiced Rum! Celebrating the essential role of bees in farming, this triple distilled rum is infused with honey from the…  More info

Penrhos Honey Spiced Rum
$36.97

Base Spirits Dark Rum

70cl, 40%
Base Spirits

Dark rum is a fab spirit for cocktails, offering up vibrant fruit notes alongside rich, warming spices from its maturation. That'll be why Base Spirits has created its own Dark Rum that has been…  More info

Base Spirits Dark Rum
$22.54
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MOKO 20 Year Old Rum

70cl, 42%
MOKO

Back in the latter-half of the 1800s, MOKO Rum was created by Ernest and Maurice Lasserre, and it was rather well-loved indeed. However, the brand disappeared during the 1960s. In 2017, decedents of…  More info

MOKO 20 Year Old Rum
$71.89

Travellers Distillery 13 Year Old 2007 (cask 1) - Berry Bros. & Rudd

70cl, 46%
Travellers Distillery

A well-aged rum from the Travellers Distillery in Belize, bottled by Berry Bros. & Rudd! Distilled from molasses, the rum was aged for 13 years before it was bottled in all of its fruity, tropical…  More info

Travellers Distillery 13 Year Old 2007 (cask 1) - Berry Bros. & Rudd
$82.11

Cockspur Platinum White Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Cockspur

Cockspur Rum comes to us all the way from Barbados, matured briefly in oak before being filtered to remove its colour. This means that it'll add some aged rum richness to your cocktail, while not…  More info

Cockspur Platinum White Rum
$18.42

Glen's Dark Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Glen Catrine Distillers

Glen's Dark Rum. Yep. All the way from the West Indies.  More info

Glen's Dark Rum
$19.20

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
$159.14

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
$30.76

Embargo Añejo Esplendido

70cl, 40%
Embargo

Embargo Añejo Esplendido is made with a blend of rums from Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago, Martinique and Cuba. The result is packed to the brim with decadent chocolate and honey-drenched fruit notes.…  More info

Embargo Añejo Esplendido
$37.95

Don Q Cristal

70cl, 40%
Serralles

The entry level expression from the Don Q rum range - the Don Q Cristal is made using multiple distillation method to achieve its desired flavour profile, and allowed to rest in American oak barrels…  More info

Don Q Cristal
$22.07

Weetwood Demerara Rum

70cl, 40%
Weetwood Distillery

Cheshire's Weetwood Distillery has got its hands on some tasty Demerara rum - and luckily, they're not keeping it to themselves! This rum is made with pot and column distilled spirits, and is…  More info

Weetwood Demerara Rum
$35.90

St Aubin Classic Rum White

50cl, 40%
St Aubin

White rhum agricole from the St Aubin range, produced on the island of Mauritius. An approachable expression, though still possesses plenty of funky agricole notes - exactly what you want if you're…  More info

St Aubin Classic Rum White
$24.60

Jamaica 2010 - 1423 Single Barrel Selection

70cl, 52%
1423

Those 1423 folks have bottled another wonderfully estery Jamaican rum for us to enjoy! This one was pot distilled in 2010, and left to mature in a cask which previously held both bourbon and Port…  More info

Jamaica 2010 - 1423 Single Barrel Selection
$107.84

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