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Rum

Popular Rum Types: Dark Rum | White Rum | Spiced 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.

Rhum J.M Gold

70cl, 50%
Rhum J.M

Rhum agricole from Martinique, aged in oak casks for at least 12 months.  More info

Rhum J.M Gold
$40.84

Compagnie Des Indes Rum Caraibes

70cl, 40%
Compagnie Des Indes

A blend of rums (the French label says "rhum", but this is molasses rum) from Guyana, Trinidad and Barbados, presented by Compagnie Des Indes. These have been aged between 3 to 5 years in American…  More info

Compagnie Des Indes Rum Caraibes
$35.77

Plantation Jamaica Rum 2001

70cl, 42%
Plantation

2001: A Rum Odyssey. This 2001 vintage Jamaican rum comes from pot stills and had a lengthy maturation before being bottled. Wonderfully spicy and succulent, with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and an…  More info

Plantation Jamaica Rum 2001
$39.35

Rebellion Ron Blanco Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Rebellion

Rebellion Blanco is a superb white rum from Trinidad rum with a wonderfully crisp, fruity palate.  More info

Rebellion Ron Blanco Rum
$18.92

Barbancourt 2004 (Bottled 2014) - Bristol Spirits

70cl, 43%
Barbancourt

A reserve 'rum' made from pure sugar cane rather than molasses (i.e. rhum) from Haiti, distilled at La société du Rhum Barbancourt in 2004 and bottled in the UK a decade later by Bristol Spirits.  More info

Barbancourt 2004 (Bottled 2014) - Bristol Spirits
$58.91

St Aubin Blanc

50cl, 50%
St Aubin

St Aubin Rhum Agricole comes from Mauritius, and is made by distilling fresh sugar cane juice in the French method. St Aubin itself has been in the business of sugar production since 1819, and…  More info

St Aubin Blanc
1
$36.65

Bielle 2004 Rhum Vieux Agricole

70cl, 45%
Distillerie Bielle

10 year old rhum agricole from Bielle on Marie-Galante, bottled in 2014.  More info

Bielle 2004 Rhum Vieux Agricole
$155.25

Origenes Reserva Especial 18 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Alcoholes y Rones de Panama

An excellent 18 year old rum, which was created by Francisco 'Don Pancho' Fernandez Perez. Top stuff from an man with many years of experience in crafted high quality rum under his belt.  More info

Origenes Reserva Especial 18 Year Old
$58.45

Cartavio 1929 Ron Añejo Reserva

70cl, 38%
Destilerias Unidas

Aged for around 3 years, this rum has a nice balance of fresh and cask aged notes. Enjoy over ice or with cola or ginger ale.  More info

Cartavio 1929 Ron Añejo Reserva
$21.51

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

70cl, 51.9%
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)
$71.57

Rumshak Spiced

70cl, 35%
Rumshak

This is a blend of a variety of Caribbean rums flavoured with mulling spices. While it's not technically a rum, as it is under 37.5% abv, it's still technically delicious.  More info

Rumshak Spiced
$21.25

Atlantico Rum Platino

70cl, 40%
Atlantico

A Blanco bottling from Atlantico. Great in all manner of Rum cocktails.  More info

Atlantico Rum Platino
$28.05

Matugga Golden Rum

70cl, 42%
Matugga

Matugga Golden Rum is made using sugar cane molasses produced in East Africa, using canes grown in rich, red soils. The rum is distilled in copper pot stills in the UK, and enjoys its maturation in…  More info

Matugga Golden Rum
3
$42.10

St Lucia Distillers 1931 Second Edition

70cl, 43%
St. Lucia Distillers

A special edition rum from St Lucia Distillers, named after the year that the Dennery Distillery was founded in St. Lucia. In 1972, the Dennery Distillery merged with another to form St. Lucia…  More info

St Lucia Distillers 1931 Second Edition
$59.55

Zafra 21 Year Old Master Reserve

70cl, 40%
Zafra

This is the Zafra 21 Year Old Master Reserve rum, an absolutely ace Panamanian rum which was aged in bourbon barrels for just over two decades. Considering is was blended by a former Maestro Ronero…  More info

Zafra 21 Year Old Master Reserve
1
$71.47

Monymusk Special Gold Rum

70cl, 40%
Monymusk

The entry level expression of rum from the Jamaican Monymusk Estate, made for enjoying in cocktails. Quite light and sweet, this one.  More info

Monymusk Special Gold Rum
$23.82

Cargo Cult Spiced Rum with Gift Box

70cl, 38.5%
Cargo Cult

An Oceanian spiced rum is made with rums from Papua New Guinea and Fiji that are blended and spiced in Australia. This limited edition comes with a presentation case like the one's that once carried…  More info

Cargo Cult Spiced Rum with Gift Box
$55.81

Rhum de Père Labat - Rhum Doré

70cl, 50%
Rhum de Père Labat

Golden rhum agricole from Rhum de Père Labat, distilled on the island of Marie-Galante, south of Guadeloupe. Made from fermented sugar cane juice, resulting in an intense flavour profile, highlighted…  More info

Rhum de Père Labat - Rhum Doré
$37.60

Ron Barceló Blanco

70cl, 37.5%
Ron Barceló

A white rum from the Ron Barceló range, produced in the Dominican Republic. It spends one year in oak barrels, before it is barrelled, allowing it to develop some more character and flavour.  More info

Ron Barceló Blanco
$23.09

Appleton Estate Special Gold

70cl, 40%
Appleton Estate

Appleton Estate Gold is a special blend of rums distilled in pot and column stills. These are matured separately before being hand-blended. This is aged in refill Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey…  More info

Appleton Estate Special Gold
3
$17.87

St Nicholas Abbey White Rum

70cl, 40%
St. Nicholas Abbey

A white rum from the St Nicholas Abbey distillery in Barbados. Winner of the Bronze Medal at the 2012 International Wine and Spirits Competition in London, the highest medal awarded in its category.  More info

St Nicholas Abbey White Rum
$42.41

Ron Calados White Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Ron Calados

A white rum from the Caribbean, Ron Calados is a cheap and cheerful white rum which is intended for mixing with strongly flavoured drinks like finest cola…  More info

Ron Calados White Rum
$17.24

Facundo Eximo 10 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Bacardi

A 10 year old blend of rums that was blended before it went into the barrel (with a couple of the rums used already being 1-2 years old at the time). This is an incredibly difficult art, and the…  More info

Facundo Eximo 10 Year Old
$56.86

Panama 11 Year Old Rum (Berry Bros & Rudd)

70cl, 46%
Berry Brothers and Rudd

This is a bottling of 11 year old rum from Panama in Central America. After it matured in oak for 11 years, developing rich wells of spice and golden syrup notes, Berry Bros. & Rudd decided it was…  More info

Panama 11 Year Old Rum (Berry Bros & Rudd)
$47.77

Ron Mulata Añejo 5 Years

70cl, 38%
Ron Mulata

5 year old Cuban rum distilled in Heriberto Duquesne, Villa Clara. They characteristically produce a lighter style of rum (which the distillery attributed to the rum being matured in 180 litre oak…  More info

Ron Mulata Añejo 5 Years
1
$23.66

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