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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.

Matugga Spiced Rum

70cl, 42%
Matugga

This is a Spiced Rum from the Matugga Rum range, which was introduced in mid-2015. The rum is made with molasses from sugar canes grown in the rich, red soil of East Africa, and distilled in the UK.…  More info

Matugga Spiced Rum
3
$43.73

Holey Dollar Silver Coin Rum

70cl, 40%
Holey Dollar

The lowest strength offering in a series of Australian rums named after the early currency of the Australian colonies, only due to a scarcity of actually coins, rum was the preferred currency! Made…  More info

Holey Dollar Silver Coin Rum
$40.57

Mezan Jamaica Long Pond 2000 Rum

70cl, 40%
Long Pond Distillery

From Mezan's top-class selection of independently bottles rums comes a 2000 vintage Jamaican rum distilled by Long Pond, the distillery where Captain Morgan's rum was established! This is a sweet,…  More info

Mezan Jamaica Long Pond 2000 Rum
$36.72

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)
$52.31

Caña Brava 3 Year Old Rum

70cl, 43%
Las Cabras

Caña Brava is produced at the Panamanian distillery, Las Cabras, under the watchful eye of Francisco "Don Pancho" J. Fernandez. It is aged for 18 to 24 months in new American oak barrels before being…  More info

Caña Brava 3 Year Old Rum
$28.59

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
$22.48

Hee Joy Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Hee Joy

Hee Joy Spiced Rum is made with a combination of rums from Trinidad, Jamaica and Guyana, blended together in Cognac, France, and allowed to finish in oak casks. Enjoy over ice or in tropical…  More info

Hee Joy Spiced Rum
$28.96

Pumpkin Face White Rum

75cl, 40%
Pumpkin Face

Pumpkin Face White Rum features a tasty unaged rum from the Dominican Republic, presented in a seriously cool bottle shaped like a Jack-o'-Lantern. A top treat if you're throwing a Halloween party.  More info

Pumpkin Face White Rum
$51.41

Captain Morgan Original Rum 1.5l

150cl, 40%
Captain Morgan

A very popular dark rum named after the 17th century Welsh sailor, Captain Henry Morgan. It is made with rums from Jamaica, Guyana and Barbados. This is the 1.5l magnum version, for all you Captains…  More info

Captain Morgan Original Rum 1.5l
$37.98

Glen's Dark Rum

70cl, 37.50%
Glen Catrine Distillers

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

Glen's Dark Rum
$18.16

Captain Morgan Original Rum

70cl, 40%
Captain Morgan

Captain Morgan is a dark rum seen on back-bars seen on back-bars around the world. This is made using a blend of Jamaican, Guyanan and Bajan rums. Great in loads of cocktails and mixed drinks -…  More info

Captain Morgan Original Rum
5
$19.48

Plantation Nicaragua 2003

70cl, 42%
Plantation

2003 vintage Nicaraguan rum, matured for 9 years before enjoying a brandy cask finish. Complex and intriguing with sweet floral touches and notes of cashew nut and tropical fruits. Part of the top…  More info

Plantation Nicaragua 2003
$36.80

Doorly's 8 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Doorly's

An 8 year old rum from Barbados joins the wonderful Doorly's range! As ever, it's got a tropical bird on the label and the bottle is filled with top-notch rum - dig in!  More info

Doorly's 8 Year Old
$33.41

Opthimus 18 Rum

70cl, 38%
Oliver & Oliver

Dominican rum matured in an 18 year old Solera system form Oliver & Oliver's Opthimus range.  More info

Opthimus 18 Rum
1
$58.13

St Aubin Natural Spices Rhum Agricole

50cl, 40%
St Aubin

From the artisan St Aubin distillery on the island of Mauritius comes this spiced Rhum Agricole, made using sugar cane juice as opposed to molasses, which is what you would find in most other spiced…  More info

St Aubin Natural Spices Rhum Agricole
$27.84

Matusalem 10 Year Old Clasico

70cl, 40%
Matusalem

A Dominican rum, distilled in continuous stills and matured for an average of a decade using the solera system, the brand was started in Cuba in 1872, though eventually it emigrated, following the…  More info

Matusalem 10 Year Old Clasico
$26.42

Worthy Park Gold 1l

100cl, 40%
Worthy Park

A golden rum from Worthy Park Estate in St. Catherine, Jamaica.  More info

Worthy Park Gold 1l
$41.17

Flor de Caña 4 Year Old Gold

70cl, 40%
Flor de Caña

Flor de Caña recommend this gold 4 year old rum as a mixing product. It was awarded a Best in Class at the 2005 International Wine and Spirits Competition in London.  More info

Flor de Caña 4 Year Old Gold
$25.84

Dillion 13 Year Old - Martinique Rhum (Compagnie Des Indes)

70cl, 44%
Dillion Distillery

Agricole rhum, made from cane juice as opposed to molasses, from Martinique (which has a great flag) bottled by Compagnie Des Indes after 13 years in a single French oak barrel. It comes from Dillion…  More info

Dillion 13 Year Old - Martinique Rhum (Compagnie Des Indes)
$77.81

Bacardi Black

70cl, 40%
Bacardi

A lovely dark rum, now bottled at 40% (as opposed to 37.5%), from stalwart producers Bacardi. This is rich, full and spicy and works brilliantly in a variety of cocktails…  More info

Bacardi Black
$32.24

Pusser's "Yachting" Decanter

100cl, 42%
Pusser's

A Pusser's Navy Rum decanter celebrating the sport of yachting! This gorgeous decanter, containing 1 litre of Pusser's excellent rum, is decorated with a number of different yachts, which will be…  More info

Pusser's
$87.52

Legendario Añejo Blanco

70cl, 40%
Legendario

A white Cuban rum, that spent a short time resting in oak barrels prior to a final filtration to remove the colour. Hugely popular in Spain.  More info

Legendario Añejo Blanco
$33.88

Admiral Benbow Navy Rum

70cl, 37.50%
Benbow

This was named after the legendary Admiral John Benbow who served in the Royal Navy from 1678 to 1702. It's a rich navy-style rum and it works very well in cocktails or with mixers.  More info

Admiral Benbow Navy Rum
3
$15.63

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
$48.33

Trois Rivières 12 Year Old Rum

70cl, 42%
Trois Rivieres

Here's a treat. 12 year old rhum agricole from Trois Rivières in Martinique!  More info

Trois Rivières 12 Year Old Rum
$102.91

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