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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.

Santa Teresa Ron Selecto

70cl, 40%
Santa Teresa

Venezuelan rum from Santa Teresa, this is a blend of rums aged for between 3 and 9 years. Ron Selecto makes a cracking Mojito…  More info

Santa Teresa Ron Selecto
1
$26.43

Facundo Exquisito

70cl, 40%
Bacardi

A blend of rums aged 7 to 23 years old from Bacardi's premium Fagundo label, named after the founder of the company. It has been finished for at least a month in Sherry casks.  More info

Facundo Exquisito
$119.92

Black Head Rum 100cl

100cl, 37.5%
Black Head

A simple white rum - enjoy with your favourite mixer or in 'Special Cocktails', as the bottle suggests.  More info

Black Head Rum 100cl
$23.59

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
$39.24

Dictador 100 Months Aged Orange Rum

70cl, 40%
Dictador

Interesting spiced rum from Colombian distillers, Dictador. They use an aged rum as a base, one that has been aged for 100 months (or 8.33333... years, if you prefer) in ex-bourbon casks before…  More info

Dictador 100 Months Aged Orange Rum
1
$38.55

Worthy Park 8 Year Old - Bristol Spirits

70cl, 43%
Worthy Park

Delicious 8 year old Jamaican rum bottled by Bristol Spirits!  More info

Worthy Park 8 Year Old - Bristol Spirits
$48.01

St Nicholas Abbey 18 Year Old

70cl, 40%
St. Nicholas Abbey

18 year old rum from Barbados, produced as part of the St. Nicholas Abbey range - the Abbey itself has a long tradition of rum production, and they favour traditional methods of distillation when…  More info

St Nicholas Abbey 18 Year Old
$203.23

The Sweet Potato Spirit Co. Spiced Rum

50cl, 42%
The Sweet Potato Spirit Co

A rather intriguing sip from the Sweet Potato Spirit Co. - a Spiced Rum made with a mash of sweet potato and sugar cane molasses!  More info

The Sweet Potato Spirit Co. Spiced Rum
$30.20

Sailor Jerry 1.5l

150cl, 40%
Sailor Jerry

The eponymous spiced rum named for Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins, a world famous tattoo artists who created the recipe whilst working at sea.  More info

Sailor Jerry 1.5l
16
$42.20

Sailor Jerry

70cl, 40%
Sailor Jerry

A spiced rum created by the famed tattoo artist 'Sailor Jerry' Collins. This is perhaps our favourite spiced rum, makes an incredible spiced mojito! The recipe was recently changed, and made slightly…  More info

Sailor Jerry
31
$21.33

Ron Cubay Añejo

70cl, 38%
Cuba Ron

Enjoyed in Cuba since the 1960s, the rest of the world is finally getting to taste the excellent Ron Cubay. Their Anejo rum is aged for 7 years before being bottled, allowing it to mellow out and…  More info

Ron Cubay Añejo
$25.70

Ocumare Añejo Rum

70cl, 40%
Ocumare

Dark rum from Venezuela, named for the city of Ocumare del Tuy. It's matured for around three years in ex-bourbon barrels.  More info

Ocumare Añejo Rum
1
$33.90

Plantation St. Lucia 2005

70cl, 43%
Plantation

A 2004 vintage rum distilled in St. Lucia, partially matured on the Caribbean island and partially matured in France.  More info

Plantation St. Lucia 2005
$43.73

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
2
$23.42

Pusser's Spiced Rum Spirit Drink

70cl, 35%
Pusser's

A spiced rum spirit drink from long-time rum favourites, Pusser's. It is made with a blend of Caribbean spices steeped in Caribbean rum, producing a natural flavour profile. Ideal neat or over ice.  More info

Pusser's Spiced Rum Spirit Drink
$23.69

Relicario Ron Dominicano

70cl, 40%
Relicario

Superb rum from the Dominican Republic, with a very handsome bottle and wonderfully full-bodied flavour profile.  More info

Relicario Ron Dominicano
$32.73

Plantation Jamaica 2002

70cl, 42%
Plantation

A 2002 vintage rum from an undisclosed distillery in Jamaica, bottled by French-owned company Plantation Rum.  More info

Plantation Jamaica 2002
$38.95

Ron Quorhum 12 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Oliver & Oliver

12 year old rum from the Dominican Republic, released under the Ron Quorhum brand by Oliver & Oliver. A sweet, subtly herbal expression, packed with notes of caramel, liquorice and oak-y resin.  More info

Ron Quorhum 12 Year Old
$38.82

Smooth Ambler Revelation Rum

75cl, 49.5%
Smooth Ambler

A marvellously impressive rum released by the chaps at Smooth Ambler out in West Virginia, USA. They've got a good nose for great spirits (as obvious from their Old Scout whiskey), and have bottled…  More info

Smooth Ambler Revelation Rum
3
$78.20

Legendario Añejo

70cl, 40%
Legendario

A blend of different aged Cuban rums up to 6 years old, flavoured with a little Muscatel wine and married for 15 days in American oak barrels before finally being filtered through carbon and silica…  More info

Legendario Añejo
2
$29.16

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
$56.29

Spirits of Old Man Rum Project Three - Dark Expression

70cl, 40%
Spirits of Old Man

The third release in the Rum Project range by German bottlers Spirits of Old Man is the Dark Expression, a blend of three Caribbean rums with a focus on rich notes of chocolate and coffee notes,…  More info

Spirits of Old Man Rum Project Three - Dark Expression
$51.67

Plantation Trinidad 2003

70cl, 42%
Plantation

2003 vintage rum from Trinidad, bottled for the excellent Plantation Rum range. This was distilled in column stills and aged in white oak casks before being bottled at 42% ABV.  More info

Plantation Trinidad 2003
$39.02

Ron Viejo De Caldas 3 Year Old

70cl, 37.5%
Caldas

This is a 3 year old rum from the Ron Viejo De Caldas range, produced in Colombia. Good value for money, and works well in cocktails and mixed drinks.  More info

Ron Viejo De Caldas 3 Year Old
$22.58

La Mauny 1749 Ambré Rhum Agricole

70cl, 40%
La Mauny

La Mauny 1749 Ambré is an aged Rhum Agricole from Martinique, an island in the Caribbean. 1749 Ambré is matured for at least 12 months before it is bottled.  More info

La Mauny 1749 Ambré Rhum Agricole
$31.12

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