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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.

Wild Tiger Special Reserve Rum

70cl, 40%
Wild Tiger

The uniquely presented Wild Tiger Special Reserve Rum comes to us from India, and is aged in American oak barrels before being bottled at 40% ABV. It'll certainly stand out on your back-bar.  More info

Wild Tiger Special Reserve Rum
9
$20.16

Ron Cortez Blanco (Silver)

70cl, 40%
Varela Hermanos

A classic white rum from Varela Hermanos, a distiller in Panama. Light, simple and well suited to mixing and cocktails.  More info

Ron Cortez Blanco (Silver)
$20.25
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Brugal Ron Blanco Especial Extra Dry Rum

70cl, 40%
Brugal

Classic white rum from Dominican producers, Brugal, which is aged for at least one year to mellow out some of the overly intense qualities of rum straight from the still. This tasty rum is no…  More info

Brugal Ron Blanco Especial Extra Dry Rum
1
$20.30
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Bayou White Rum

70cl, 40%
Bayou Rum

Louisiana may not be the first place that pops into your head when you think of rum, but Bayou Rum is here to change all that! This white rum is distilled from Louisiana-grown sugar cane. A…  More info

Bayou White Rum
$20.30

Bayou Pink

70cl, 37.5%
Bayou Rum

For this Pink expression, Bayou has taken a base of its White Rum, produced in Louisiana, and blended it with mayhaw berries, a local small, tart berry that looks rather like a cranberry. Some lovely…  More info

Bayou Pink
1
$20.71

Skipper Demerara Rum

70cl, 40%
Skipper

A delicious dark rum distilled in Guyana, Skipper was launched in 1930 and it still has the same label! A rich, thick spirit which works brilliantly well in cocktails, or with cola and a squeeze of…  More info

Skipper Demerara Rum
8
$20.76
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Project #173 Black Cherry Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

The Project #173 range brings together the tastiness of rum and the tastiness of... Well, all sorts of tastiness! Specifically for this expression, the quality core of rum has teamed up with black…  More info

Project #173 Black Cherry Rum
21
$20.77
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Project #173 Chocolate Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

If you fancy introducing the deliciousness of chocolate to your cocktails and mixed drinks, but don't quite fancy sticking a chocolate bar in your glass (or something like that), the Project #173…  More info

Project #173 Chocolate Rum
12
$20.77
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Project #173 Butterscotch Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

Butterscotch is one of those flavours that you find all over the shop in terms of aged spirits, but it's not very often that you see a spirit that really leans into it. This expression from the…  More info

Project #173 Butterscotch Rum
13
$20.77
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Project #173 Banana Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

The combo of rum and banana is well-established and generally considered to be excellent. Just think of all those fancy puddings that include the both of them in one form or another. Delicious! So,…  More info

Project #173 Banana Rum
3
$20.77

Project #173 Gingerbread Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

Gingerbread and rum go better together than you might first assume, with the both of them boasting brilliant spicy and sweet characteristics. The folks behind Project #173 have twigged this and…  More info

Project #173 Gingerbread Rum
9
$20.77
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Project #173 Pineapple Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

Pineapple is a particularly powerful flavour, but somehow it manages to go well with all sorts of foods and drinks, which is probably why it's seen as a symbol of hospitality (that's not the reason,…  More info

Project #173 Pineapple Rum
2
$20.77
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Project #173 Coconut Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

The Project #173 selection is all about bringing together good quality rum and natural flavours to create lip-smacking expressions - like this one right here! Project #173 Coconut Rum builds on the…  More info

Project #173 Coconut Rum
5
$20.77
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Project #173 Coffee Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

We don't know about you, but we find it incredibly interesting that a flavour as powerful and distinctive as coffee manages to pair so well with all kinds of spirits. Whisky, vodka, Tequila, even…  More info

Project #173 Coffee Rum
$20.77
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Project #173 Christmas Pudding Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

The Project #173 team are getting into the spirit of Christmas with this exceptional expression – Project #173 Christmas Pudding Rum! Built around a core of delicious rum, this expression features a…  More info

Project #173 Christmas Pudding Rum
1
$20.77
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Project #173 Pumpkin Spice Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

In case you were wondering what the ultimate autumn flavour is, it is of course pumpkin spice. As such, the team behind Project #173 has got its cosy wool jumpers and snazzy knit hats on to make its…  More info

Project #173 Pumpkin Spice Rum
$20.77

Dead Man's Fingers Banana Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Dead Man’s Fingers

Deliciously fruity spiced rum here from the Dead Man's Fingers range, flavoured with banana! We're certain this will be perfect for all sorts of cocktails that need a good helping of tropical fruit…  More info

Dead Man's Fingers Banana Rum
$20.77

The Real Rum Company Pineapple Rum

50cl, 40%
The Real Rum Company

Pineapple and rum is a marvellous combination, so The Real Rum Company went ahead and put the two together to create its very own Pineapple Rum! A suitable sipper for summer evenings, this one.  More info

The Real Rum Company Pineapple Rum
1
$20.77

Cayo Grande Club Dorado Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Cayo Grande Club

This Dorado expression from Cayo Grande Club brings together a quartet of rums from Cuba, Venezuela, Martinique, and the Dominican Republic! The rums spent around 18 months in American oak before…  More info

Cayo Grande Club Dorado Rum
$20.77

Cayo Grande Club Blanco Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Cayo Grande Club

Another top Spanish rum from Cayo Grande Club, this unaged expression was distilled from sugar cane. It's grassy and gently sweet, perfect for using in cocktails.  More info

Cayo Grande Club Blanco Rum
$20.77

The Real Rum Company Pink Rum

50cl, 40%
The Real Rum Company

Pink Rum from the Real Rum Company in Newquay, Cornwall! Infused with a wonderfully alliterative trio of pink things: raspberries, rhubarb, and rose! Ideal for sipping, or with a delicate mixer,…  More info

The Real Rum Company Pink Rum
$20.77

Cane Toad Ruby Chocolate Rum

70cl, 38%
The Zymurgorium

A rather intriguing rum here, made using ruby chocolate, which is produced with the ruby cocoa bean! It's not actually a new type of cocoa bean, rather it's an unfermented cocoa bean which retains…  More info

Cane Toad Ruby Chocolate Rum
6
$20.78
Best Seller

Dead Man’s Fingers White Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Dead Man’s Fingers

A cracking white rum from the Dead Man's Fingers team, just the ticket for using in all kinds of classic cocktails and mixed drinks. Great in a Daiquiri, we must say, if you were looking for a little…  More info

Dead Man’s Fingers White Rum
$20.81

Dead Man's Fingers Mango Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Dead Man’s Fingers

As if rum wasn't already tropical enough, Dead Man's Fingers decided to take its Cornish Spiced Rum and combined it with juicy mango! We can't wait to whip up a Mango Daiquiri with this, though we're…  More info

Dead Man's Fingers Mango Rum
2
$20.81
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The Real Rum Company Spiced Rum

50cl, 40%
The Real Rum Company

A spiced rum here from the Real Rum Company range, produced using Caribbean rums at its core and boasting plenty of toasty spice notes alongside a helping of chocolatey richness in its flavour…  More info

The Real Rum Company Spiced Rum
$20.81

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