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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.

Best Seller

Depth Charge Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Depth Charge

Depth Charge Spiced Rum packs a big, powerful flavour profile, having been made with a fantastic base of Caribbean rum, a selection of tasty spices and generous helpings of lime and mandarin at its…  More info

Depth Charge Spiced Rum
20
$23.61
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Best Seller

English Harbour 5 Year Old

70cl, 40%
The Antigua Distillery

English Harbour is a rum from Antigua. This 5 year old was a Double Gold winner at the 2005 San Francisco Competition.  More info

English Harbour 5 Year Old
6
$30.99

Pusser's 'Gunpowder Proof' Black Label

70cl, 54.5%
Pusser's

Pusser's 'Gunpowder Proof' Black Label (previously known as Blue Label) is a higher proof traditional British Naval rum, produced using the blending recipe from the Admiralty. Well loved, it picked…  More info

Pusser's 'Gunpowder Proof' Black Label
66
$36.92

Crusty Juggler Black Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Crusty Juggler

Produced in Cornwall and taking inspiration from the region's historic tales of pirates and smugglers comes this rich spiced rum, brimming with sweetness and spice. Caribbean rum is blended with…  More info

Crusty Juggler Black Spiced Rum
4
$34.49

Rumbullion! Navy-Strength

70cl, 57%
Ableforth's

Ableforth's took their famous Rumbullion! and bottled it at Navy Strength to create a much much 'bigger' drink. This is a warming concoction that would no doubt give a sailor vim and vigour on a…  More info

Rumbullion! Navy-Strength
27
$51.21
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Best Seller

Spiced Rum Tasting Set

15cl, 39.3%
Drinks by the Dram

If you love your rum, but you're looking for something a little different, spiced rums are definitely the way to go. Producers around the globe combine delicious rums with all sorts of tremendous…  More info

Spiced Rum Tasting Set
1
$24.59

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
14
$19.67
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Kong Rum

70cl, 40%
Kong Rum

Kong Rum is made with a base of aged Guatemalan rums from the Darsa Distillery, alongside a host of ingredients inspired by the habitat of mountain gorillas. This includes the likes of eucalyptus…  More info

Kong Rum
4
$65.74
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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
4
$19.67
Best Seller

Sunset Very Strong Rum

70cl, 84.5%
St. Vincent Distillers Ltd

An extremely high strength rum from Saint Vincent. This is distilled from molasses in a column still.  More info

Sunset Very Strong Rum
21
$42.33

Cut Overproof Rum

70cl, 75.5%
Cut Rum

An overproof edition of Cut Spiced Rum, sitting at an eye-watering 75.5% ABV. Be sure you dilute this stuff very well - ought to go handsomely with a number of classic mixers... We reckon Cut…  More info

Cut Overproof Rum
21
$38.44
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Drinks by the Dram 12 Dram Premium Rum Collection

36cl, 41.7%
Drinks by the Dram

Drinks by the Dram's 12 Dram Premium Rum Collection is just the ticket for anyone looking to pick up a brilliant pressie for a picky rum fan. Behind each of the 12 windows of this zazzy box sits a…  More info

Drinks by the Dram 12 Dram Premium Rum Collection
2
$49.24

Ron La Progresiva 13

70cl, 41%
Ron La Progresiva

A terrific Cuban rum here from the Ron La Progresiva range! It was created to be a sipping rum, and it most certainly lives up to that moniker, though we're certain it will make for a phenomenal…  More info

Ron La Progresiva 13
9
$43.33

Ron Zacapa Centenario Sistema Solera 23 Gift Pack with 2x Glasses

70cl, 40%
Ron Zacapa

A fantastic gift pack that should fill any rum fan with glee – this set includes a bottle of Ron Zacapa's Centenario Sistema Solera 23 rum, accompanied by a pair of charming branded glasses, so maybe…  More info

Ron Zacapa Centenario Sistema Solera 23 Gift Pack with 2x Glasses
1
$64.02

Pusser's Select Aged 151

70cl, 75.5%
Pusser's

A high-strength expression from the Pusser's Navy Rum range, matured for at least three years in ex-bourbon barrels before being bottled up at an eye-watering 75.5% ABV. As such, you will want to…  More info

Pusser's Select Aged 151
3
$48.24

Satchmo Mojito Spirited Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Satchmo

Satchmo rum is inspired by iconic American trumpeter Louis Armstrong's nickname, Satchmo! It's flavoured with the same ingredients you'd find in a Mojito, so expect lots of lime and mint freshness in…  More info

Satchmo Mojito Spirited Rum
18
$39.38

Rumbullion! - Magnum (1.5L)

150cl, 42.6%
Ableforth's

After the positively rousing response the Magnum bottles of Ableforth's Bathtub Gin received, they decided to put together some Magnum bottles for their ship-shape spiced rum, Rumbullion!…  More info

Rumbullion! - Magnum (1.5L)
3
$75.86

Admiral's Cask Dark Rum Barrel

70cl, 40%
OSA Fine Spirits

Look at this! OSA Fine Spirits has taken some of its fabulous five year old Panamanian rum, and filled up these snazzy barrel-shaped containers with it! Eye catching indeed, this is a great novelty…  More info

Admiral's Cask Dark Rum Barrel
1
$39.43

Ron Santiago de Cuba 12 Year Old Extra Añejo

70cl, 40%
Ron Santiago de Cuba

This is the 12 year old expression from the Ron Santiago de Cuba range of rums. The distillery produces its own molasses, using sugar cane grown in south-east Cuba, which is then distilled before the…  More info

Ron Santiago de Cuba 12 Year Old Extra Añejo
6
$46.29

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
10
$19.67
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Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros

70cl, 45%
Havana Club

The new edition of Havana Club's very popular Cuban Barrel Proof, Seleccion de Maestros is a superb rum, bottled at higher strength.  More info

Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros
16
$51.25

The Salford Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Salford Rum

The Salford Spiced Rum is something of a tribute to the dock workers who helped bring the city's Caribbean rum and spice imports through Salford Docks during the 1800s. It was fittingly distilled…  More info

The Salford Spiced Rum
9
$30.52

The Severed Hand Roasted Hazelnut Rum

70cl, 37.5%
The Severed Hand

Another rum from The Severed Hand range from the folks behind Black Powder Gin! This is the Roasted Hazelnut Rum, so you can probably imagine the oodles of toastiness going on in here. Are you…  More info

The Severed Hand Roasted Hazelnut Rum
5
$34.49

Equiano Rum

70cl, 43%
The Equiano Rum Co.

Equiano Rum is the delicious result of a collaboration between two fabulous distilleries, marrying liquid from Barbados' Foursquare and Gray's Distillery of Mauritius. The rum from Foursquare is aged…  More info

Equiano Rum
11
$44.35
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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
2
$19.67
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