Created by potrace 1.12, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2015

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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.

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
37
$37.35

Neptune Rum

70cl, 40%
Neptune Rum

By Neptune's beard - it's Neptune Rum! This is a blend of eight, five and three year aged golden rum distilled from pure sugar cane molasses at Foursquare Distillery on the island of Barbados. That…  More info

Neptune Rum
21
$36.28
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Cloven Hoof Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Cloven Hoof

Cloven Hoof Spiced Rum is made using a tasty blend of Guyanese and Trinidadian rum, along with a selection of spices, including cassia, anise and clove, hence the name - a nice touch (you know what…  More info

Cloven Hoof Spiced Rum
21
$26.94
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Plantation Pineapple Stiggins' Fancy

70cl, 40%
Plantation

A fantastic treat from the Plantation range originally created by the company's cellar master Alexandre Gabriel and drinks historian David Wondrich for Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans in 2015.…  More info

Plantation Pineapple Stiggins' Fancy
16
$35.35

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
15
$50.80
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Blackwell Black Gold Fine Jamaican Rum

70cl, 40%
J Wray and Nephew

Blackwell Black Gold Rum was created by Chris Blackwell, who also happens to be the owner of Island Records. The dark rum itself is distilled and blended by J. Wray & Nephew in Jamaica. It was made…  More info

Blackwell Black Gold Fine Jamaican Rum
15
$22.78
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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
14
$55.35

Pineapple Grenade Spiced Rum

50cl, 65%
Rock Star Spirits

Pineapple Grenade is crafted by first sourcing 100% molasses rum from the superb Diamond Distillery in Guyana. It's then imported into the UK where it was infused with a secret spice mix and the…  More info

Pineapple Grenade Spiced Rum
13
$34.24

Diablesse Clementine Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Diablesse

From Manchester-based Diablesse comes a Clementine Spiced Rum! It's made with Demerara rum from the Diamond Distillery in Guyana, using native sugar cane molasses and traditional pot and column still…  More info

Diablesse Clementine Spiced Rum
13
$33.17
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Thameside Rum Signature Blend

70cl, 40%
Thameside Rum

The Signature Blend from Thameside Rum features a selection of pot and column still rums from Jamaica, Barbados and Guyana, drawn from ex-bourbon casks, blended at cask strength and brought down to…  More info

Thameside Rum Signature Blend
11
$40.43

La Hechicera Fine Aged Rum

70cl, 40%
La Hechicera

La Hechicera is Spanish for "the enchantress"... This rum was made in Colombia and is Solera-aged rum aged for between 12 and 21 years in bourbon barrels. Very good indeed.  More info

La Hechicera Fine Aged Rum
11
$46.44
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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...  More info

Cut Overproof Rum
10
$40.83
$36.74

Bombo 40 Rum - Caramel & Banana

70cl, 40%
Bombo

This spiced rum produced as part of the Bombo 40 range has been flavoured with lip-smacking notes of caramel and banana. Suitable for sipping neat, with caramel and banana elements complementing the…  More info

Bombo 40 Rum - Caramel & Banana
9
$28.50
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Cut Smoked Rum

70cl, 40%
Cut Rum

Powerfully smoky rum from the Cut Rum range. Made with a base of Jamaican rum and smoked using oak chips, this will stand out in cocktails and might make for an intriguing alternative postprandial…  More info

Cut Smoked Rum
6
$26.78
$24.10

One Love Rum

70cl, 50%
One Love

Based in Kettering, the One Love Rum Company introduces a reggae influenced blend of tropically aged four year old Jamaican rum, two year old rum from Trinidad and five year old rum from Barbados,…  More info

One Love Rum
6
$37.74

Two Swallows Citrus & Salted Caramel Rum

50cl, 38%
Rock Star Spirits

From Two Swallows comes a spiced rum, produced by the Diamond Distillery in Guyana which was then infused with candied citrus and salted caramel! It's not an every day combination, but darn does it…  More info

Two Swallows Citrus & Salted Caramel Rum
6
$24.86
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Plantation Guatemala & Bélize Gran Añejo Rum

70cl, 42%
Plantation

A blended rum from the Plantation range, using rums from Guatemala & Bélize, two neighbouring countries in Central America. Following its initial maturation, it's taken to France to be finished in…  More info

Plantation Guatemala & Bélize Gran Añejo Rum
6
$34.08
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R L Seale's 10 Year Old

70cl, 46%
R L Seales

An excellent rum from Barbados, aged for 10 years before bottling. A wonderfully designed bottle, containing a wonderful rum packed with juicy fruit, nutty spice and lingering floral elements. Now…  More info

R L Seale's 10 Year Old
6
$41.05

Rathlee 3 Year Old Rum

70cl, 40%
Rathlee

This 3 year old rum from Rathlee was distilled all the way in Colombia and transported over to Cornwall, where it was brought down to bottling strength with Cornish water. A transatlantic tipple that…  More info

Rathlee 3 Year Old Rum
6
$29.01

Ron Zacapa Edición Negra 1l

100cl, 43%
Ron Zacapa

A 1 litre bottling of Ron Zacapa's Edición Negra, which was originally released for the Travel Retail market. This has been aged in double charred American oak barrels, resulting in smoky elements…  More info

Ron Zacapa Edición Negra 1l
5
$103.74
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Ron Barceló Gran Añejo

70cl, 37.5%
Ron Barceló

A beautifully smooth, sweet Dominican rum from Ron Barceló, Gran Añejo is a perfect mixer and works tremendously well in a variety of dark rum cocktails, or you could just have it with a few ice…  More info

Ron Barceló Gran Añejo
5
$23.86

Sunset Captain Bligh XO

75cl, 40%
St. Vincent Distillers Ltd

An XO rum from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. It is distilled from molasses in a modern two column still, and it is diluted to 87.5% before it is aged in first fill Kentucky bourbon barrels for…  More info

Sunset Captain Bligh XO
5
$34.60

Sweetdram Smoked Spiced Rum

70cl, 41%
Sweetdram

A fascinating rum created by those inventive Sweetdram folks, made using a base of aged Guyanese rum. In this rum, they macerate lime leaf, chamomile, cardamom, fennel, grains of paradise and fig, as…  More info

Sweetdram Smoked Spiced Rum
5
$29.01
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Smooth Ambler Revelation Rum

70cl, 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
5
$77.79
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Santiago De Cuba Añejo

70cl, 38%
Santiago de Cuba

From the Santiago De Cuba range (presumably named after the second largest city in Cuba) comes this Añejo rum, which has been aged in white oak barrels. Good for use in cocktails and mixed drinks.  More info

Santiago De Cuba Añejo
5
$31.31

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