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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

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
13
$22.61
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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
$22.61

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
8
$22.61
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Best Seller

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
$71.28

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
1
$50.99

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
24
$43.05

Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva Special Pack

70cl, 40%
Diplomático

This zazzy gift pack from Diplomático features a full bottle of the brilliant Reserva Exclusiva Venezuelan rum, alongside a branded glass and an ice ball mold. Make an ice ball, place it in the…  More info

Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva Special Pack
2
$52.34

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
58
$43.05
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Best Seller

Rum Advent Calendar (2021 Edition)

72cl, 42.6%
Drinks by the Dram

Introduce some liquid sunshine to the Christmas countdown with Drinks by the Dram's spectacular Rum Advent Calendar! Eschewing the usual tiny squares of chocolate that many Advent calendars are…  More info

Rum Advent Calendar (2021 Edition)
1
$169.92

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
$28.27

Horizon Black [Hole] Spiced Rum

70cl, 42%
Horizon

Is there anything on the other side of a black hole, or are they just galactic alligators gobbling up anything that dares come near them? You may think that question is a bit much for a spirits…  More info

Horizon Black [Hole] Spiced Rum
5
$28.27
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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
$40.68

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
1
$56.61

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
10
$45.32
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Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva Gift Pack with 2x Rum Old Fashioned Glasses

70cl, 40%
Diplomático

A rather zazzy gift pack from Diplomático, featuring a bottle of the excellent Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva Venezuelan rum, alongside a pair of glasses - perfect for serving a tasty Rum Old…  More info

Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva Gift Pack with 2x Rum Old Fashioned Glasses
1
$50.99

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
8
$49.81

Angostura 15 Year Old "1787"

70cl, 40%
Angostura

Released in the latter half of 2016, Angostura's 15 Year Old "1787" rum boasts a dark hue and massive flavour profile of dried fruit, toasted oak and robust spice. Ace Trinidadian rum that's…  More info

Angostura 15 Year Old
15
$71.33
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The Kraken Black Spiced Rum - Unknown Deep

70cl, 40%
Kraken

What lives down in the very depths of the ocean is a mystery. Schools of those weird fish with the lightbulbs attached to their heads? Gigantic prehistoric sharks ready to jump up and become movie…  More info

The Kraken Black Spiced Rum - Unknown Deep
2
$39.65
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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... We reckon Cut…  More info

Cut Overproof Rum
21
$44.57
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
20
$48.67

Fallen Angel Spiced Rum (1.5L)

150cl, 41.3%
Fallen Angel

A 1.5 litre bottle of Fallen Angel Spiced Rum, made using a secret (and tasty) recipe of spices and vanilla. Also, the distinctive ceramic head-shaped bottle is now bigger, to accommodate for the…  More info

Fallen Angel Spiced Rum (1.5L)
9
$113.26

Copeland Smugglers Reserve Rum

70cl, 40%
Copeland

From the Copeland folks in Ireland comes this aged rum! It blends together Barbados rum (aged in bourbon barrels) with rum distilled in Donaghadee, where the distillery is based, which was aged in a…  More info

Copeland Smugglers Reserve Rum
4
$33.94

Sly Dog Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Sly Dog

Sly Dog Spiced Rum is made with a combination aged rums from Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, alongside a secret recipe of spices. The core flavours of the rum shine through clearly, with the…  More info

Sly Dog Spiced Rum
28
$37.34

Appleton Estate 8 Year Old Reserve

70cl, 43%
Appleton Estate

An excellent 8 year old Jamaican rum from the Appleton Estate, boasting waves of runny honey, toffee, oak spice and hints of caramelised nuts. Terrific value for money, and more than suitable for…  More info

Appleton Estate 8 Year Old Reserve
5
$31.67
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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
3
$33.94

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