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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.

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
29
$33.24

Bacardi Carta Blanca 1.5l

150cl, 37.5%
Bacardi

A 1.5 litre bottling of the one of the world's best-selling spirits! Bacardi was first created in Cuba but moved to Puerto Rico rather than face nationalisation. Thanks to its stint in Cuba, the…  More info

Bacardi Carta Blanca 1.5l
2
$40.32

Beach Bum Rum Gold

70cl, 40%
Beach Bum Beverages

A rum from Mauritius here from those Beach Bum Rum folks! This is the Gold variant, distilled from local sugarcane which has also been infused with coconut and vanilla. Lots of rich, toasty notes…  More info

Beach Bum Rum Gold
4
$30.12

Cutters Harrismith Rum

50cl, 37.5%
Cutters

Named after Harrismith Beach in Barbados, Harrismith Rum was specifically made for mixing. Sugar cane-based rum and charred barrels were used in an effort to make it so the flavours of the rum carry…  More info

Cutters Harrismith Rum
1
$27.47

Diamond (Versailles Still) 16 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)

50cl, 54.3%
Diamond Distillery

It's the second batch of fantastic Guyanese rum from the Diamond Distillery and its wooden Versailles still bottled by That Boutique-y Rum Company! This one was allowed to age for 16 years,…  More info

Diamond (Versailles Still) 16 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)
1
$62.27

El Dorado 25 Year Old 1992

70cl, 43%
El Dorado

Incredible 25 year old rum from the El Dorado range. Distilled in Guyana in 1992, this expression was allowed to mature for over quarter of a century, before being bottled up at 43% ABV. Not only is…  More info

El Dorado 25 Year Old 1992
3
$451.80

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
$20.73
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El Dorado 8 Year Old

70cl, 40%
El Dorado

A more recent part of the El Dorado range, this is aged in bourbon barrels and offers a heavier body than the 5 year old, but still not as heavy as the 12 and 15, making this a great mixing rum,…  More info

El Dorado 8 Year Old
1
$31.05

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
23
$30.04
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Secret Distillery #1 6 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)

50cl, 51.5%
That Boutique-y Rum Company

It's the second batch of dark rum from an undisclosed Jamaican distillery to be bottled by That Boutique-y Rum Company, and this time it's a 6 year old expression full of toffee-drenched fruit and…  More info

Secret Distillery #1 6 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)
2
$38.38

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
11
$28.83

Ron Elixir Orange - Compañero (1423)

70cl, 40%
1423

A lip-smacking expression from 1423's Compañero range, based around rum from Trinidad and flavoured with plenty of orange alongside various tropical deliciousness. Well suited to enjoying alongside…  More info

Ron Elixir Orange - Compañero (1423)
4
$46.69
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Kirk & Sweeney Gran Reserva Superior

70cl, 40%
Kirk & Sweeney

An exquisite Dominican rum from Kirk & Sweeney, which takes its name from a Prohibition era smuggling ship, most notably known for smuggling rum! Gran Reserva Superior focuses on decadent endnotes,…  More info

Kirk & Sweeney Gran Reserva Superior
1
$77.84

Facundo NEO

70cl, 40%
Bacardi

A comforting premium rum from Bacardi's Facundo range, named after the company's founder. Rums aged up to 8 years are blended and then charcoal filtered to remove the colour for aged notes in a…  More info

Facundo NEO
1
$51.88
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Karisimbi Spiced Rum

70cl, 42%
Gorilla Spirits

The folks from Gorilla Spirits have gone and created Karisimbi Spiced Rum, named for Mount Karisimbi, an inactive volcano located on the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.…  More info

Karisimbi Spiced Rum
5
$36.34

The Duppy Share Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
The Duppy Share

How exciting, it's a Spiced variant of The Duppy Share Caribbean Rum! The blend of Jamaica and Barbados rum has been treated to the addition of pineapple, kola nut and Caribbean spices. Plus, there's…  More info

The Duppy Share Spiced Rum
6
$24.88
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Navy Island Navy Strength Rum

70cl, 57%
Navy Island

From the Navy Island Rum Company comes a blend of hand-selected Jamaican rums that were distilled entirely in traditional pot-stills before it was aged in ex-bourbon oak casks then bottled at Navy…  More info

Navy Island Navy Strength Rum
3
$43.25
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Ron Cubay 10 Year Old - Reserva Especial

70cl, 40%
Ron Cubay

Wonderful Cuban rum which has enjoyed a rather lengthy maturation (for a rum). 10 years in the cask has given this beauty bags of character, flavour and an glorious mahogany hue.  More info

Ron Cubay 10 Year Old - Reserva Especial
2
$52.19

Chairman's Reserve 1931

70cl, 46%
St. Lucia Distillers

Chairman's Reserve 1931 rum from St. Lucia Distillers was made as a tribute to the founder, Denis Barnard, and the year he established the distillery, 1931. The rum marries a blend of both molasses…  More info

Chairman's Reserve 1931
1
$77.89
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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
10
$23.88

Dictador Solera XO Perpetual

70cl, 40%
Dictador

A premium Columbian Solera rum from Dictador, complete with their European design and Japanese bottles. This XO release is aged in the finest oak casks and brought down to 40% abv with demineralised…  More info

Dictador Solera XO Perpetual
6
$83.09
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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
28
$34.18
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Best Seller

Lil Ray's No.1 African Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Lil Ray's

It's Lil Ray's No.1, a spiced rum from Africa – specifically, rums from Réunion, Mauritius, and Eswatini go into this toasty expression. It's then infused with Lil Ray's very own spice mix, with…  More info

Lil Ray's No.1 African Spiced Rum
17
$35.26

House of Elrick Dark Rum

70cl, 40%
House of Elrick

A top aged rum expression from House of Elrick up in Aberdeenshire, distilled from molasses. There's a tasty balance between lighter fruity notes and warming, okay flavours to enjoy here - should be…  More info

House of Elrick Dark Rum
1
$33.34
Best Seller

Plantation Rum Experience Gift Pack

60cl, 41%
Plantation

A delicious set of six rums from the Plantation range, all presented in 10cl bottles. This collection includes the Plantation Gran Añejo Rum (42% ABV), the XO 20th Anniversary Rum (40% ABV), the…  More info

Plantation Rum Experience Gift Pack
2
$61.24

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