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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.

Cadenhead's Classic Rum

70cl, 50%
WM Cadenhead

Though known more for their whisky bottlings (they're one of the oldest independent bottlers in Scotland!), W.M. Cadenhead also bottle delicious rums, too. This is their Classic Rum, made with…  More info

Cadenhead's Classic Rum
4
$32.98

Fortuna Script Rum & Reason

70cl, 37.5%
Fortuna Script

The Fortuna Script was, originally, a predictive card-counting algorithm developed by an intellectual group back in the 1800s, used to bring down the casino barons at the time. Now, taking…  More info

Fortuna Script Rum & Reason
9
$35.50

Norfolk Dark Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
The Norfolk Spirit Company

Deliciously warming spiced rum here from The Norfolk Spirit Co., featuring a base rum made in England using molasses which gets triple distilled in copper alembic stills. Expect notes of cinnamon and…  More info

Norfolk Dark Spiced Rum
1
$35.49

Captain Morgan Original Rum 1.5l

150cl, 40%
Captain Morgan

A very popular dark rum named after the 17th century Welsh sailor, Captain Henry Morgan. It is made with rums from Jamaica, Guyana and Barbados. This is the 1.5l magnum version, for all you Captains…  More info

Captain Morgan Original Rum 1.5l
1
$36.97

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
$32.60

Jah45 White Overproof Rum

70cl, 63%
Jah45

From Jah45 comes a punchy Overproof expression, made from a blend of column still rum from Clarendon and pot still rums from the Hampden, Monymusk and New Yarmouth distilleries. The unaged rum is…  More info

Jah45 White Overproof Rum
1
$28.98

El Ron Prohibido Solera Gran Reserva

70cl, 40%
Cervecera Mexicana

A solera aged rum from El Ron Prohibido, “The Forbidden Rum”. This complex Mexican rum is distilled from molasses, and the oldest spirit in the bottle is around 15 years old. We have to say, the…  More info

El Ron Prohibido Solera Gran Reserva
1
$37.58

Neptune Rum Caribbean Spiced

70cl, 37.5%
Neptune Rum

By Neptune's beard - it's Neptune Rum Caribbean Spiced! Yes, we know we made that joke the last time, but we're sticking with it. Anyway, this spiced variation of Neptune Rum has been infused with…  More info

Neptune Rum Caribbean Spiced
3
$29.63

Rum Ting - Passionfruit, Mango & Elderflower

70cl, 42.5%
Rum Ting

From the folks who brought you Gin Ting comes... Rum Ting! You can see a theme emerging here, can't you? For this terrifically tropical expression, Guyanese rum has been infused with a lip-smacking…  More info

Rum Ting - Passionfruit, Mango & Elderflower
7
$35.54
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Two Swallows Orange & Ginger Rum

50cl, 38%
Rockstar Spirits

The Two Swallows range gets a third flavour (which I guess adds up to six of the eponymous birds?) with this Orange & Ginger Rum! Combining Guyanese rum with tangy citrus and spicy ginger makes for a…  More info

Two Swallows Orange & Ginger Rum
5
$23.84

Banks 5 Island Rum

70cl, 43%
Banks

Banks 5 Island is a blend of five rums from distilleries in Trinidad, Barbados, Trinidad and Guyana. They add a little Batavia Arrack from Java and the result is a beautiful cocktail rum. Highly…  More info

Banks 5 Island Rum
1
$36.58

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
$45.66
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Bougainville Vanilla Rum

70cl, 40%
Bougainville

One of a number of exceptional rums from the Oxenham Craft Distillery on the island of Mauritius, this flavoured edition was distilled using Bougainville's award winning white rum as a base, which…  More info

Bougainville Vanilla Rum
2
$23.93

Beach House Gold Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Beach House

This Gold Spiced Rum from Beach House is made with light rum from Mauritius, which is infused with tropical fruits and a whole host of warming spices, with sweeter fruity notes balancing well among…  More info

Beach House Gold Spiced Rum
1
$29.41

Hygge Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Hygge

Created during 2020 Lockdown, Hygge is a small batch Caribbean rum infused with the likes of ginger, nutmeg and clove. In addition to these classic spiced rum flavours, natural lime and caramel are…  More info

Hygge Spiced Rum
4
$35.50

Uhuru XO Caribbean Golden Rum

70cl, 44%
Uhuru

Distilled and matured in Venezuela, this tremendous rum was then shipped to the U.K, to be bottled up by the folks at Uhuru Spirits! Boasting an array of rich fruit, toffee, and buttery oak…  More info

Uhuru XO Caribbean Golden Rum
1
$40.57

Ron Pampero Blanco Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Ron Pampero

A crisp, fruity white rum produced in Venezuela by Ron Pampero. Aged for at least 2 years (as is the law in the country for all rum), this is a smooth, premium spirit which works well in cocktails,…  More info

Ron Pampero Blanco Rum
1
$22.29

John Paul Jones Lowland Rum

70cl, 40%
John Paul Jones

John Paul Jones Lowland rum has been aged in American oak casks, and interestingly it's also steeped in handpicked Scottish seaweed, which imparts a distinctive savoury, coastal element to the bold,…  More info

John Paul Jones Lowland Rum
3
$35.50

Alnwick Golden Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Alnwick Rum

Alnwick's is an old rum brand dating from 1914 with this spiced release using rums from the Caribbean, mixed spices, citrus, and other exotic fruit.  More info

Alnwick Golden Spiced Rum
2
$29.95

Ancient Mariner 16 Year Old Navy Rum

50cl, 54%
Ancient Mariner

Daily Tots were issued by the Royal Navy for hundred of years, up until July 1970 when they were removed. Ancient Mariner was made with the rum used by the Royal Navy in mind. To revive the classic…  More info

Ancient Mariner 16 Year Old Navy Rum
3
$137.07

Malecon 17 Year Old 2002 - Rare Proof

70cl, 51.2%
Malecon

2002 vintage Panamanian rum here from the Malecon range, which has been allowed a relaxed rest in oak for 17 years. Following that, it was bottled up as part of the Rare Proof series at 51.2% ABV. A…  More info

Malecon 17 Year Old 2002 - Rare Proof
1
$65.97

Honu Pineapple & Mango Pink Rum

70cl, 37.5%
House of Elrick

A delightfully pink rum here, infused with pineapple and mango, and bottled by House of Elrick for the Honu Rum range! Packed with tropical flavour, this is ideal for all manner of exotic cocktails…  More info

Honu Pineapple & Mango Pink Rum
1
$24.33
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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
$34.48

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
$50.73
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Diamond 17 Year Old 2004 Guyanese Rum - Kill Devil (Hunter Laing)

70cl, 55.9%
Diamond Distillery

If well-aged rums are your thing, the Kill Devil range from Hunter Laing holds some absolute treasures – like this expression from Guyana's Diamond Distillery! It was distilled back in 2004, and…  More info

Diamond 17 Year Old 2004 Guyanese Rum - Kill Devil (Hunter Laing)
2
$153.57

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