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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.

Malecon Seleccion Esplendida 1985

70cl, 40%
Malecon

In the year 1985, this Malecon Seleccion Esplendida was distilled in Panama and then left to rest in oak barrels. Three decades later in 2015, it was finally bottled! Inspired by traditional Cuban…  More info

Malecon Seleccion Esplendida 1985
1
$140.65

Montanya Platino Rum

70cl, 40%
Montanya

A Colorado rum here from Montanya, distilled from locally grown sugarcane! Though it's colourless, this Platino expression has actually been aged for one year in American White Oak barrels that…  More info

Montanya Platino Rum
1
$34.91

Finders Spirit of Christmas Pudding Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Finders Spirits

A warming, festive spirit from those Finders folks, it's a Spirit of Christmas Pudding Spiced Rum! A base of aged rum has been made suitably seasonal thanks to the addition of cinnamon, orange and…  More info

Finders Spirit of Christmas Pudding Spiced Rum
1
$30.76

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
$24.60

Bristol Spirits Collective Port of Bristol Honey Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Bristol Spirits Collective

Here we have a Honey Rum, courtesy of the folks over in the West Country at Bristol Spirits Collective! It marries the deliciousness of honey and rum, which we're big fans of. We assume the Rear…  More info

Bristol Spirits Collective Port of Bristol Honey Rum
3
$33.37
Best Seller

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
$37.99
Best Seller

Dos Maderas Luxus

70cl, 40%
Williams & Humbert

Similar to the Dos Maderas 5+3, except this would be called 'Dos Maderas 10+5' under that naming convention (Bajan and Gyanese rums aged for ten years in the Caribbean before being transported to…  More info

Dos Maderas Luxus
1
$127.34

Thirsty Toucan Mango, Pineapple & Passion Fruit

70cl, 40%
Loaded Spirits

A tremendously tropical white rum here, infused with mango, lime, and passion fruit! Packing plenty of fruity flavour, this is a fab way to bring a touch of the tropics to your favourite mixer and…  More info

Thirsty Toucan Mango, Pineapple & Passion Fruit
7
$30.76

Bush Rum Original Spiced

70cl, 37.5%
Bush Rum Co.

A classic spiced rum here from the Bush Rum Co.! The warming spirit takes a base of Caribbean rum and adds a whole host of fragrant spices. We can see this working superbly well with ginger beer...  More info

Bush Rum Original Spiced
3
$21.52

Brass Neck Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Brass Neck

A spiced rum, but not as you might expect it – the folks at Brass Neck have been getting rather adventurous with their botanicals. Exploring and experimenting with an array of natural ingredients,…  More info

Brass Neck Spiced Rum
10
$40

Sea Shanty Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Sea Shanty Rum

Distilled in Scotland, with inspiration from Jamaican rum production techniques, Sea Shanty Rum is then infused with spices and handpicked tea, for a wonderfully warming, smooth and easy sipper.…  More info

Sea Shanty Rum
1
$29.74

Cape Cornwall White Rum

70cl, 40%
Cape Cornwall

A vibrant White Rum from Cape Cornwall, made by blending a Caribbean rum base with Cornish water. The name is a nod to the history of Cape Cornwall, when rum was smuggled in by boat and stored in the…  More info

Cape Cornwall White Rum
3
$30.81

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
$35.90

Runaway Bay

70cl, 42.5%
Runaway Bay

Here we have Runaway Bay, a rum named for a beach on the north coast of Jamaica. The pot still rum brings together rum from four distilleries on the Island, including high ester spirit from Trelawny…  More info

Runaway Bay
17
$56.22

Cape Cornwall Gold Rum

70cl, 40%
Cape Cornwall

A Gold expression from the Cape Cornwall range! A base of aged Caribbean rum has been blended with Cornish water for this one, so there's lots of chocolatey notes among the fresher, grassy flavours.…  More info

Cape Cornwall Gold Rum
6
$36.92

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
$138.60

Bostin Drinks Co. Blackberry & Damson Rum

70cl, 40%
Bostin Drinks Co.

From Bostin Drinks Co. comes this fruity Blackberry & Damson Rum, inspired by suburban walks and the abundance of fruits available to any hardy forager! Caribbean white rum was selected for the base,…  More info

Bostin Drinks Co. Blackberry & Damson Rum
6
$31.78

Montanya Exclusiva Rum

70cl, 40%
Montanya

Montanya Exclusiva Rum was barrel aged for a total of three years, made up of two and a half in an American white oak that previously held Colorado whiskey, followed by six months in French oak…  More info

Montanya Exclusiva Rum
1
$46.17

Cornish Rock Coconut Paradise Cornish Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Cornish Rock

Need something to sip and enjoy while imagining you're somewhere nice and warm? The Cornish Rock team has you covered with its Coconut paradise Cornish Rum! The rum features a blend of spices,…  More info

Cornish Rock Coconut Paradise Cornish Rum
1
$35.90

The Real McCoy 12 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Foursquare

The 12 year old Real McCoy rum, matured in heavily charred bourbon barrels. Rich and oak-y, with bundles of Christmas cake, Demerara sugar and pipe tobacco notes. The 'Real McCoy' name is based on…  More info

The Real McCoy 12 Year Old
2
$55.41

Spirited Union Organic Coconut

70cl, 38%
Spirited Union

Who doesn’t love coconut? This is a captivating botanical rum from Belize made with toasted organic coconut flakes and infused with raw Peruvian cacao. It’s cut from the barrel with coconut water,…  More info

Spirited Union Organic Coconut
3
$29.77

Anglesey Rum Co. Skerries Dark Rum

70cl, 40%
Anglesey Rum Co.

Dark rum here produced in Wales by the Anglesey Rum Co, which has been made with a base of molasses, and also with molasses added post-distillation. Lots of caramel and brown sugar notes to enjoy…  More info

Anglesey Rum Co. Skerries Dark Rum
1
$39.03

Hina Rum

50cl, 40%
Hina Rum

Hina Rum (produced by the same folks who make Selkie Gin) is built upon a base of Caribbean rum which is aged in ex-bourbon casks, before being redistilled with a secret selection of botanicals.…  More info

Hina Rum
6
$32.82

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
$33.35

Brugal Ron Blanco Especial Extra Dry Rum

70cl, 40%
Brugal

Classic white rum from Dominican producers, Brugal, which is aged for at least one year to mellow out some of the overly intense qualities of rum straight from the still. This tasty rum is no…  More info

Brugal Ron Blanco Especial Extra Dry Rum
1
$20.03
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