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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.

Rum Bothy Spiced

70cl, 40%
Gin Bothy

Those Gin Bothy folks have turned their attention to rum! This Spiced variant sees a base of cask-aged rum infused with spices, including local saffron hand-picked in the Strathmore valley. You can…  More info

Rum Bothy Spiced
3
$37.99
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Old Mother Hunt Smoky Oak Golden Rum

70cl, 40%
Old Mother Hunt

An intriguing rum from Old Mother Hunt which, instead of being aged in wood, has actually been infused with it! It's been infused with charred American white oak, adding dry, slightly spicy, subtly…  More info

Old Mother Hunt Smoky Oak Golden Rum
1
$36.92

Chamarel Exotic Spices

70cl, 40%
La Rhumerie de Chamarel

A spiced rum from the Mauritius-based Charamel distillery, dubbed Exotic Spices. It takes the Gold Rum, and infuses it with spices in oak casks for three months. A delectably smooth and spicy…  More info

Chamarel Exotic Spices
1
$37.95

Hina Mango, Ginger & Lime Rum

50cl, 40%
Hina Rum

A Summer Edition variant of Hina Rum, which incorporates the likes of mango, ginger, and lime into the mix! Built upon a base of aged Caribbean rum, and redistilled with a secret selection of spices…  More info

Hina Mango, Ginger & Lime Rum
1
$32.82

Ron Cabezon Botanical Rum

70cl, 41%
Ron Cabezon

A Scottish Botanical Rum, Ron Cabezon was inspired by the founder's time in Barcelona! A base of Caribbean rum has had cubeb, West African kola nut, Madagascan vanilla and even local Aberdeenshire…  More info

Ron Cabezon Botanical Rum
4
$37.95

Beach Bum Rum Silver

70cl, 40%
Beach Bum Beverages

A fresh, tropical unaged rum from the Beach Bum range! It hails from Mauritius, distilled from sugarcane – specifically, 27 different types of local sugarcane from the island! It's then infused with…  More info

Beach Bum Rum Silver
3
$30.75

Clement Canne Bleue

70cl, 50%
Clément

A non-vintage ongoing release of Clément's single varietal rhum agricole from Martinique.  More info

Clement Canne Bleue
2
$32.65
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The Sweet Potato Spirit Co. Spiced Rum

50cl, 42%
The Sweet Potato Spirit Co

A rather intriguing sip from the Sweet Potato Spirit Co. - a Spiced Rum made with a mash of sweet potato and sugar cane molasses!  More info

The Sweet Potato Spirit Co. Spiced Rum
3
$29.74

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
$33.79
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Diablesse Caribbean Rum

70cl, 40%
Diablesse

A blend of three Caribbean rums created by Diablesse, which is based in Manchester. The blend marries spirit from Worthy Park, Foursquare and Diamond Distillery (produced in the only remaining wooden…  More info

Diablesse Caribbean Rum
11
$32.95

Two Swallows Orange & Ginger Rum

50cl, 38%
Rock Star 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
$23.88

Rumburra Orach

70cl, 42.3%
Rumburra

Here we have a Caribbean rum bottled in Scotland! Rumburra Orach has been aged in American oak, and with oodles of tropical fruit bundled in at 42.3% ABV, it's pretty much cocktail ready.  More info

Rumburra Orach
9
$35.90

Chamarel XO Rum

70cl, 43%
La Rhumerie de Chamarel

Single domaine rhum agricole aged for 6 years in French oak, Charamel XO is a family favourite for the producer.  More info

Chamarel XO Rum
2
$74.91

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
$24.19

Diablesse Coconut & Hibiscus Rum

70cl, 38%
Diablesse

A wonderful flavoured rum from the Diablesse, brimming with notes of coconut and hibiscus. Built upon a base of Guyanese rum from the Diamond Distillery, this expression brings oodles of fragrant,…  More info

Diablesse Coconut & Hibiscus Rum
2
$30.54

William George Rum

70cl, 43%
William George

William George Rum is the creation of bartender Andrew Nicholls, named to honour his two grandfathers, William and George. The rum was distilled in Jamaican pot stills and Trinidadian column stills,…  More info

William George Rum
2
$43.12
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Rhum Rhum PMG (56%)

70cl, 56%
Rhum Rhum

A higher-ABV edition of Rhum Rhum PMG, produced on the small island of Marie Galante (just off the coast of Guadeloupe) by Distillerie Bielle. Really impressive stuff, well worth a look for rhum…  More info

Rhum Rhum PMG (56%)
1
$71.84

Drum & Black Spiced Rum

50cl, 42%
Drum & Black

Drum & Black Spiced Rum is based around a triple-distilled spirit, complemented by ingredients from around the world. This includes coffee from Kenya, vanilla and cinnamon from India, orange from…  More info

Drum & Black Spiced Rum
16
$37.95

Black Thistle White Spiced Rum

70cl, 41%
Black Thistle

From Scotland's Black Thistle Distillers comes a White Spiced Rum, which features the likes of elderberry, star anise, and orange among its ingredient selection. The result is a spirit offering up…  More info

Black Thistle White Spiced Rum
1
$34.86

Dead Man's Fingers Passion Fruit Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Dead Man’s Fingers

The Dead Man's Fingers rum range grows once again with the introduction of its Passion Fruit variation! The talented team down in Cornwall has brought together the tangy brilliance of passion fruit…  More info

Dead Man's Fingers Passion Fruit Rum
2
$22.08
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Matusalem Platino Rum

70cl, 40%
Matusalem

A triple distilled white rum, aged using the solera method in the Dominican Republic. Matusalem Platino is crisp, clean and tangy, and works beautifully in cocktails.  More info

Matusalem Platino Rum
1
$23.63

Bostin Drinks Co. Black Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Bostin Drinks Co.

The folks at Bostin Drinks Co. took inspiration from their combined years of drinking experience when creating this Black Spiced Rum with the intention of creating a perfectly versatile spiced rum,…  More info

Bostin Drinks Co. Black Spiced Rum
3
$31.78

Ron Abuelo XV - Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish

70cl, 40%
Ron Abuelo

Panamanian rum from Ron Abuelo's Finish Collection, which has been given a finishing period in Oloroso Sherry casks! This'll be very interesting to taste alongside the other expressions in the range,…  More info

Ron Abuelo XV - Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish
2
$62.59

Bayou Select Rum

70cl, 40%
Bayou Rum

Taking inspiration from early Louisiana rum makers, Bayou Select Rum aged in American oak casks, resulting in a tipple which should appeal to rum and whisky enthusiasts alike.  More info

Bayou Select Rum
1
$24.64

Cockspur Old Gold Special Reserve Rum

70cl, 43%
Cockspur

A rum blend from Barbados, distilled and bottled by Cockspur at West Indies Rum Distillery. This Old Gold Special Reserve expression takes both pot and column distilled rums, which are then aged in…  More info

Cockspur Old Gold Special Reserve Rum
1
$30.80

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