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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

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
$34.25

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
$24.71

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
$50.38
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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
$152.52

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
$61.48

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
$29.75

Sairen Dark Stone

70cl, 40%
Sairen

A spiced rum from the Sairen range, with explores a variety of flavour profiles while remaining clear, meaning you can use it to bring some brilliant flavours to your cocktails with it impacting the…  More info

Sairen Dark Stone
2
$35.26

One Love Rum

70cl, 50%
One Love

Based in Kettering, the One Love Rum Company introduces a reggae influenced blend of tropically aged four year old Jamaican rum, two year old rum from Trinidad and five year old rum from Barbados,…  More info

One Love Rum
8
$35.30

Flight Club Dark Spiced Rum

50cl, 40%
Flight Club

The Flight Club range has now got a spiced rum in its ranks! To create this aromatic expression, cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg and orange peel are added, and it also enjoys a two month infusion of…  More info

Flight Club Dark Spiced Rum
1
$29.75

Malecon 12 Year Old Reserva Superior

70cl, 40%
Malecon

This is the 12 year old expression from Rum Malecon, made in Panama taking inspiration from Cuban production methods. The result is wonderful dark rum suitable for pouring over ice and simply sipping…  More info

Malecon 12 Year Old Reserva Superior
5
$35.15

The Lovers Rum

70cl, 43%
The Lovers Rum

The Lovers Rum is a vibrant blend of Latin American and Caribbean rums, created by the brilliant team of ex-Bacardi ambassador David Cordoba and beverage specialist Arijit Bose! It was made to be the…  More info

The Lovers Rum
2
$40.29

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
$30.26

Chamarel 8 Year Old Cognac Cask Finish

70cl, 45%
La Rhumerie de Chamarel

This rather stylish decanter is full of delicious Mauritian rum from Charamel! Distilled from cane juice, a marriage of both pot and column still rhum agricole, the spirit was initially aged for six…  More info

Chamarel 8 Year Old Cognac Cask Finish
1
$153.53

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
$60.48

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
3
$30

Dead Man's Fingers Dragon Fruit Rum

50cl, 37.5%
Dead Man’s Fingers

Rum and dragon fruit isn't a combination you see every day, now is it? Lucky, the Dead Man's Fingers team in Cornwall has gone ahead and made their very own dragon fruit flavoured rum so you won't…  More info

Dead Man's Fingers Dragon Fruit Rum
3
$23.82

La Hechicera Serie Experimental No.2

70cl, 41%
La Hechicera

It's the second experimental release from La Hechicera! This time the Colombian distillery has added a fruity twist to its already gorgeous rum, having infused it with organic sun-dried banana –…  More info

La Hechicera Serie Experimental No.2
1
$58.12

Ron Cubay 3 Year Old - Carta Blanca

70cl, 38%
Ron Cubay

Matured for three years, the Carta Blanca is the youngest rum from the Cuban producers, Ron Cubay. Made exclusively using Cuban molasses, it's a top quality rum for cocktails or even enjoyed neat.  More info

Ron Cubay 3 Year Old - Carta Blanca
1
$24.66

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
$32.24

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
$54.42

Caithness Raiders Rum

70cl, 40%
Ice & Fire

From Ice & Fire Distillery comes Caithness Raiders Rum, which has had a touch of honey, various spices and gorse (which gives a coconut flavour) added. It has also been aged in oak, imparting a…  More info

Caithness Raiders Rum
6
$38.32

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
4
$29.25

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
$32.07
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One-Eyed Rebel Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
One-Eyed Rebel

From the team that brought you the magnificent Manchester Gin comes One-Eyed Rebel Spiced Rum! Produced in Manchester, this expression features a host of toasty botanicals, including the likes of…  More info

One-Eyed Rebel Spiced Rum
1
$29.15

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
$20.17
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