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The brands leading Scotland’s rum movement

Scotland is world-famous for its whisky, but now it seems producers are turning their attention to a more tropical spirit. Here, we reveal the brands leading the nascent Scottish rum movement.

Wester Spirit Distillery is the “first” rum distillery in Glasgow in 300 years

Rum may be more commonly associated with the tropical islands of the Caribbean than the rugged British Isles, but in 2015, rum distillation came to Scotland for what was thought to be the first time when Dark Matter Distillers unveiled its first product. Since then, a number of Scottish producers have moved into the rum category and expanded their product lines beyond the country’s most famous drink.

It’s no surprise that distillers have tapped into the potential for rum, considering Scotland’s historical links to the spirit. The country is thought to have connections with rum dating back to the 17th century when a sugar boom led to Glasgow’s ‘golden age’ of sugar. Between 1650 and 1750, the city was a hub for rum production.

There are sure to be many more Scottish producers set to enter the rum market in the coming years, including Ellon-based brewer BrewDog, which recently revealed plans to launch a rum this year under its spirits arm.
Click through our following pages to see your pick of top Scottish rum brands. 

Wester Spiced Rum

Wester Spiced Rum is produced by the Wester Spirit Distillery in Glasgow, the “first” rum distillery in the Scottish city in 300 years.

The site, which opened in November last year, is the brainchild of Zander Macgregor and Allan Nairn, who are both based in Glasgow.

The distillery is inspired by the city’s “heritage, reputation and strong connection in distilling rum”.

It will “meet the growing demand for spiced rum” by increasing its production limit from 250 bottles per month to 6000.

Dark Matter Rum

Dark Matter Distillers, based in the Aberdeenshire town of Banchory, created its first product – a spiced rum – using imported sugarcane molasses.

Former petroleum economist Jim Ewen, managing director of Dark Matter Distillers, and his brother John, spent two years experimenting with different yeast strains before releasing the product. “We are not a multi-functional distillery – we are 100% designed for rum production,” Jim Ewen said at the time of his distillery’s launch.

Matugga Rum

Founded by husband and wife Paul and Jacine Rutasikwa, Matugga Distillers produces Matugga Golden Rum, Matugga Spiced Rum and Matugga Mavuno Rum. The site is thought to be the first rum distillery in central Scotland.

Described as having an east African flavour profile, Matugga is a combination of sugarcane molasses from the region and a masala chai blend of black tea, ginger, cloves, vanilla, cardamom and cinnamon.

In November last year, Matugga Distillers launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £30,000 (US$38,600) to support its “ambitious expansions plans”.

Seawolf White Rum

Seawolf, which launched in November 2016, is the “first” white rum to be distilled on Scottish soil from the team behind renowned Edinburgh bar Bramble.

The fermentation of the spirit’s base ingredient, cane molasses, is done at low temperature for four weeks using both rum and Champagne yeasts, resulting in an “unusual” flavour profile.

The spirit takes its name from the Native American term for killer whales, which are found dotted around the Scottish coastline today.

NB Rum

In July 2017, Scottish spirits producer NB Distillery revealed plans to move into the rum category. 

NB Full Bodied Rum and NB Light Fruity Rum were produced after months of research and experimentation and feature the same contemporary branding as the distillery’s flagship NB gin and vodka brands. The rums are made using a retort still and British molasses.

The company produces the spirits from its distillery in North Berwick, East Lothian, which opened its doors last summer

Banditti Club – Glasgow Spiced Rum

Produced by the Glasgow Distillery Company, Banditti Club is distilled from sugarcane juice on the island of Madeira. It spends 12 months maturing in oak casks before being spiced with ingredients including pineapple, orange, cacao and allspice – all of which takes place in Glasgow.

Bottled at 44% abv, the rum is said to have notes of toasted pineapple and orange on the palate, leading to cloves, anise and a spicy finish.

Dunedin Rum

Strathearn Distillery in Methven, Perthshire created Dunedin Golden Rum in 2017, which is bottled at 43% abv.

It is described as having a bold fruity nose with notes of dark chocolate. On the palate, it has sweet vanilla and spicy flavours followed by an oaky finish.

The bottle pays homage to Scotland and Muireadhach, a famous Celtic sea warrior.

Devil’s Point

Deeside Distillery in Banchory, Aberdeenshire, launched its Devil’s Point rum range earlier this year, which have been aged in a variation of experimental casks.

To create the rums, Deeside Distillery use higher temperatures to ferment the product in order to mimic the warmer climes paired with the use of dunder and dunder pits, a traditional flavour source used in the fermentation and distillation of the wash of Jamaican rum.

In addition to the Devil’s Point range, Deeside has also released an aged golden rum, a coffee rum liqueur and a virgin American Oak single cask rum.

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