7 of the best Scottish rums for beginners

From rum distilled on a remote island to liqueurs and spiced options, here we take a look at some of the best Scottish rums.

Find out more about how rum is made in Scotland by listening back to this episode of our podcast, Scran.

Matugga rum

The Matugga distillery was established in 2018 by husband and wife team Jacine and Paul Rutasikwa, who had been selling their range of rums since 2015.

Originally small batch distilled in England before moving production to Scotland, the rums draw inspiration from the couple’s Ugandan and Jamaican family heritage.

Matugga has a uniquely East African flavour profile; achieved using sugar cane molasses from the region and a masala chai blend of black tea, ginger, cloves, vanilla, cardamom and cinnamon.

Ideal for those that enjoy a sweeter style of rum, Matugga Golden Rum (42% ABV) and Matugga Spiced Rum (42% ABV) are currently available via Craft56.

J. Gow Revenge rum

Orkney distillery J. Gow Rum recently added a three-year-old cask aged pot still rum to its core range.

‘Revenge’ has been distilled in Orkney and then aged in ex-bourbon and virgin oak casks for three years.

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J. Gow Rum takes its name from the infamous Orcadian pirate John Gow and the new rum, ‘Revenge’ is named after the ship that the pirate renamed after leading a mutiny on board, due to poor work conditions.

The distillery sits metres from the sea on Lamb Holm, Orkney, and is owned by Collin Van Schayk who does everything from distilling to drawing the illustrations on the labels.

J. Gow Rum’s house style is heavy and full-bodied, and Revenge is no exception.

The hint of vanilla from the bourbon casks complements the sweetness and coconut provided by the virgin oak, which results in a rich and deeply flavoured rum without the need for any added sugar, artificial flavours or colourings.

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Revenge is best drunk neat at room temperature, or in the signature cocktail – Pirate’s Tale.

Revenge is available to purchase directly from J. Gow Rum’s website or from select retailers with a RRP of £38.99.

Jacobite Spirits Charlie's Chopper Clean Cut

Charlie’s Chopper Clean Cut is a new spiced rum from Glasgow-based distillery Jacobite Spirits.

It is packaged in a premium sustainable bottle manufactured by O-I, whose Alloa factory is just 30 miles from the distillery.

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As well as being local (and the place where Irn Bru bottles are made), the technology used means there's no label on the bottle making it 100 per cent recyclable.

The team say that: "Charlie’s Chopper Clean Cut has a uniquely zesty and warm taste profile - peppered with exceptionally clean flavour hits.

"We make it from scratch in Glasgow - no added sugar and just clean cut flavour.

"We think environmentally-conscious bars are going to love it, and their customers, too - no doubt with a crafty cola or as part of a charming cocktail.

"We’re confident those flavours we’ve just described will pass the all-important taste test."

For beginners, this is a great rum to have with a nice cola and a slice of lime - it's refreshing and very moreish.

Enjoy it now with ice and when it gets colder, try in a rum old fashioned or hot toddy.

Charlie's Chopper Clean Cut is priced at £25.95 and available to pre-order here.

Ron Cabezon

This botanical rum recently won a silver medal at the London Spirits Competition and is from Cabezon Beverage, a Scottish craft spirit company.

The aged Caribbean rum has botanicals such as Arabian cubebs and West African Kola nut, giving it a smoky spiciness that works well with a cola mixer.

There's also sweetness from local Aberdeenshire honey and Madagascan vanilla.

Priced at £34.95, you can buy it here.

Banditti Club - Glasgow Spiced Rum

Banditti Club rum

This spiced rum was launched by the Glasgow Distillery in 2019.

Like Christmas cake in a bottle, it is made using rum distilled from freshly pressed sugar cane juice on the Island of Madeira.

Aged for up to 12 months in oak casks, the rum is spiced with a selection of fresh tropical fruit and exotic spices, including pineapple, orange, cacao and allspice.

Natural sweetness and warm spice on the nose, Banditti Club opens up to toasted pineapple and orange on the palate with notes of clove and anise that lead to a long spicy finish.

The distillery suggest trying Banditti Club - which is available to buy now here at £25 per bottle - with a quality ginger beer or coke, over ice and garnished with a generous wedge of fresh lime.

Sea Shanty rum

Aberdeen-based Ardent Spirits, an independent bottling company, recently launched an exclusive ‘Sea Shanty rum’ with proceeds going to Aberdeen RNLI.

The aim is to raise £10,000 through the sale of the Sea Shanty rum, whose bottles have been designed exclusively for the campaign.

Sea Shanty rum is produced at Banchory’s Burn O’Bennie Distillery and bottled by Ardent Spirits on-site.

The Scottish rum recipe is based on the Sea Shanty ‘wellermen’ song which talks about ‘sugar and tea and rum’.

The Sea Shanty rum is priced at £28.50 and available online.

Ninefold pure single rum

This unaged rum is pot distilled from sugar cane molasses in Scotland by Dumfries-based Ninefold Distillery.

The team say it is "deliciously smooth and creamy. Notes of vanilla, caramel, butterscotch and citrus, with a long and spicy finish."

For beginners, try it with cola or ginger beer or add it to a rum based cocktail such as a mojito.

Priced at £35, you can buy it online here.

Rosalind Erskine

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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Rosalind Erskine

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