THE Oxford Dictionary describes it as "an alcoholic spirit distilled from sugar-cane residues or molasses".

It has traditionally been the favoured tipple of sailors and pirates - and the late, great American comedian WC Fields, who memorably said: "All roads lead to rum."

It is associated with the West Indies and Latin America, but all that could be about to be change. It could become as Scottish (though not Scotch) as a Glenlivet or a Glenfiddich.

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Up to 3,000 bottles a month could be produced at a factory in Aberdeenshire - deep in the heart of malt whisky country - by Dark Matter Distillers, thanks, in part, to a recent decision by HMRC to ease its tax policies on micro distillers and brewers.

In what may be seen as a rum punch to the solar plexus of traditionalists, there is a possibility that the product may even be exported to the Caribbean, though it will have a different taste to its more exotic cousin. Changes in temperatures as it weathers in our cooler climate will see to that.

This prospective boost to the nation's export earnings is to be welcomed. There is surely room in Scotland for both rum and whisky. Just not in the same glass.