Bidding on #rarerum auction LIVE!

I am currently online as we speak, at the Bonham’s Whiskey, Cognac and Rare Spirit auction in New York,  waiting for my lot to come up so I can bid on a rare rum I have wanted for a long time…

And here’s why. The bottle with a red wax capsule and label with Presidential Seal reads: “This is the Fourth of Twelve bottles of Jamaican Rum of supreme quality and great age prepared especially to commemorate the visit to Jamaica by The President of the United States and Mrs. Reagan, April 7th, 1982.” The back label then reads: “In 1906, when the twenty-sixth President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt became the first American to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, for his activities to improve international relations, a quantity of the finest rum from the Mona Estate in Jamaica was sealed in oak casks for ageing. The final parcel of this rum, now more than seventy-five years old, has been used in this unique blend, along with other fine Jamaica Rums, the youngest of which has been aged for over fourteen years.”

I was too young to meet Reagan, and born decades after Roosevelt died. But I am old enough to know that when a rare rum with great history arises, it belongs in my cabinet, Upstairs.

Sipping. Right. Now. #rarerum

My dodgy Colombian friend dropped me off a bottle - or should I say a taste - left in a bottle of the Ron Batron Solera 1893. Judging by the amount left in the bottle, he had enjoyed this rum. I have had a bottle of the Ron Batron Solera 1893 in my collection for some time, my bottle is the older style oval shape this bottle has since been rebranded from the oval shaped to a more contemporary looking broad-shouldered cylindrical shape. This Guatemalan rum seems to have been over shadowed by the recent aggressive marketing of the Ron Zacapa house. The spin off from the Zacapa marketing is the rise of interest in the central american rum producers. Ron Batron has been producing rum since 1939 when the five spanish born Botran brothers found the climate and altitude of Quetzaltenango was ideal for the slow aging of rum. All the sugar cane is harvested from the family estate in Retalhuleu in the south of Guatemala which provides the perfect conditions to grow sugar cane varieties that yield the highest sugar content. All Batron rums are made from the virgin sugar cane honey, aged in used american charred whiskey barrels and follow the solera aging system incorporating sherry and port barrels in the process. 

My Tasting Notes 
Excellent characteristics starting with a deep rich aroma with little presence of alcohol on the nose, tastes bring the tropical fruit and almond, baking spice, slight charred wood smoke. The well balanced complex body reminds me of sweet caramelized bananas, closing out with a long slight oak smokiness to the finish; although Ron Batron is not sweet it holds true to the sweeter western caribbean style rums. A fine example of another Guatemalan rum that can be over looked by it’s over powering well marketed neighbor. 

My dodgy Columbian friend knows a good rum when he tastes one.

My dodgy Colombian friend dropped me off a bottle - or should I say a taste - left in a bottle of the Ron Batron Solera 1893. Judging by the amount left in the bottle, he had enjoyed this rum. I have had a bottle of the Ron Batron Solera 1893 in my collection for some time, my bottle is the older style oval shape this bottle has since been rebranded from the oval shaped to a more contemporary looking broad-shouldered cylindrical shape. This Guatemalan rum seems to have been over shadowed by the recent aggressive marketing of the Ron Zacapa house. The spin off from the Zacapa marketing is the rise of interest in the central american rum producers. Ron Batron has been producing rum since 1939 when the five spanish born Botran brothers found the climate and altitude of Quetzaltenango was ideal for the slow aging of rum. All the sugar cane is harvested from the family estate in Retalhuleu in the south of Guatemala which provides the perfect conditions to grow sugar cane varieties that yield the highest sugar content. All Batron rums are made from the virgin sugar cane honey, aged in used american charred whiskey barrels and follow the solera aging system incorporating sherry and port barrels in the process. 

My Tasting Notes 
Excellent characteristics starting with a deep rich aroma with little presence of alcohol on the nose, tastes bring the tropical fruit and almond, baking spice, slight charred wood smoke. The well balanced complex body reminds me of sweet caramelized bananas, closing out with a long slight oak smokiness to the finish; although Ron Batron is not sweet it holds true to the sweeter western caribbean style rums. A fine example of another Guatemalan rum that can be over looked by it’s over powering well marketed neighbor. 
My dodgy Columbian friend knows a good rum when he tastes one.
Don Papa. Philippines Rum. Tasting notes:
Light and fruity on the nose whilst smooth and delicate on the palate, the light amber coloured Don Papa has a long, rich-textured finish and offers flavors of vanilla, honey and candied fruits. A perfect end of dinner palate pleaser.
Don Papa is a premium aged small batch rum from the isle of Negros Occidental, the Philippines. Distilled from some of the finest sugar cane in the world, Don Papa is first aged 7 years in oak barrels in the foothills of Mount Kanlaon before being blended to perfection. Negros Occidental is and has always been the sugar capital of the Philippines. Due to the perfect combination of climate, geography and the rich volcanic soil on the island, Negros is ideally suited for sugar cane production.
"And, where there is sugar you will find rum.Where there is rum, you will find Don Papa.”

Don Papa. Philippines Rum. Tasting notes:

Light and fruity on the nose whilst smooth and delicate on the palate, the light amber coloured Don Papa has a long, rich-textured finish and offers flavors of vanilla, honey and candied fruits. A perfect end of dinner palate pleaser.

Don Papa is a premium aged small batch rum from the isle of Negros Occidental, the Philippines. Distilled from some of the finest sugar cane in the world, Don Papa is first aged 7 years in oak barrels in the foothills of Mount Kanlaon before being blended to perfection. Negros Occidental is and has always been the sugar capital of the Philippines. Due to the perfect combination of climate, geography and the rich volcanic soil on the island, Negros is ideally suited for sugar cane production.

"And, where there is sugar you will find rum.
Where there is rum, you will find Don Papa.”

I recently came across Tanduay Gold Asian Rum. The rum was awarded “Best In Class” at this year’s Rum Renaissance festival.

"Rather than putting forth spirits of ordinary character, Tanduay has chosen to deliver a white and gold rum of above-average quality. This will certainly draw attention and impress those that make quality cocktails and appreciate good rum. Like a sleeping tiger now awakened, Tanduay suddenly appears (in the west) to impress and delight, while casting a positive light on the future possibilities for the discovery of well-crafted Asian cane spirits.”

— rum expert and founder of Rum Renaissance, Robert A. Burr
Interview with Daniel Petts

Upstairs Rare Rum Bar, Kaibo, Cayman Kai, Grand Cayman.

I love working at such a unique bar in Cayman, and it has been noticeably busier since reaching the top position on Trip Advisor. There’s something special about the space, a complete sense of peace and relaxation, even if the Beach Bar is busy below. Walking by on the beach front, you wouldn’t even know Upstairs was here, like a secret gem, hidden away above the bustle of the better known Beach Bar. It’s not as old as it might appear. The Upstairs Bar was created from a humble shack in 1999 when the building was converted into a 2 storey restaurant, with beach bar below, and marina to dock the boat. There is plenty history here. Some of the books in the display cabinets are very old, a couple are first edition Hemmingways. We have some vintage pieces of furniture in the Rare Rum Lounge.

We might not be a happening bar with flames and flair, but that doesn’t mean we ‘stagnate’. - we’re just not that type of  bar. We’re always going to be classic cocktails and old style drinks with a modern edge, and of course there is the rare rum in our cabinet. Wine plays a huge part, champagne too, and that won’t change. But what makes working here distinct is the relationship you build up with guests. There are regulars we recognise by name, we give them their favourite table, we most likely know what they are having and you get to know each other over time - about what they do, what business they are in, why they are travelling, about their families, and they ask about my kids too. That personal relationship is the reward. 

It’s the rare rums that distinguish us from other bars. We are lucky to have someone based in London who knows all the producers and visits small suppliers to identify rare bottlings. It’s a privilege to be able to go to Caribbean destinations a few times a year myself - to meet the owners of the rum companies- and to be able to spend hundreds on just a few bottles. At auctions you take a gamble as you can’t always taste before you buy, so it’s by reputation and trust that you make a purchase. We just bought a bottle of Maximo from Havana, Cuba, which we’ll sell for $150 a shot. Each purchase gets the customer a brass plaque inside the rum cabinet; it looks impressive, and it is fun to discover run of this calibre.

Spirits that cost this much don’t sell themselves. That’s another skill we have that sets us apart. It’s about the ability to tell a story, selling the experience, engaging with the guest. If you push it too much you’ll lose them forever, and that’s understandable.  I like to give an education on the rare rums, many have such interesting stories. The ‘Rare Rum Flight’ for $25 is my favourite way to introduce 3 very different select rums. And you can’t fake it: with a collection like this you really have to know what you are talking about. My bartenders need a solid cocktail background and a good knowledge of spirits, but wine is very important too, so it’s also a more rounded discipline. Much of the training we do is not necessarily about cocktails - I assume bartenders know cocktails already , and I don’t want to teach my team how to make a Cosmopolitan. 
 I train the bartenders how to make the signature cocktails. The Smoking Gun is the most fun and challenging, because you have to make and bottle the bourbon wood chip smoke. I teach how to make homemade cola, natural bitters, & syrups, and speciality ice cubes. 

Since I started as a bartender, bars have definitely changed. They’re far more relaxed these days, there’s less formality and etiquette and people are more approachable. It’s more entertaining in general, but sometimes I think things might have lightened up a little too much - we should still strive to preserve a fine atmosphere, that’s what makes us different Upstairs.
Interview with Daniel Petts
Upstairs Rare Rum Bar, Kaibo, Cayman Kai, Grand Cayman.
I love working at such a unique bar in Cayman, and it has been noticeably busier since reaching the top position on Trip Advisor. There’s something special about the space, a complete sense of peace and relaxation, even if the Beach Bar is busy below. Walking by on the beach front, you wouldn’t even know Upstairs was here, like a secret gem, hidden away above the bustle of the better known Beach Bar. It’s not as old as it might appear. The Upstairs Bar was created from a humble shack in 1999 when the building was converted into a 2 storey restaurant, with beach bar below, and marina to dock the boat. There is plenty history here. Some of the books in the display cabinets are very old, a couple are first edition Hemmingways. We have some vintage pieces of furniture in the Rare Rum Lounge.
We might not be a happening bar with flames and flair, but that doesn’t mean we ‘stagnate’. - we’re just not that type of  bar. We’re always going to be classic cocktails and old style drinks with a modern edge, and of course there is the rare rum in our cabinet. Wine plays a huge part, champagne too, and that won’t change. But what makes working here distinct is the relationship you build up with guests. There are regulars we recognise by name, we give them their favourite table, we most likely know what they are having and you get to know each other over time - about what they do, what business they are in, why they are travelling, about their families, and they ask about my kids too. That personal relationship is the reward. 
It’s the rare rums that distinguish us from other bars. We are lucky to have someone based in London who knows all the producers and visits small suppliers to identify rare bottlings. It’s a privilege to be able to go to Caribbean destinations a few times a year myself - to meet the owners of the rum companies- and to be able to spend hundreds on just a few bottles. At auctions you take a gamble as you can’t always taste before you buy, so it’s by reputation and trust that you make a purchase. We just bought a bottle of Maximo from Havana, Cuba, which we’ll sell for $150 a shot. Each purchase gets the customer a brass plaque inside the rum cabinet; it looks impressive, and it is fun to discover run of this calibre.
Spirits that cost this much don’t sell themselves. That’s another skill we have that sets us apart. It’s about the ability to tell a story, selling the experience, engaging with the guest. If you push it too much you’ll lose them forever, and that’s understandable.  I like to give an education on the rare rums, many have such interesting stories. The ‘Rare Rum Flight’ for $25 is my favourite way to introduce 3 very different select rums. And you can’t fake it: with a collection like this you really have to know what you are talking about. My bartenders need a solid cocktail background and a good knowledge of spirits, but wine is very important too, so it’s also a more rounded discipline. Much of the training we do is not necessarily about cocktails - I assume bartenders know cocktails already , and I don’t want to teach my team how to make a Cosmopolitan. 
 I train the bartenders how to make the signature cocktails. The Smoking Gun is the most fun and challenging, because you have to make and bottle the bourbon wood chip smoke. I teach how to make homemade cola, natural bitters, & syrups, and speciality ice cubes. 
Since I started as a bartender, bars have definitely changed. They’re far more relaxed these days, there’s less formality and etiquette and people are more approachable. It’s more entertaining in general, but sometimes I think things might have lightened up a little too much - we should still strive to preserve a fine atmosphere, that’s what makes us different Upstairs.
Rare Rum of the Week …. Atlantico Private CaskThe ultimate expression of ATLANTICO, this rare rum was carefully created to reflect the heritage and craftsmanship of centuries of rum masters. Winner of countless awards and widely considered one of the finest rums in the world, it is a blend of small batched rums aged up to 25 years. Simply pour it into glass and experience it on its own.Tasting Notes: Initial notes of toffee, caramel and oak are warm and soothing, followed by hints of berries and maple.Daniel’s comments: smooth on the tongue, and easy on the wallet, this is one of our best sellers from the Rare Rum cabinet.

Rare Rum of the Week …. Atlantico Private Cask

The ultimate expression of ATLANTICO, this rare rum was carefully created to reflect the heritage and craftsmanship of centuries of rum masters. Winner of countless awards and widely considered one of the finest rums in the world, it is a blend of small batched rums aged up to 25 years. Simply pour it into glass and experience it on its own.

Tasting Notes: Initial notes of toffee, caramel and oak are warm and soothing, followed by hints of berries and maple.

Daniel’s comments: smooth on the tongue, and easy on the wallet, this is one of our best sellers from the Rare Rum cabinet.