It was no rum affair – four of the finest aged rums known to man, an antique library, Bacardi’s Master of Rum, and a sommelier who kept on pouring.
And so I dragged myself to Maison Assouline, Piccadilly’s new emporium that sells books and curios, to sample Bacardi’s new rum collection, under the watchful eye of Master of Rum, Manny Oliver. Called the Bacardi Facundo Rum Collection after company founder Don Facundo Bacardi Masso, this is a unique range that represents the best of the family’s private aged rum reserve. Given that ageing rum in barrels in the tropics results in massive evaporation (95% over 20 years), this makes the rums that are blended here very rare indeed.
There are four rums in the collection but the two that stood out on the night are Exquisito and Paraiso. Both rums are outstanding quality and quite the best I have ever tasted. The bottle and packaging designs make these rums look like one of those rare and highly collectable ranges that you are only too proud to show off on a shelf. The designs are a homage to the 1920s Golden Age of cocktails in Havana.
Exquisito (rrp £130) is a blend of 7-23 year-old rums aged in oak that is then finished off in sherry casks. There are notes of cinnamon, dates and red berries with a delicious fruity, butterscotch finish that seems to go on forever. To be fair the measures were pretty generous. And they kept coming.
The real head-turner though is Paraiso (rrp £300) that has the highest concentration of the oldest reserve rums and which are then finished off in French XO barrels that are over 60 years old. The deep amber nectar has gorgeous notes of vanilla, nutmeg and toasted oak with a palate that mixes honey, marzipan and sweet tropical fruit. It is quite unlike anything I have ever tasted and is a credit to Manny and Bacardi for producing this rare outstanding spirit. There are only 10,000 bottles of the Facundo sipping rum collection available to the whole of Europe for selected on and off-trade.