A SIP TO SAVOR
Like the proverbial cherry atop an ice-cream sundae, I got to top off an early summer trip to watch the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup semifinals in Bermuda with a wee sip of Auld Trophy Rum, created especially for the event by Goslings, whose Black Seal rum is Bermuda’s most famous export and the main ingredient in the country’s national cocktail, the venerable Dark ’n’ Stormy.
Mates and I had met Malcolm Gosling Jr. at a weekend party for the press, and he offered us a tour of the company’s headquarters in downtown Hamilton the following Monday morning, the day of our departure. How could we refuse, seeing it was practically on the way to the airport?
Goslings, founded in 1806 by James Gosling, is not a distillery. Instead, the company buys barrels of distillate from Caribbean islands, ships them to Bermuda and then blends them, using a recipe that dates back to the mid-1800s. When Goslings learned the America’s Cup was coming to town, Malcolm’s father, also a Malcolm, and chief blender Kenneth Simons wandered into the warehouse determined to cook up something special.
And they did.
They found their oldest available barrel of rum, one left over from 1968. Next, they created a very special bottle for their spirits, a Dartington Crystal decanter that’s a replica of the Auld Mug itself, adorned with a sterlingsilver handle crafted by T.R. Sterling of England. Each bottle comes in a numbered wooden case — 166 of them were made, one for each year the Cup’s been in existence — that also includes a leather tasting journal to record the circumstances surrounding each sip of the rum that’s available only in Bermuda, and which sells for $10,000 a bottle.
The morning we visited Malcolm, our tour ended in the blending room, where we warmed up with small glasses of the company’s Black Seal (dark) and Gold Seal (light) rums. From there, we moved on to a slug of Old Rum, a sipping delight that’s aged between 16 and 20 years.
And then, finally, we were each poured a dollop of the Auld Trophy, which vaporized in a spectacular fashion the moment it hit my tongue. Watching the America’s Cup action was pretty memorable. Toasting to it was even better.
Know a huge America’s Cup — or rum — fan? At $10,000, the limited-edition Auld Trophy Rum set is perhaps the ultimate splurge gift.