A SIP TO SA­VOR

Cruising World - - Underway - — Mark Pillsbury

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.

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