Don Papa Rum unveils Sherry Casks Finish with Harvey Nichols Christmas exclusive

November 2018 Don Papa Rum, the premium small batch rum from Negros (Sugarlandia) in the Philippines, has launched its newest expression, the Sherry Casks Finish – a limited edition premium rum, available exclusively at Harvey Nichols, in-store and online.  

I was asked earlier in the year, to quote the Bear Necessities, to forget about my worries and my strife, and embark on a pilgrimage across the Philippines, the birth place of Papa Rum and home to the 3rd largest rum market worldwide

It's amazing what can be achieved with a little bit of smart engineering. Don Papa Sherry Casks Finish is a column distilled molasses based rum, first aged for four years in American Oak ex Bourbon casks followed by 18 months in four different types of Sherry Casks: Fino, Pedro Ximenez, Cream, and Palo Cortado.

The rums in these four casks are then carefully blended by Don Papa’s Master Blender to produce a unique limited edition rum, unfiltered and bottled at 45% ABV to further enhance its distinctive taste. 

And I thought Christmas only came once a year? Yes that gag has been lifted from The World is not Enough, but it somehow encapsulates perfectly my feelings around this announcement. Don Papa are firmly exploiting their huge reservoir of talent, from tastemakers, distillers to the farmers that garner the crop and make it all possible. 

What's so special about these Sherry Casks Finish? 

This release from Don Papa embodies all the notes and flavours of a perfectly rounded festive palette; moist Christmas cake, prunes soaked in Madeira, mince pies and Sherry, Port and figs, cherry liqueur dark chocolates, plums stewed with star anise, roasted almond marzipan, pomander, unctuous caramel and spices nuts. 

The only thing that's missing are the After Eight's! (I jest. Or do I?) 

Everybody knows someone that is an ardent fan of Rum. This is a perfect gift for that rum-lover in your life or making yourself the kingpin of the party by turning up with a bottle. 

The Sherry Casks Finish is presented in a unique baroque-inspired design reflecting some aspects of the island’s Spanish heritage whilst keeping the irreverence of Papa Isio’s story, originally a foreman in a sugar plantation turned revolutionary hero who battled for his country’s independence.

Don Papa Sherry Casks Finish (70cl) is available exclusively at Harvey Nichols, priced £69.50.

A WHISKEY CONVERT

I'm not much of a whiskey drinker, so what am I doing reviewing a new Highland Single Malt Scotch Whiskey, when terms like 'single malt' and 'scotch' are lost on me? Similar to when I was younger and tried my first olive, within a few minutes I wanted another, and another until the tub was full of sucked dry pips. I'm hoping I'll look back on this moment and say it was the AnCnoc limited edition whiskey that turned me into a sophisticated whiskey drinking gent. 

I took the above photos at about 8pm on a weekday night when I had nothing planned and could sit down on the sofa to enjoy the whiskey at my leisure. All I needed was a rustic log fire and things would have been prefect. I tried the anCnoc whiskey with a splash of water and two ice cubes and during my first anticipated sip I was met with a serious number of flavours I have never come across when drinking whiskey. For my palette it was hard to pick what the flavours were, but it was sweet yet bitter and fruity - bloody nice I might add.

When buying alcohol, yes it is about taste of the product, personal taste but also some customers (myself included) look at the design of the bottle. Does it stand out from the others? What can I do with that bottle after I have drunk it all? So it doesn't surprise me that anCnoc have collaborated with fashion designer Patrick Grant who is the creative director of Savile Row tailors Norton & Sons and a judge on BBC2 show The Great Sewing Bee. Blas, translated as 'taste' in Gaelic, is presented in a specifically designed bottle by Edinburgh-born Patrick Grant. Patrick spent over a year designing the bespoke print, which is inspired by the brand, flavour notes of the limited edition liquid, and the time-honoured production methods used at the Knockdhu distillery.

ABOUT THIS WHISKEY (BY THE EXPERTS)

In appearance, Blas is golden and honeyed. On the nose it is densely sweet and fruity with notes of lemon and candied orange peel. Tone of bitter chocolate and vanilla add complexity and weight. To taste, Blas is full bodied and oily, leaving a lasting impression. This limited edition has been matured in American oak barrels and Spanish oak butts. Chosen at its optimum level of maturation by their blender, Mark Williamson, it has been bottled at 54% and in its most natural state, neither chill filtered nor coloured.

I spent a lot of time at Knockdhu not only taking in the landscape and surrounding areas, but getting to know the people that work there and the methods that they use. Everything in the print is from the hill, the village of Knock or within the distillery itself and tells the story of the making of Blas. I’ve tried to interpret anCnoc’s history and tradition in a modern way, and hope this is translated through the aestetic of the bottle.
— Patrick Grant

The Patrick Grant Limited Edition, Blas, retails at £50 for 70cl and is available from independents and specialist retailers throughout the UK.