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.

Rum Cocktail Recipes | Top 3 Rum Cocktails Ever Made

Don Papa Rum Cocktails Landscape.jpg

You hear the word RUM and what springs to mind? For me Rum is synonymous with capricious summer days spent on the common, where all the best laid plans go to waste simply because the sun decided to shine. 

Nowadays I've tempered the urge to down tools and lose a day simply because it's got above 25 degrees for the first time in 6 months. However, the appreciation for a decent rum cocktail has not diminished. 

As many of you know I've been working alongside Don Papa this last month, exploring their distilleries and sugar mills in Mount Kanlaon, where sugarcane thrives on its lush, fertile foothills. It's reacquainted my love affair for rum and given me license to exercise my creative mixology skills and here are my top 3 Don Papa Rum Cocktails.


Don Papa Rum Cocktail - The Negrense Sour - Landscape.jpg

This cocktail paints a vivid portrait of Sugarlandia. Charged with agave syrup and lime, it’s straight from a place that believes in revolutionary ideals. Take a sip and enjoy the smooth flavour of a nation’s pride.


• 4 parts Don Papa Rum
• 2 parts fresh lime juice
• 1 part agave syrup (or brown sugar syrup)
• 1 egg white


In a shaker pour in the Don Papa Rum and add in agave syrup instead of sugar. Squeeze in the juice of half a lime and add the egg white. Shake vigorously so that you create a light foam. Now add some ice and shake again. Serve in a whiskey glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lime peel and finish with 3 drops of bitters on the foam.


Don Papa Rum Cocktail - The Papa Negroni - Landscape.jpg

This Don Papa twist on the classic cocktail will inspire and liberate your senses through its balanced taste of bitter and sweet, much like the life of the legend himself.


• 4 parts Don Papa Rum
• 2 parts white vermouth
• 3 parts Apérol


In a mixing glass filled with ice, add the bitter Apérol, white vermouth and Don Papa Rum. Stir gently. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a grapefruit wedge.


Don Papa Rum Cocktail - The Darker Don - Landscape.jpg

We celebrate the Don’s burning passion for independence. Experience the resilient spirit of Don Papa with this refreshing cocktail. Taste the wild lime juice which twists the palette, causing an explosion of sweet yet sour flavour.


• 4 parts Don Papa Rum
• 1 part fresh lime juice
• Ginger beer • Mint


In a highball glass filled with ice, squeeze the juice of half a lime. Charge with Don Papa Rum and top with a spicy ginger beer. Stir with a cocktail spoon and add a mint leaf sprig to garnish.


Don Papa 7

The original Don Papa Rum. Light and fruity on the nose, smooth and delicate on the mouth, with a long textured finish. Don Papa has a light amber colour and offers flavours of vanilla, honey and candied fruits.

Don Papa 10

The first Limited Edition from Don Papa. Deep, rich and powerful on the nose, with a delightful tingle on the mouth. Don Papa 10-year- old has a dark amber colour andoffers flavours of dried fruits, cacao and just a hint of oak.

Don Papa Rare Cask

This new limited edition small batch rum has been aged in specifically selected and over toasted casks. Rich and fruity on the nose, with a hint of spice on the mouth, Don Papa Rare Cask has a dark amber colour and offers flavours of rich fruitcake, cacao and oak, as well as hints of wild mint on its beautifully long finish.

To enhance its distinctive taste, the cellar master decided to keep the rum unfiltered and unblended, bottling at high strength (50.5% ABV). This rare and unique rum is presented in numbered bottles and in a beautiful wooden presenter box. Only 6,000 bottles were produced. 



The Philippines: Home of Don Papa Rum & The Land of Smiles

The Philippines is a fascinating country of contrasts; of tranquil countryside and noisy urban sprawl; of vertiginous mountains and golden beaches; grinding poverty and ostentatious wealth. Many of the rural farmers carry on as though the last couple of hundred years never happened, while just up the road are humming mega-cities that appear transported from the future. It’s not a place for doing things by half.

I was lucky enough to spend the very best part of a week here recently at a few contrasting hotels. The first was a high rise in the relatively sleepy Bacolod City. The other, an oasis of calm in the chaos of Manilla, all thanks to Don Papa rum who invited a selection of the UK's top press and bloggers to experience this beautiful country where they make their famous rum. 

Don Papa Rum is a genuine Philippine premium rum, inspired by the island’s legendary revolutionary leader, Papa Isio and the dream-like landscape, Don Papa was launched in 2012 and now present in over 20 countries including France, Germany, Spain, UK, United States of America, South Africa, Belgium, Italy, and Japan.

The Seda Capitol Central hotel is smack bang in the middle of the ‘City of Smiles’ – Bacolod which is the capital of Negros island aka Sugerlandia, where Don Papa grows, harvests and processes the raw material sugar cane which produces the molasses for their rum. Efficiently, a short drive away is the Bago Distillery where the molasses is fermented, distilled, aged and turned into the finished product ready to be shipped and bottled.

The Philippines is the 3rd largest rum market worldwide with annual volumes of c. 15 Million cases, although most of this is for domestic consumption.
Starting from a small base, exports are increasing rapidly with annual growth of + 30% vs LY.
— Stephen Carroll, Don Papa's Founder

The first of these smiles was waiting for us at the airport, where our super friendly driver, Bayani, greeted us. It’s often said of a country that its greatest natural resource is its people. This isn’t always true, but it definitely is with the Philippines. The genuine friendliness and willingness to go out of their way to help were a constant throughout our stay.

Once at the hotel we were ready for a siesta, so after a long trip it was a relief to find that it errs on the side of luxurious. The entire hotel is very tastefully furnished – light and airy, rather than cosy, which of course is the last thing you need here! There’s good wifi throughout, much-needed air conditioning and an excellent, also much-needed, pool. The bed was one of those King-size+ jobs; you almost needed Satnav to find your way out. 

The brand new building overlooks the Provincial Capitol Lagoon, the Negros museum and the capitol building itself. Of course, being so central, it’s walking distance to everything, including Pala Pala seafood market, barely five minutes away and another five to the spectacular San Sebastian Church. As usual, when this close to the equator I divided my time between sightseeing outside and ducking into shops or popping back to the hotel for a little air-conditioned relief. It was great having such a central base that allowed us to do this. 

Before heading to the airport we had to fully immerse ourselves in the Filippino lifestyle, which for us Brits is a visit to a secluded island staying in traditional beach huts and we found this paradise in Lakawon. Finally we left time to visit the beautiful Ledesma ruins in neighbouring Talisay City. This was a little different to the English ruins I’ve become accustomed to. While those date back to medieval or even Roman times, Ledesma was built only last century. Despite the condensed history it’s well worth a visit, especially if you can arrange one around sunset. It made for a beautiful, romantic end to our visit to the city of smiles.

Flights from the UK: I flew with Philippine Airlines where you can experience service from the heart onboard the Philippines' only 4-star airline. Flying non-stop daily between London Heathrow and Manila, Philippine Airlines has full-flat beds in Business, with Economy Class also equipped with personal TVs, USB ports and onboard wi-fi. Enjoy in-flight dining with a vibrant mix of Asian, Spanish and American cuisine offering a mosaic of flavours that are all passionately prepared.

Here are the lead-in fares: 
LHR-MNL from GBP 579
LHR-BCD from GBP 670
Business (promo):
LHR-MNL from GBP 2989
LHR-BCD from GBP 3079

salamat sa pagkakaroon mo sa amin (thank you for having us).

Next stop, Manila…

National Rum Day: 5 Best Rum Cocktails and Bars

It's National Rum Day today, and it's the perfect excuse to indulge in a Dark ’n’ Stormy, Piña Colada or to shake things up with a rum punch.

The spirit, which is made from sugar cane juice or produced as a byproduct of molasses, is enjoying a surge in popularity globally. While often associated with the Caribbean and its pirates, rum actually originated in Papua New Guinea, making its way to the Caribbean later. Did you know that the Philippines was the second largest producer of rum globally? We didn’t either.

To celebrate, we’re giving you 5 of our favourite rum cocktails from our 5 favourite rum brands (some of which are new to the game) and 5 of the best rum bars in London. So, in no particular order:

5 delicious rum cocktails to try on National Rum Day

Don Papa Rum

Don Papa Rum, AKA 'The Don', is a small batch premium Rum. It's distilled, aged and blended in the foothills of Mount Kanlaon, on the Island of Negros Occidental in the Philippines. This light amber coloured Rum has light, fruity aromas and a very smooth, rich flavour. It tastes of vanilla, honey and candied fruits. The bottle is also a work of art.

Darker Don – the Don’s homage to one of the classics.

4 parts Don Papa Rum
1 part fresh lime juice
Ginger beer
Mix over ice into a highball glass
Garnish – fresh bunch of mint

Don Papa Rum is available in Majestic stores nationwide and online at RRP: £31.75 (70cl) ABV: 40%


Aluna Coconut Rum

A new player in the spirits world, Aluna is a high altitude rum from Guatemala made with virgin sugar cane honey ('miel de caña') which results in a lighter, smoother and naturally sweeter rum with significantly less sugar than competitor brands. This is married with selected Caribbean rums for a little heat and structure.

Aluna Colada - a lighter non-frozen alternative to the classic Piña Colada. 

1 part Aluna Coconut
3 parts pineapple juice
Freshly squeezed lime juice
Shaken with cubed ice and strained into a tall glass
Garnish - wedge of pineapple or coconut and pineapple leaves

Aluna Coconut is available in Harvey Nichols stores nationwide and online at RRP: £24.95 (70cl) ABV: 35%


The Duppy Share

The Duppy Share is a blend of a 3-year-old Jamaican rum from the Worthy Park distillery and a 5-year-old Barbados rum from the Foursquare distillery. The Jamaican rum provides a big, bold and punchy flavour that is great at cutting through strong flavours such as lime and ginger. It’s smooth, soft and rounded.

The Duppy House Punch (serves 15) - the official rum punch at this year’s Notting HiIl Carnival.

700ml The Duppy Share
1.5L Old Jamaica Ginger Beer
1L Cawston Press Cloudy Apple Juice
Fresh Limes
Angostura Bitters

Mix the Rum, Apple and Ginger in a punch bowl, add in fresh limes with a squeeze and serve over plenty of ice. Add a dash of Angostura Bitters to finish.

Duppy Share is available in Sainsbury’s stores nationwide and online at RRP: £26.00 (70cl) ABV: 40%



FAIR Rum is produced using only Fair Trade Certified sugar cane from Belize, grown using organic and sustainable farming methods. It is then aged in American oak barrels, before being shipped to Cognac to be bottled. The rum is aromatic with spicy notes and a long finish.

The FAIR Mai Tai - the tropical and fruity original

3/4 oz FAIR
1 1/2 oz white rum
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz orange curacao
1/2 oz Orgeat syrup
Shake all the ingredients and pour into a rocks glass over crushed ice
Garnish – fresh berries and a sprig of mint

FAIR is available from The Whiskey Exchange at RRP: £35.25 (70cl) ABV: 35%


El Dorado 12 Year Old

El Dorado 12 Year Old Demerara Rum is a blend of three stills – two columns (including the world’s only wooden Coffey still) and a unique double wooden pot still. Rich amber in colour. A super attractive nose packed with aromas of sugar, honey, banana, toffee, raisin and sultanas.  Ripe, rich and balanced flavours attend with sweetness, after which the finish is delightful, elegant and dry.

El Dorado Old Fashioned a classic.

60ml El Dorado 12 Year Old
1 teaspoon of Demerara sugar
2 dashes of The Bitter Truth Old Time Aromatic Bitters
Stir sugar and bitters into a tumbler or rocks glass and then add cubed ice, followed by the El Dorado 12 Year Old and stir until the sugar has dissolved
Garnish - a twist of orange zest and a few grates of nutmeg

El Dorado 12 Year Old is available in Marks and Spencer stores nationwide and online at RRP: £36.00 (70cl) ABV 40%



The Artesian

Artesian, at The Langham hotel, was crowned the winner of The World’s 50 Best Bars awards in 2016 for the fourth year in a row. Their dedication to rum is clear from a 50-strong list. Their new cocktail menu, based on the theme of ‘Perception’ features the earthy yet refreshing ‘Mind Your Step’, a rich and fruity mix of Ron Zacapa 23 Rum, Heron aged Pisco, tropical sour sop & orange blossom served in a broken glass, something you would not expect to find amidst the casual opulence of The Langham, garnished with edible shards. Sounds magnificent. 

1C Portland Place London, W1B 1JA; Artesian


Merchant House

Set within the winding lanes of London’s Bow Street, Merchant House has one of London’s most comprehensive premium rum collections, with over 350 different types of rum and gin on the menu. One of the most popular serves is their take on the Rum Old Fashioned and as this classic takes a few minutes to stir down, they offer a complimentary beer while you wait. Nice.

13 Well Court, The City, London EC4M 9DN; Merchant House


Cottons Rhum Shack

Their Notting Hill restaurant plays homage to all things Caribbean with its bright and colourful theme spreading through to its vibrant cocktails and is the current Guinnesss World Records Award winner with 372 different types of rums! Cottons Rhum Shack, in Camden, Notting Hill, Shoreditch and Vauxhall opening soon, serves up some of the capital’s most spectacular rum cocktails. Two of their most popular serves are the Killer Doppi and Cottons Rum Punch.

57-159 Notting Hill Gate, London W11 3LF; Cottons Rhum Shack 


Trailer Happiness

Head down to this hidden tiki basement bar on Portobello Road — it's like walking into a 70s living room, with wood panel walls, patterned rugs and shabby curtains. Wear your flares. They’re back in season. The rum-heavy cocktail list is outrageous and flamboyantly tiki with lots of umbrellas and drinks served in coconuts. Their Old Fashioned is a knockout!

177 Portobello Rd. London W11 2DY; Trailer Happiness


Trader Vic’s

Victor J. Bergeron, otherwise known as Trader Vic, is said to have created the first ever Mai Tai cocktail at this bar back in 1944, so it’s the perfect place to stop for a drink on National Rum Day. You can still order the original Mai Tai on its menu today, but if you don't fancy that there are still plenty of rum punches, grogs and modern cocktails on the list. A truly original rum destination.

22 Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 1BE; Trader Vic's