Anyone for a $1250 nip? Trinidad's Angostura distillery - yes, the same Angostura that started making its iconic aromatic bitters in Venezuela in 1824 - has released 20 bottles of Legacy rum to mark the 50th anniversary of the island nation's independence.
One bottle will go on sale in Australia from June 29 to July 13 via online auction house Langton's. It is expected to fetch $25,000, making it the world's most expensive commercially released rum.
That's for 500ml of rum in an Asprey of London red calf leather presentation case with hand-blown lead-free crystal decanter, engraved silver collar and stopper with sterling silver finial carved in the shape of languid sugar-cane fronds topped with a silver butterfly copied from a photograph in a museum in Trinidad.
And the rum? It's 40 per cent alcohol and at least seven of the brand's best have made the final blend; the youngest about 15 years old.
"Angostura is very cautious about the whole question of ageing," master distiller John Georges says.
"The youngest is 15 years old, that's it."
Mr Georges, an engineer, joined the company 30 years ago as a factory manager and will be in Perth for a VIP tasting night next month.
"We set out to create the greatest sipping rum ever produced and we believe we have achieved something that is both unique and unequalled," he says.
"There was no set recipe when we started this process. We have experimented with a number of rums that had the characteristics we felt deserved to be prominent.
"Certainly during the time I've been here several million barrels of rum have gone through and some have had what one would call X factor - these are the ones we preserved for a really limited edition rum like this."
He describes Legacy as having a medium to heavy body, with natural fruity aromas that have mellowed with time; some tobacco, hints of chocolate and vanilla, a little dryness and tannin from the cask.
It's been chill filtered and aged in once-used 200-litre American white oak bourbon casks.
"Everything about it; the tone, the note - you just feel the harmony," he says.
"It would be nearly impossible to replicate because the unique taste is derived from the distillery, Angostura's rum-making process and being aged in specific barrels in Trinidad's climate."
A $194 sample sip (a mere dessertspoon) was like a fleeting first kiss; whisper soft and uplifting. It almost evaporated in the mouth. The aroma was tantalisingly warm and seductive, with more than a hint of vanilla from the oak.
Angostura will auction a bottle in Trinidad on August 4 as part of its anniversary celebrations, with proceeds going to charity.
It produces a range of rums, including two premium brands - 1919 ($64.99) and 1824 ($98.99).
"To people who say they don't like rum, I start by asking 'Which rum have you drunk in the past?'
"If they say Bacardi, I just tell them there are many different varieties of rum and that they should try more than one before they decide.
"I always recommend a quality aged product to be their next rum experience."If they do that, they usually come back a convert. Premium rums are very satisfying but I have found women are far more difficult to convert than men, though the growth of rums and the cocktail industry seems to be addressing this."