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Tiki Central Forums » » Tiki Drinks and Food » » Should I drink this antique rum?
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Should I drink this antique rum?
harro
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Joined: Sep 05, 2005
Posts: 681
From: Australia / Argentina
Posted: 2010-05-31 11:02 am   Permalink

Picked up these vintage miniatures from the market here in London yesterday...



The guy at the market seemed to know his stuff as he showed me a lot of old rum bottles (all full and apparently unopened), some dating back to 1750 supposedly. Of course these came with a hefty price tag to match. I skipped the expensive stuff but haggled for some miniatures - he said this rum mini dated back to around 1880/1890 and is in good unopened condition therefore could be enjoyed if desired. I'm ever the skeptic though...




By the way it had a price tag of $40, but I paid £5 for it and £5 for the 3 minis of pastis - so £10 all up - bargain i say, as i have been trying to avoid paying £20 for a whole bottle of Pernod just for the few drops that some cocktails require. They were from the 1950's or 60's - i assume these will be ok for cocktails but i will give them a taste test first.

My question is, since they've been patiently saved and unopened for so long, is it wrong for me to just want to open the rum and try what the sailors and pirates were drinking back in the day?? Or should i admire the age and antique itself and try to make it last another 100 years or so?!

Or is this really just a few decades old?


 
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harro
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Joined: Sep 05, 2005
Posts: 681
From: Australia / Argentina
Posted: 2010-05-31 11:05 am   Permalink

a quick google searching finds this similar label:



 
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Doctor Z
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Joined: Aug 01, 2002
Posts: 1608
From: The Hale Moana Lounge, Torrance, CA
Posted: 2010-05-31 12:20 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-05-31 11:02, harro wrote:
Picked up these vintage miniatures from the market here in London yesterday...



The guy at the market seemed to know his stuff as he showed me a lot of old rum bottles (all full and apparently unopened), some dating back to 1750 supposedly. Of course these came with a hefty price tag to match. I skipped the expensive stuff but haggled for some miniatures - he said this rum mini dated back to around 1880/1890 and is in good unopened condition therefore could be enjoyed if desired. I'm ever the skeptic though...




By the way it had a price tag of $40, but I paid £5 for it and £5 for the 3 minis of pastis - so £10 all up - bargain i say, as i have been trying to avoid paying £20 for a whole bottle of Pernod just for the few drops that some cocktails require. They were from the 1950's or 60's - i assume these will be ok for cocktails but i will give them a taste test first.

My question is, since they've been patiently saved and unopened for so long, is it wrong for me to just want to open the rum and try what the sailors and pirates were drinking back in the day?? Or should i admire the age and antique itself and try to make it last another 100 years or so?!

Or is this really just a few decades old?



I've been collecting minis for a couple of years now and even though I'm no expert on them by any means (more of just a collector than aficionado), the first thing I'd say is "NO!" don't even think of opening and drinking them, especially the twist-off caps. Anything that hasn't been sealed with wax is certain to have spoiled by now, even if they are only a few decades old, as the twist-offs are. It's entirely common to find minis still completely sealed, but also completely empty, as they're not made for the 'long haul', and the contents easily evaporate through the lower quality seals over time, even if they are cork. In the US, all minis are required to have a tax stamp which makes them much easier to date; European bottles are much more difficult, so it's hard to tell the age of the rum bottle, but it's certainly not from the 1800's. Keep checking online: John Sullivan at 'minivodkaguy.com' has one of your bottles
here - bottom row. I've purchased bottles from him in the past - maybe he'll have some answers for you. My 2 cents: just appreciate the bottles for what they are & how they look and avoid opening them for any reason.
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Chip and Andy
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Joined: Jul 13, 2004
Posts: 2125
From: Corner table, Molokai Lounge, Mai-Kai.
Posted: 2010-05-31 12:35 pm   Permalink

I agree with the good Doctor Z..... probably best not to open them.

The Rum looks OK, but the top and seal don't look so good. The bottle is surprisingly full for it be as old as claimed. I have a couple of older/antique bottles, still corked, that are half empty (the loss is called the Angels Share) and they are only 30 or so years old.

If you gotta try them, then do so very carefully. When opened if they smell even slightly off I would pass. Good Old Montazuma and that revenge he is always working could seem like a day at the park by comparison.


 
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harro
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Joined: Sep 05, 2005
Posts: 681
From: Australia / Argentina
Posted: 2010-05-31 3:31 pm   Permalink

thanks for the feedback Chip and Dr Z - i'll be leaving them unopened for now... (just got to curb that temptation!!)

Despite their age there seems to be very little evaporation as they all seem quite full. although the pic above looks a bit off, its only the foil cover over the seal of the rum that has aged and is a bit rusted. Its covering the cork which, from what I can see, (and what the guy told me) is in great condition and is well sealed. The rum looks good with no sediment and nice dark brown caremel color.

The guy who sold it said he has been collecting these for over 10 years (?) said they could be drunk, but always be wary of a salesman i say!


 
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Sparkle Mark
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Joined: Jul 05, 2004
Posts: 301
From: Porter Ranch, CA
Posted: 2010-05-31 6:02 pm   Permalink

You should send that rum over to me and I will "test" it for you, the other stuff has lots of sugar in it and I could see it spoiling.

I'm not sure what there is to spoil in Rum except the flavor and a little evaporation can actually help that out.
I am not a collecty collector when it comes to full bottles of rum, I say open it, sniff the cork to see if it's rotty. give it a tiny taste to see if it makes you projectile vomit and if it passes all of these tests then you should make yourself a really nice cocktail that features some Demerara rum.

OR just be manly and enjoy yourself some nice oooold rum neat.

Nice find!

[ This Message was edited by: Sparkle Mark 2010-05-31 18:04 ]


 
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Mr. NoNaMe
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Joined: May 10, 2006
Posts: 1907
Posted: 2010-05-31 6:11 pm   Permalink

I'd sooner pay £15 for Bacardi if i am going to drink something inferior.
I would hermetically seal those bottles. Shrink wrap, Cling Wrap, wax.
Better yet, set them in an acrylic case, buy a vacuum sealing kit, put the case in the vacuum bag and Hoover it.

In some of Grandpa's bottles I have, that are sealed, I can see " floaters".
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twitch
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: May 12, 2006
Posts: 423
From: Vacant lot where T. Vic's, Van. was
Posted: 2010-05-31 8:03 pm   Permalink

I'll stake a claim in the 'don't do it!' camp.
A few months back my parents gave me their supply of booze from the '60's +. And while yes, they were previously opened, I tried all of them & they were all unpleasant. (May be my cast-iron stomache that I didn't get sick. I recently made a drink with some Alize that tasted off & looked closer at the bottle where it said "keep refrigerated", & here I had it out on the shelf for three years )
I'd say that after opening, they may do a Dorian Gray and just deteriorate rapidly anyway. Keep it safe & keep it capped!

[ This Message was edited by: twitch 2010-05-31 20:04 ]


 
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aquarj
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Apr 02, 2002
Posts: 1057
From: SF bay area, CA
Posted: 2010-06-03 1:48 pm   Permalink

I'd say it just depends on what attracts you to owning it. If you're interested in drinking old rum, then there's a chance that this could be an incredible taste experience. My guess would be that there's very little downside in trying it, if you're so inclined. Even if it has "gone bad," probably the worst downside to trying it would be the disappointment that it has gone flat or tastes unpleasant. Especially given the proof and the fact that it's rum and not a liqueur with other ingredients.

You might be interested to read
martiki's report on an impressive attempt to re-create an original 1934 Zombie with original ingredients - most particularly original rums. Martin and the bum met up with uber-collector Stephen Remsberg, and they were in fact consuming Remsberg's very old minis for their experiment.

You might also enjoy Beachbum Berry's report on an intrepid tasting exploration of the Mai Kai's top shelf old rums.

BUT, if you like the idea of an old unopened mini to look at, and the taste turns out to be disappointing, then there's probably no reason to open it. Because in this case the downside would be that you have to break the seal, and thus the appearance, to get to the contents.

So, I'd say that it's really a question of what interests you more - trying it, or preserving it.

One more borderline related link. From the Ministry of Rum, this is Ed Hamilton's post about what happens to fine rum after you open it. It's certainly informative, and a bit alarming for those of us that have a few good rums sitting around. I can't get too worked up about it myself though, as I suspect my palate isn't sophisticated enough to notice the detrimental effects of exposure to air after opening.

-Randy


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Sparkle Mark
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Joined: Jul 05, 2004
Posts: 301
From: Porter Ranch, CA
Posted: 2010-06-03 4:51 pm   Permalink

Well said Randy!

That label is pretty scuffed up.... DRINK IT!


 
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Swanky
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 4965
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2010-06-04 09:15 am   Permalink

Drink it!

I have collected old liquors both large and mini bottle for years and drink them all! Easily the best stuff I ever had was 30-40+ years old. Vintage okolehau, rum, etc. There is nothing wrong with that stuff. Ask any old liquor collector. Otherwies, a lot of us would be dead. I mean, you get that bottle of Wray and Nephew 17 YO and you want to make a REAL Mai Tai, do it! And call me over too!

I can say, do not try plastic minis. They taste like crap. And, you will be trying a sip first. A few drops will tell you how it is. Delicious or ruined. Will not hurt you.

And ask the Bum about trying all of MArriano Licudino's old rums at the Mai Kai, or Traitor Vic about hsi vintage bottle of Cuban Bacardi, or, or... You get the idea.
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harro
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Joined: Sep 05, 2005
Posts: 681
From: Australia / Argentina
Posted: 2010-06-04 2:46 pm   Permalink

haha, great to see the debate raging!! The temptation is rising within me again!! But I think I will hold out for a special occasion. It's probably one of the pastis' that i'll open first, just to see what they're like.

Randy all those links you provided were good reading... cheers.

Dr Z - I asked the minivodka guy and he had this to say:


"You made a great find. As to the date of the bottle, it is hard to say. It is definitely pre 1920 but I couldn't say for sure how much earlier than that. But it could be from from around the turn of the century. I haven;t seen too many small bottles from the 1880's with such colorful and precision labels. It seems that the distillers did not waster much time on the beauty of their labels back then. They were mostly giving away crock jugs for samples at that time.

With regard to drinking the rum inside, I think it would be risky. There has been very little loss of content due to evaporation which means the cork and lead seal have done a good job. You could certainly try a sip and see what happens. I don;t think a sip could hurt. If there the rum tastes good and there are no ill effects after a couple of hours, then go ahead and finish it off. Since there has been a little evaporation that means that there has been some air getting into the bottle. That could mean that there could also be some bacteria but if that were to be the case, the alcohol would probably kill it. There did not seem to be any sediment in the bottom. So a sip certainly shouldn;t hurt:)

Cheers!"



 
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swizzle
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Joined: Jun 03, 2007
Posts: 771
From: Melbourne,Australia
Posted: 2010-06-04 5:28 pm   Permalink

Last night after reading the Ed Hamilton post mentioned by aquarj, I tried a couple of rums I've had on the shelf for well over 12 months and I "believe" that they did taste different to when I first bought them.
Ed quotes, "Oxidation is manifest in a diminishing of the body of a spirit like turning down the volume on the spirit body and finish". I have to say that, that seemed correct. Whilst the rums certainly didn't taste bad, or off, they definitely seemed to lack that strong character that I remember and enjoyed them for.

Now that we're on this topic, does anyone know about this rum and how old it might be? Besides what you can read in english everything else is in german. Just above the gold and red symbol on the left it says 1880, though I cant imagine it's that old.



I found this at a market a while ago and it's just been sitting in my bar. I've never though about drinking whats left in it, as you can see by the photo there's not much, I just like it as what Randy said, an old unopened mini to look at.
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swizzle
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Joined: Jun 03, 2007
Posts: 771
From: Melbourne,Australia
Posted: 2010-06-17 03:42 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-06-04 17:28, swizzle wrote:
Last night after reading the Ed Hamilton post mentioned by aquarj, I tried a couple of rums I've had on the shelf for well over 12 months and I "believe" that they did taste different to when I first bought them.
Ed quotes, "Oxidation is manifest in a diminishing of the body of a spirit like turning down the volume on the spirit body and finish". I have to say that, that seemed correct. Whilst the rums certainly didn't taste bad, or off, they definitely seemed to lack that strong character that I remember and enjoyed them for.



I know I might look like a bit of a tool here quoting myself, but after my last experience mentioned above, i've decided I might as well finish all the opened bottles of rum I have that have been sitting around for a while. As i'm writing this i'm sipping on some Appleton 21 y.o. which has very little left in the bottle and also has been on my shelf for a long time. This rum only became available here a couple of years ago and was/is very expensive ($175aus a bottle). When I purchased it I must say I was really not that impressed (especially at that price). I personally find that in general, most rums have an amazing aroma but that doesn't always carry through into the taste. I've also come to the conclusion that I don't like rums that have been aged for too long as I find they have too much of a woody taste to them. Ron Zacapa 23 being the exception.

The Appleton 21 was one of those rums that I felt smelt amazing on opening, but lacked the character that I enjoy in rums. Trying that same rum again now after having it sit on my shelf for at least 18 months, it's come as quite a shock to find that (I think) it has lost pretty much all of it's aroma and now, whilst still having a rummy taste to it, it is very bland, and also nothing like I remember it when I first bought it.

I'm pretty sure that as I go through all the other rums I have in my bar that have been there for a long time, they are also going to be a different rum to what they were when first opened.

I always loved the fact that I had 20+ rums sitting in my bar at any one time, but now I've realised that there is no point having that many if they are just going to sit there and look pretty. Rum is made for drinking and from now on i'm only going to buy the rums I really like and drink the bastards.

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Swanky
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 4965
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2010-06-17 08:21 am   Permalink

To further the point:

I had a good talk with The Bum at Hukilau about vintage spirits. We discussed the variety of rums that are in the Mai-Kai that have been there for decades that he tasted. The rums I have. I have an unopened Mai-Kai decanter of Don Q and he says "Open it and drink it!" as he did his. Pour it in a bottle and enjoy. Even further, if you go to Bern's steakhouse in Tampa, they have hundreds, maybe thousands of bottles of vinatge spirits. Wines, cordials, rums, brandy, you name it. Are you going to tell me they are all bad? Toss them out? The foremost experts in the world go there to sample some of the most rare alcohilic beverages available to the public....

Drink and enjoy my friends. Taste what our forefathers tasted. Though The Bum and I wonder if the flavor is truly the same or not...

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[ This Message was edited by: swanky 2010-06-21 13:29 ]


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