Fall finally breezed into town this past month bringing cooler weather with it. As such, I’ve traded my gin and tonic for an enticing array of brown spirits, including Scotch whisky, aged Rum, and good liqueur. For as long as I can remember, I’ve sipped most of these neat or with a cube at most, and this year will be no different. Why pollute a good thing, right?
With Thanksgiving and the holidays upon us, I think it’s time to break out the good stuff for myself and my closest friends and family. Here are a few extremely rare and expensive spirits made for holiday celebration, or anytime one wants to feel like a royal.
At a tasting of wines and spirits held in New York City, I found two spirits brimming with complexity and flavor, perfect gift for the enthusiast and collector for whom money is no object. The first, a delicious Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky “Limited Release” from Bunnahabhain. Distilled in 1988, this cask-strength whisky was bottled at 30 years-old after spending its final 6 months in Marsala casks. Rich with notes of oak, nuts, honey, chocolate and caramel, this whisky delivers on all fronts, and finishes with a smoothness that only comes with extended aging. Only 1,116 bottles were produced. $1,500.00
At the same tasting, I also came upon one of the most unique rums in the world, and one of the best I’ve ever tried. Made at the Pilsa Rums Facility in Panama, the Don Pancho Origenes Reserva Francisco José 38 year-old is truly a rum for the ages. Only one barrel of this singular rum was bottled after sitting in the Don Pancho’s office at the Pilsa warehouse, forgotten, for almost 4 decades. Drinking more like a fine cognac than a sweet and caramelly rum, the Reserva Francisco José is austere, rich, and filled with flavors of spice and citrus. A rare rum, indeed, with only 148 bottles produced and a price tag of $6,000.00.
No less stellar, but certainly more affordable, is Grand Marnier’s Cuvée du Centenaire Liqueur, a next level bottling of the famed blend of V.S.O.P Cognac and Orange Liqueur that has wowed enthusiasts since it was first produced in 1827. A Perfumed, floral, enticing sip filled with notes of candied orange and hints of Earl Grey Tea, the ultra luxurious Cuvée du Centenaire, is meant for sipping neat or with a single cube of ice. $179.99.