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A Rum matter.

Summary: To get the lowdown on the rums one must buy while travelling, Sourish Bhattacharyya went to

TaxFreeTravel.com.

Rum Figures nowhere on an itinerant shopper's must-buy list and this upsets me no end. Most of us seem to believe that rum is the tipple of the underclass, so we go to extreme lengths to secure a bottle of The Macallan or a Louis Roderer Cristal, but if we invest that effort into the hunt for the right rum, we could land with a Pyrat XO Reserve from the British Caribbean island of Anguilla or Guatemala's Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 Year Old. Or, if lucky, we may even locate a rare bottle of Pusser's Navy Rum Trafalgar Bicentenary--just 32,000 bottles of this luxury rum have been produced, and you'd want to own it for the bottle alone, which commemorates Lord Nelson's naval victory.

To get the lowdown on the rums one must buy while travelling, I went to TaxFreeTravel.com, where Joel Bates, the website's rum expert, has some great suggestions. Of course, there's no better place to buy rum than the Caribbean. In Jamaica, the Appleton VX is a good starting point, but the best is the 21 Year Old, which is had on the rocks to savour the flavour of coffee and spices. But Appleton's maker, Wray & Nephew, also makes the popular White Overproof rum, which packs horse power into its kick--let the locals handle it! Look out for the Rum, Roast and Royals stores for their tempting stocks, but if you aren't flying to Jamaica, you may lay your hands on a prized catch in Miami.

Rum aficionados leave Bacardi for overgrown teens and, as Bates suggests, go for the "excellent" Rhum Barbancourt made in Haiti, as well as El Dorado 15 Year Old (from Guyana) and Mount Gay Extra Old (from Barbados). Away from the Caribbean, the first choice of the rum expert is Pyrat Cask 23, a blend of Caribbean rums aged up to 40 years from the makers of Patron tequila.

Some time back, Le Clos wine and spirit shops at Dubai's Terminal 3 was selling the Havana Club Maximo priced at US$ 1,806 for a 700 ml bottle. It may not be your idea of a celebration, but the much cheaper Havana Club 7 Year Old is just what you'd like in your mojito. And which is the most widely drunk rum in that part of the world? Bates says it's Brugal, a product of the Dominican Republic. And the next time you're in Spain, look for Brugal A-ejo Reserva or the Extra Viejo Reserva, which you'd find in most liquor stores. That's a lot of rum to be drunk in one lifetime!

The spirit of 1824 The Macallan's 1824 Collection has been getting rave reviews ever since it was launched in 2009 to commemorate the year when the 'Rolls Royce of whiskies' was first bottled at its Speyside distillery. This quartet of whiskies, which are sweeter (and richer) than a lot of single malts is all set to arrive in a fancier avatar in duty-free outlets. Macallan's makers have announced a limited edition of 1824 bottles in hand-blown crystal decanters for travel retail, and there's a great sense of anticipation. The Moodie Report says that the single malt whisky, that has been bottled at 49.5% alcohol by volume, has "hints of sultana, raisin and chocolate orange". It has been aged in hand-crafted Oloroso sherry casks. Wonder what it'll be priced at! Tip of the month If transiting through Singapore, be careful about the booze you buy from IGIA. Changi Airport rules lay down clearly that passengers will be allowed to bring "liquid, aerosol and gel items in containers larger than 100ml on board if these are placed in sealed tamper-evident bags with the receipt clearly displayed in the sealed bag." This leaves you with two options: buy booze and get it packed as laid down by the law, or pick it up on board your flight. Frequent travellers are doing the second as they can't be bothered to keep track of the ever-changing rules. Churchill's favourite Hankey Bannister was apparently the favourite of Winston Churchill and Evelyn Waugh. The name tickled my interest when I surfed the Qatar Duty Free website and discovered that you'll get a litre of Hankey Bannister free if you buy two bottles. Flitting from one website to another, I found out that the blended Scotch whisky owes its name to its two founders who established their company in 1757, and it has won loads of awards, its 40 Year Old being the best. I doubt whether you'll get a deal on the 40 Year Old, but it may be worth checking out. AU$ 2,200 OR Rs. 118,809, is the price at which a magnum of Penfolds Bin 620 Coonawarra Cabernet Shiraz 2008, Australia's most expensive wine, at the Sydney Duty Free. A Bin 620 is rare--this one was released last Nov, 45 years after it was last launched in 1966. A wine must be spectacular to qualify for a Bin 620 label.

Sourish Bhattacharyya is the Executive Editor of Mail Today and writes on food and drink. Mail your questions for him to editortravelplus@intoday.com

Reproduced From India Today Travel Plus. Copyright June 2012. LMIL. All rights reserved.

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Publication:India Today Travel Plus
Date:Jun 1, 2012
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