Wednesday, December 11, 2013

230 Year Old Barbados Rum to be Auctioned


     There is an article in "The Spirit Business" about a group of old rums that were found in the Harewood House recently that are going to be Auctioned by Christie's in London.

Rum from the 18th century to auction

10th December, 2013 by Amy Hopkins

A selection of the oldest rum ever to be auctioned will go under the hammer at auction house Christie’s tomorrow. 

The selection of 12 rums from the 17th century is expected to raise around £12,000
     The collection of 12 bottles of light and dark rum dating back to the 1780s was recently rediscovered in the cellar of Leeds stately home Harewood House.
   David Elswood, international director of Christie’s wine in Europe and Asia, said: “Christie’s is delighted to be offering this rare and unique 1780 rum from Harewood House – the oldest we have ever seen and at 230 years of age, just 14 years younger than Christie’s wine auctions which commenced in 1766.”
     All expressions were distilled in Barbados, shipped in barrels to the UK, and bottled at Harewood House. The rum is offered in original mould-blown bottles and replacement tapered corks and re-waxed capsules.
     These old Barbados Rums would be a treasure to own, although , I am really curious about who produced them in the first place.  
     Christie's says the first record of the rum that is being auctioned is contained in a Harewood House cellar-book entry dated July 1805. It lists "226 bottles, dark and light 1780." They were subsequently stored in two bins – "Bin 9 for the dark, Bin 12 for the light."
     After doing some further research, I discovered that the Harewood House located in the city of Leeds was the seat of the Earl and Countess of Harewood.   This house was built with profits earned by the production of sugar, cotton, tobacco and rum from the plantations owned by the Lascelles family in the West Indies.   From the information that I have been able to glean, it was what is now in the area of the Foursquare Distillery and Heritage Park.   Today the Foursquare Distillery is operated by the Richard L. Seale Family and the land seems to have been a part of the Lascelles Plantations during that period.
     These rums were hidden away on a high shelf in the cellar and forgotten.  By the 20th century, rum had gone out of style and they were pushed away and forgotten until their discovery as part of an inventory of the Harewood House Cellar in 2011.   I just wish that I could be there to see the auction an enjoy the history of this incredible find.  ;o)