“This is a very fine rum,” says Georges. He’s cradling a glass of Angostura 1824 with both hands, literally rocking it back and forth as if it were his own child. “But what you are about to taste,” he begins, his face flooding with a mixture pride and contentment, “is the ultimate expression of Angostura rum.”
The rum in question is Legacy by Angostura. Produced entirely by hand on a single island in Trinidad over six years, the rum was distilled using a seven-column continuous still, chill filtered and aged in a once-used 200 litre American oak cask. The product of nearly 200 years of distilling and blending experience, Legacy is a unique and largely secret blend of Angostura’s finest and rarest rums, the youngest of which is over 17 years old.
The prestige surrounding Legacy seems to unnerve the bartender, his face contorted with anxiety as he shakily positions a crystal glass on the table. “Notice the colour,” urges Georges, lifting his tumbler towards a clearer source of light. The rum is luminous bronze; even in the dim light of a cocktail bar it shimmers with highlights of gold and polished amber. “Crystal polished dark oak,” Georges adds, peering into the glass. “This is exactly the impression rum should make,” he laughs.
Legacy makes an impression long before it hits the glass. Its stunning art deco decanter comprises of lead-free crystal, hand blown by Asprey London, jeweller to the Prince of Wales. An intricate sterling silver stopper depicts a rare Trinidadian butterfly, acting as both a motif for the rum itself and a reference to the belief that a butterfly landing on cane sugar occasions the beginning of harvest.
“Don’t rush your senses,” whispers Georges, the softness of his Trinidadian accent giving way to a more serious tone now. “Let the rum come to you,” he stresses, floating the glass five inches from his nose in demonstration. Even from this distance, an overwhelming floral aroma rises from the glass, yielding to lingering scents of vanilla, spice and oak as you delve deeper into the bouquet.
“Now take your first sip,” George’s consents, holding his hands up in a manner that implies restraint. “Slowly, let the rum travel along your tongue,” he continues, clearly concerned the rum is too delicious to refrain from quaffing. The first sip of Legacy floods the palate with a natural, apricot sweetness. It’s heavy, and as the liquid warms your palate distinct hints of nut and spice begin to emerge from the sweetness. The finish is astonishingly long, with trailing flavours of orange zest, oak and an undefinable quality that must surely define a rum of this calibre.
At an estimated cost of $25,000 a bottle, a single nip of Legacy costs in the range of $1,200 (that’s roughly 35 bottles of Bundaberg). And with a total of 20 bespoke decanters available worldwide, Legacy is an exceedingly rare luxury for serious rum connoisseurs.
Langton’s is hosting an online auction for Australia’s only bottle at langtons.com.au, ending 6pm on the July 13. We suggest selling your house if necessary.