Lucie Loves... Fine - Drinking // Don Papa 10 year celebration & artist of masks 

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Cast your mind back to early November (yes, it was only a few weeks ago!) It was a Thursday, and the mild autumn weather that we’d been experiencing in London had, all of a sudden, entered a cold and wet spell. My first thought was I need to get away from this weather, I need some winter sun.

Unfortunately, my bank balance won’t lend itself to such luxuries this year, so instead I had to settle on taking my taste buds off on a jolly!

My dear friend, Lucie, asked me to attend the Don Papa Rum 10 year celebration event in her place, as she was off on a trip to gorgeous Cornwall, if you haven’t already read that blog post yet – do so here.

I was allowed to bring a plus one and there’s only one friend I know who loves a) cocktails and b) rum as much as me. Josh was free that evening and we met near Holborn Station. As we walked to the event we caught up on some dating stories and news about what was going on in our lives, and mentioned how we both had work the following day.

What was going to be a quiet evening of “not drinking a lot” turned into something quite the opposite. This is how we joined the ‘Brotherhood’ of Don Papa!

We arrived at the elegant Old Court Room, a good sized room at St Andrew Holborn, greeted with a rum based Old Fashioned cocktail, made using Don Papa Rum. It was an atmospherically low-lit room, complete with Jacobean fireplace and a wonderful hammerbeam ceiling.

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The large windows, overlooking the historic Wren church, were decorated with twinkling tea lights, all dancing independently to the soft sounds of soothing chill out music.

I’d been introduced to rum as an adult by my ex-partner who had visited Jamaica and the Caribbean plenty of times with his family. On nights out I have sampled the usual brands, both dark and white, and always with a mixer. I was excited to try Don Papa’s limited edition 10 year old rum from the Philippines.

Don Papa Rum was inspired by the story of one of the unsung heroes of the Philippine Revolution: Dionisio Magbuelas, better known locally as Papa Isio. Initially a foreman at a sugar plantation, he was a rebel, and leader of a group of Babaylanes. Papa Isio played a key role during the late 19th-century Philippine Revolution; his spirit and leadership played a critical part in freeing Negros from Spanish rule, ultimately leading to independence for his beloved country.

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“Due to the perfect combination of climate, geography and the rich volcanic soil on the island, Negros is ideally suited for sugar cane production” said Don Papa Rum founder Stephen Carroll. Don Papa Rum is light and fruity on the nose, whilst smooth and delicate on the palate. It’s a light amber-coloured liquid with a long, rich-textured finish and gives the flavours of vanilla, honey and candied fruits.

Both Josh and I were really impressed with it and couldn’t wait to sample the limited edition Don Papa 10.

Don Papa 10 has been distilled for 10 years in re-charred oak barrels before being blended. Deep, rich and powerful to the nose, the produce exudes the bold flavours of oak, dried fruits, cacao and vanilla, typical of aged rums. The intensity of the colour was phenomenal, a shade of brown so dark you would think it was black.

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Josh and I were absolutely blown away with its flavour, and both agreed that it would make the perfect Christmas present for someone, an uncle or father who wanted to add something a little bit special to their drinks cabinet. I have already ordered mine to take to a friend’s over the Christmas period. I am sure it will go down well and won’t be around long enough to see in the New Year!

*** Don Papa 10 has an ABV of 43%, and an RRP of £49.95 and is available at Harvey Nichols exclusively for the month of November, before arriving at other retailers. ***

Guest editorial by James Barley

Photography by Jolly Thompson