Talking With The Dusty Hunter About Rum…

I recently visited someone who is a Dusty Hunter, a person who seeks out forgotten bottles in old liquor stores and mislaid cases of booze in the backs of bars. His apartment has a long rack of bottles of liquor from as much as a hundred years ago, and reading the old but still-bright labels was fascinating. Like all of his fellowship he has tales to tell of his favorite finds – the decades-old bottle of Scotch from a long-vanished distillery that a lazy clerk sold for the barely legible marked price, the case of rum a tavern owner was about to throw away because he figured it couldn’t be good any more.

Unlike some Dusty Hunters, this one doesn’t just collect the bottles – he gets together with other enthusiasts and on special occasions they crack the old bottles to savor and study the styles of other eras. (I approve of this, especially when I’m invited to join in.) Their pickings have gotten slimmer and slimmer because few people are now unaware of the value of the old bottles. If you have the cash to spend you can get these bottles from brokers like Finest and Rarest, which offers ancient, strange, and wonderful liquors like this bottle of 1891 Wray & Nephew Two Daggers rum.

Like your rum aged? Try this one...

Like your rum aged? Try this one…

That bottle will run you a mere 3,750 Euros, if it is still available. I know to my sorrow that the most interesting items sometimes go very quickly, since the one time I bid on an item (a much cheaper item, as rum historians aren’t nearly as well compensated as I might wish), it was already gone. I read their emails with new offerings with a sense or longing – did that Rhum Clement from 1819 still have the flavor of cane that was cut almost two centuries ago? Did the flavor of that Royal Navy rum from 1940 more resemble a modern Pusser’s or Lamb’s, or was it like something else entirely? For now I can only wonder, but I will keep an eye out when shopping in in old stores just in case lightning strikes and favors me with a similar find…

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