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Oh, the Things This Rum Has Seen!

Rachel Tepper Paley
December 11, 2013

Photo credit: Christie’s

Doesn’t this image make you thirsty? On Dec. 12 and 13, Christie’s in London is auctioning off 12 bottles of the seriously old rum shown here. It dates to 1780—the oldest bottles of the spirit ever to be auctioned off.

The rum was a chance discovery during a routine 2011 cellar inventory of Harewood House, an estate near Leeds, England. Although the bottles were covered in a thick layer of muck, luckily for rum lovers everywhere, the good folks at Christie’s “painstakingly removed from their ancient cocoons of cobwebs and mould,” cleaned them, and took one for the team by actually trying the stuff.

Tasting notes declare that the light rum boasts “intense brûlée aromas of honey, cinnamon and baked apples” with a “piercing flavour, intense and long.” The dark rum is softer, “with intense aromas of spiced oranges, cedar and caramel. Concentrated and impressive.” 

Corks were in poor shape, and were replaced by new ones, but don’t fret: "a good deal of mold has been left adhered to the bottles." 

The only catch? These are expected to fetch upwards of £10,000 (or $16,327, yowza) at auction.

How old are these bottles, really? So old that they were around for…

1. The writing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787.

Photo credit: Getty

2. The storming of the Bastille in 1789, which sent the French Revolution into overdrive.

Photo credit: Getty

3. Ludwig von Beethoven’s first performance of “Moonlight Sonata” in 1802.

Photo credit: Getty

4. The discovery of Antarctica in 1820.

Photo credit: Getty

6. The building of the Eiffel Tower in 1889.

Photo credit: Getty

7. The stock market crash of 1929.

Photo credit: The Library of Congress

8. The admission of Hawaii (and Alaska!) into the Union in 1959.

Photo credit: Getty

9. Y2K

Photo credit: Getty

10. The inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2008.

Photo credit: Wikimedia

Seriously. This rum is really, really old.