The Philippines is the ideal place to produce rum, with its long history of sugarcane cultivation, ancient sugar mills and hot and humid tropical climate, perfect for maturation. Don Papa Rum embodies all of this with its captivating range of single-island small batch aged rums. In the shadow of active volcano Mount Kanlaon, on Negros Island, ancient sugarcane varieties thrive on lush and fertile foothills, from which coveted Black Gold Molasses is produced – the heart of Don Papa. The result is an enticing collection of premium rums that evoke this timeless, seductive place, known locally as Sugarlandia, where nature remains the dominant life force, and where your senses are heightened and your mind is free. There is a long history of sugarcane production in the Philippines, where the purple cane, or caña morada, remains the main sugarcane variety. First discovered here in the Pacific, it was only later exported to the Caribbean and the rest of the world. The country’s fourth-largest island, Negros, known as the Sugar Bowl of the Philippines, or Sugarlandia, produces most of the country’s sugar, not to mention the molasses used to make Don Papa’s rums. During the Philippines’s War for Independence in the 1890s, a revolutionary hero and shaman from Negros, Papa Isio, helped to drive the Spanish away from the island. Before joining the battle for his country’s independence, Papa Isio was a sugarcane plantation foreman. Don Papa is inspired by this courageous figure – the embodiment of the spirit of Sugarlandia. The same sugarcane that he once harvested is now being used to pay tribute to him.
Don Papa have distilled that molasses in a column still and filled the resulting new-make spirit into ex-Bourbon casks. Here it has remained in the humid foothills of Mount Kanlaon for four years. In those steamy conditions, the rum matures rapidly, which is why Don Papa’s rums always taste so complex and so much older than their age suggests. After four years, the rum is filled into four kinds of Sherry cask – Fino, Pedro Ximénez, Cream and Palo Cortado – where it remains for 18 months. Here it picks up lots of deeply festive flavours: moist Christmas cake, prunes soaked in Madeira, mince pies and Sherry, Port and figs, cherry liqueur dark chocolates, plums stewed with star anise, roasted almond marzipan, pomander, unctuous caramel and spiced nuts.