New Information About Old Bottles

Originally posted 02 January 2014

I have received several questions from reenactors and museums about how rum was stored and shipped in the early era, and a recent discovery clarified the situation. The people at Finest And Rarest, a broker that deals in very old and unusual spirits, found a unique item – the oldest dated bottle of rum ever found, from the year 1819. Here’s a picture of it:


As you can see, the large, slightly irregular bottle was wrapped in braided sugar cane stalks to insulate the glass from shocks, and the corked top was sealed with wax. The label is leather with a stamp that indicated that this was rum agrichole from Martinique, with the date handwritten. Long distance shipping was usually done in barrels, which were less fragile and made more efficient use of space, but this represents the way that rum was packaged for sale in lower volumes than a cask-full. By the way, the rum inside the sealed bottle was said to still be good, and was sold off in small lots to connoisseurs. I tried to get some, but was just a bit too late – I won’t wait to reply if a similar opportunity comes along again…