I grew up in Bacolod on the island of Negros. The combination of rich soil and favourable climate has made it a major producer of sugar and consequently, rum. The island is home to a number of distilleries that mass produce rum so when word came out that a premium, small-batch rum was being made in my home province I was eager to try it. This was back in 2012 when the Bleeding Heart Rum Co. introduced, Don Papa, their first rum. Two years later they have come out with a new rum, the Don Papa 10.
The Don Papa 10, as the name denotes, is aged for 10 years in re-charred 10-year old American oak barrels. The warm tropical climate evaporates plenty of the water making the rum concentrated and slightly more viscous than the original and younger Don Papa. Their master blender judged that it would be better with a slightly higher than usual ABV (alcohol-by-volume) of 43 percent.
The Don Papa 10 has a dark amber colour. There is plenty of dried berries in the nose with hints of cacao. It tastes quite similar to the nose but with a hint of vanilla and is less sweet when compared to the original Don Papa. I expected smoke notes due to the aging in re-charred barrels but I wasn’t able to taste any. The alcohol hardly lingers even at a higher ABV which I believe many will find appealing. There are gentle hints of oak and spice in the light finish.
Premium rum doesn’t get much love in the Philippines but the Don Papa 10 gives us a reason to. The strong flavours combined with a drier taste and a light finish make it a pleasant drink to be consumed neat. During the launch event it was mixed with a dark beer but I found it great on its own. If you’re looking to try an aged rum the Don Papa 10 is a good starting point and is sure to please many.
The Don Papa 10 is available at Ralph’s Wines and Spirits, and Kultura Filipino.