A rum go at $53,000

A bottle of a rare and elusive rum from Wray and Nephew has been put on display in London at RumFest, Europe's first rum festival.

It is one of only four unopened bottles of the vintage rum known to exist, and is valued at $53,000.

What makes this particular rum so special is that it was made before the company changed its distilling methods to fill a sudden upsurge in consumer demand fueld by the wide popularity of the Mai Tai cocktail which was invented in 1944. It was bottled in the 1940s using different blends, and some of the content dates to 1915.

"Mai Tais became so popular that, over two years, the entire supply of Wray and Nephew Rum was exhausted," said Paul McFadyen, managing director of IP Bartenders, which co-owns the rum festival, told the BBC.

"At that time, Wray and Nephew had changed their methods of production at the distillery so that they could make much faster batches of rum. This meant that they could not reproduce rum of the same quality meaning that the true Mai Tai could not been recreated."

Although it was thought that no more of this particular rum existed, 12 unmarked bottles of it were found in their Jamaican warehouse during a worldwide inventory of its stock by Wray and Nephew three years ago. Eight have been opened since then and, for the most part, been consumed.

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