Last bottles of rare rum found by Harrogate wine company sold

tis  Andy Langshaw (left) and Mark Lascelles with the old rum bottle at Harrogate Fine Wine Company.  (140228M4)
tis Andy Langshaw (left) and Mark Lascelles with the old rum bottle at Harrogate Fine Wine Company. (140228M4)

Rare rum that was discovered by a Harrogate wine company and became the most expensive sold at auction, is all gone.

The last 16 bottles of the oldest rum ever sold at auction, which was picked up by Harrogate Fine Wine Company during an inventory of the cellars at Harewood House, sold this month, fetching £115,000.

The first 12 bottles were sold in March 2014 for almost £80,000, bringing the total of 28 bottles to about £195,000.

Mark Lascelles and Andy Langshaw discovered the bottles, dated to 1780, in 2011.

Mr Lascelles, brother of the eighth Earl of Harewood, said: “I thought nothing of the bottles and previously someone had said they were so caked in filth that we should leave them alone, but it was Andy who said we should have a closer look.

“The chances of finding stuff like that now are getting more and more remote, and it was only because the cellar had been fiercely guarded and nobody was allowed in that those bottles were still there.”

Though initially valued at £600-£800 per bottle by Christie’s Auction House, the average sale value per bottle reached about £7,000.

Though Lord Harewood has kept a couple of bottles for the archive, there are now no more bottles up for sale.

“I am only sad because this marks the end of what has been an amazing story for us, though I was full of elation to watch the auction unfold,” Mr Lascelles said.

“There are going to be no more treasure hunts like this.

“Humbling is a good word for it. We need to spare a thought for the people who made this rum and we have all reflected on that.”

The money has gone to the Geraldine Connor Foundation - a British Caribbean charity dedicated to helping young people in performing arts that has strong links with Harewood House. The Lascelles family owned several sugar plantations in Barbados from the seventeenth-century, so this partnership brings the rum full circle.