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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 October 2007, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
Rum worth 26,000 goes on display
The bottle of rum is only one of four left unopened
The bottle will be exhibited at Europe's first rum festival
What is believed to be the world's most expensive bottle of rum has gone on display at a festival in London.

The drink, made by the Jamaican distillers Wray and Nephew, is worth 26,000 and is one of only four unopened bottles in the world.

It was bottled in the 1940s using different blends, the oldest of which was about 25 years old, meaning some of the liquid dates back to about 1915.

The bottle is being displayed at RumFest, Europe's first rum festival.

Supplies of the rum ran out in the mid-1930s following the invention of the Mai Tai cocktail in 1934 which used the 17-year-old Wray and Nephew Rum.

Unmarked bottles

"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.

"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."

We might be persuaded to crack it open
Paul McFadyen, festival organiser

It was thought that no more bottles remained until about three years ago, when Wray and Nephew carried out an inventory of their world-wide stores.

It was then, in their Jamaican warehouse, that they discovered the remains of a barrel containing 12 unmarked bottles of the unique rum.

A bottle was given to key bartenders around the world.

But Mr McFadyen said it might prove too tempting to be kept on display and has not ruled out sampling it.

He said: "We might be persuaded to crack it open."

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