Don Papa Rum

By Neil Brotherston Friday 27th Mar, 2015

We all have those bottles that we have at the front of our bar, purely because of the way they look. Bottles that from afar and from up close add a touch of class, interesting colours and sleek design to a bar that is otherwise filled with drinks that everyone else has heard of. Every bar needs that little unique gem, that no one has heard of that grabs the attention.

The Don Papa bottle certainly has the credentials to be that bottle in the Dapper Chapper bar. We absolutely love the styling of this bottle. From the deep burgundy colour of the bottle, to the classy label that effectively portrays the heritage of this serve – everything about this bottle oozes class. So we just had to get our hands on a bottle to see if what’s inside lives up to the outward appearance.

Don Papa is small batch rum produced on the southern island of Negros, Philippines. It is distilled from sugar molasses and then aged for over 7 years in American Oak barrels before finally being charcoal filtered to finish it off. The seven-year aging process meant we were expecting big things for this drink.

The name Don Papa is steeped in Philippine heritage. It’s inspired by the legendary Papa Isio; a celebrated leader during the Philippine Revolution. Papa Isio went down in history after leading his island to independence against the Spanish over rulers and later joining the main revolutionary movement in their fight against the Spanish.

The first thing that strikes you when you hold this drink in your hand is the deep red/burgundy colour that it takes in the bottle. The reality when it is in a glass is a little lighter and more orange, but the tinting of the bottle makes this drink really striking.


Once in the glass, there is no mistaking that this is going to be a sweet rum. You nostrils are instantly hit with the unmistakable waft of vanilla, with a very slight hint of spice that only just cuts through the vanilla.

For all the precision and design know-how that has gone into the branding of this Rum, if the taste isn’t on a par, it’s not going to count for anything. After all, you don’t want people to just buy one of your bottles to sit untouched at the front of your bar just to ‘look good’. You need them coming back for more.

As predicted, there is no getting away from the unmistakable hit of vanilla when you sip this drink. It is certainly a sweet rum, with a strong syrupy taste to it. Once the vanilla and syrup like sugar sweetness have died down in your mouth, there is clear undertone of citrus that runs through the rum, giving it an orange taste.

The only slight disappointment is that while you can taste a very slight oaky flavour, it is not as strong as you would expect given the 7 year aging process. However, this won’t be an issue for everyone – indeed if you’re after a sweet tasting rum then this could very well be the one for you.

Don Papa certainly adds something different to the Rum market. It’s sweetness will mean it will certainly appeal to the general market, as it mixes very well.

Indeed, Don Papa have teamed up with talented Mixologist Kathryn Eckstein-Cornista to ensure that you can experience Don Papa in its very best light. Now we have been given a special booklet with 10 separate mouth-watering cocktails in them, we can’t suggest them all – so we thought it only right to stick to our roots and suggest an old favourite:

Don Papa Old Fashioned:


Don Papa Rum is available from The Whisky Exchange for a price of £31.95