TODAY, Rum Day is being celebrated in TT and around the world.
Significant, is the fact that TT’s own Angostura Limited is marking its 195th year of operation.
As such, the company will be honouring the historic occasion by celebrating with the people of TT beginning today.
At all participating bars throughout the country there are rum specials.
“The Angostura legacy belongs to all of TT,” stated Rahim Mohammed, executive manager, corporate services and marketing.
“We look forward to kicking off our celebrations with the rest of the country at Rum Day.”
Mohammed also emphasised the necessity of safe and responsible participation in the event.
Angostura’s seven-year-old rum will be featured in this year’s festivities, with price discounts also extending to Angostura staples White Oak, Fernandes Black Label, and Forres Park Puncheon rums. Participants will also enjoy free live performances by popular entertainers at some of the various establishments.
On Wednesday, led by tour operator Michelle Farah, local media was given a special tour of the Angostura compound, Eastern Main Road, Laventille, to share how Angostura has blazed a trail that helped TT make its mark on the world stage.
One of the major stops during the tour was at the butterfly museum that houses the Malcolm Barcant Butterfly Collection.
Barcant was a lepidopterist who spent some 50 years catching, cataloguing and preserving butterflies from all over the world. His collection contains some of the most rare, exotic and extraordinary, several of which are the only known of its kind and now bear Barcant’s name.
Before migrating to the US in the 70s, Barcant sold the priceless collection because he said it did not belong to him and wanted to leave it in TT for education purposes. The Angostura company bought the collection.
There are 5,000 butterflies in the collection, including the 617 species of butterflies in Trinidad.
The media was also taken to the Angostura Museum where pictures of surgeon Dr Johann Siegert and sons Carlos, Alfredo and Luis who ran the Angostura business when it was brought here from Venezuela.
Some of the medical equipment that Siegert used in operating theatres were also on display as is a picture of Queen Elizabeth.
The company’s operations were distinguished in 1912 when it became the sole purveyor of Angostura aromatic bitters to the royal family of England, a tenure which continues to this day.
The media was told anywhere the queen travels to, if she wants bitters, it must be delivered at her beck and call.
A number of countries over the years have tried to imitate Angostura bitters and have not been successful. Samples of all of them are at the museum.
There is also a painting by Jean Michael Cazabon, of an old jetty where ships came in many years ago. Replicas of two ships that used the jetty are there. One was used to bring the Angostura business to Trinidad, and another, that unfortunately, upon leaving the Port of Spain harbour in 1895 ran aground. Bits and pieces of the wreckage were gathered years later and are now at the museum.
Also there, are some oak casks used to age alcohol, that came from the Jack Daniels Distillery in Kentucky, USA.
Pictures of Albert Gomez, the first person outside the Siegert family to be told the secret bitters formula and John Gordon Siegert who was the last Siegert to run the business are also on display.
At another section of the museum housed a sample of the many Angostura products over the years.
Established in 1824, the company has been internationally lauded for its superior Angostura aromatic bitters brand, complete with its unique, iconic label and high-quality locally manufactured rums. Among them, Angostura 1787, Angostura 1824, Angostura 1919 and Angostura 7 year old, that have consistently been highly awarded by global authorities.
But in the museum one can also see their Angostura 5, Angostura Caribbean Rum Reserve, aged three years, Single Barrel rum that is not for export, and the most popular rum at this time, White Oak. Also, Amaro Di, Angostura orange bitters, LLB and the silver label Angostura bitters in commemoration of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee year.
There is a replica of the one-of-a-kind US$40,000 sterling silver bottle stop that was auctioned at the Hyatt in 2014.