PCA 2013: The Rum Diary, Nassau style
Anybody who gets bored on Paradise Island clearly isn't making full use of all the amazing things there are to do. But if you do get tired of the pools, the waterslides, the cocktails and the fine dining while you're here for the PCA, you can always go over the bridge and into Nassau.
There's plenty to do there, but one place in particular worth a look is the Graycliff Hotel & Restaurant. It has pools and it has restaurants. Just like Paradise Island. But what it also has is rum tasting and cigar making.
Visitors start by getting a tour of the grounds, including the 260-year-old colonial era hotel building. You then get to go down into the wine cellar, and this is where it really gets special. Many of us take pride in having a 'collection' of nice wine bottles. But the Graycliff cellar is slightly bigger than yours. And by slightly, we mean massively. It's the 3rd largest private wine collection in the world, with more than 275,000 bottles.
These aren't cheap and nasty bottles either. Looking for some high-end cognac? They have it, but it might end up costing you $3K a glass (better just have the one). How about a special bottle of Crystal made for the millennium? It could be yours for just $11K. The oldest bottle in the collection is dated 1727. The cost? A mere $210K, which means that 1727 must have been one hell of a vintage year.
You don't actually have to buy any of this expensive booze of course, but the rich and famous do. The cellar includes a private dining area where the likes of Jay-Z and Beyonce, Oprah and Kobe Bryant have all been. The tour guide could neither confirm nor deny this, but it makes a nice story to picture Jay-Z in there, drinking a huge bottle of Champagne that probably cost most than your car.
The tour then moves onto cigars, where you get to see them being hand made by Cuba's finest rollers. You also get to try making them yourself, and take away the fruits of your labor. Want to go right ahead and light it up? It's encouraged. The rollers are already puffing away as they work, so you might as well join them.
After that it's time to sit down and try some rum. Most of us know the difference between light rum and dark rum, but there's way more to it than just knocking it back on a crazy night out. The tasting session gives you the full lowdown, including how to smell it first and then taste it properly. Feel that nice warm glow in your throat? That's those hidden flavors you never knew were there until now.
The tours wraps up with a visit to the company's own chocolate factory and shop, where you can stock up on tasty handmade treats. Including chocolate mixed with bacon. The jury is still out on whether this is a winning combo, but you can decide for yourself.
So if you are looking to step off Paradise Island, then this is definitely the place to be. Wine, cigars, rum, chocolate. What's not to like? Just make sure you don't overdo it. You need to get back because there's another tournament about to start.