Old Monk, as all Old Monk bacchantes will agree, is not just a rum, it’s an institution. You don’t drink Old Monk, you experience it. I discovered the buddha sadhu a little late, Christian Brothers Rum being my choice of poison for long (even got bottles from Shillong as I didn’t find it in the cities education and jobs took me to).

Avantika Bhuyan describes her Old Monk fascination very aptly in Open

When drinking with Old Monk enthusiasts, one has to adhere to the proper etiquette. One cannot say, “I am having a glass of rum,” when you are having Old Monk. Old Monk is not a rum. Old Monk is Old Monk. It is utter sacrilege to drag this priceless drink into the category of regular unexciting rums. You need to feel the pride, the proper respect, the honour when you hold a glass of Old Monk.

There are a number of Old Monk communities online and one of the few on Facebook is liked by over 15,000 people (that’s just a small peg in the Old Monk a keg full of Old Monk buffs).

Here’s an Old Monk advertisement from 1969 that I stumbled upon in a drunken stupor.

Old Monk ad from 1969
The House of Mohmeak's Since 1855
Old Monk
Very Old Vatted XXX Rum
Mohan Meakin Breweries Ltd. Estd. 1855

Even though India’s most popular rum is distilled nearby in Mohan Nagar (named after Mohan Meakin), many wine stores in the vicinity (Ghaziabad, Noida and East Delhi) don’t seem to stock it.

Related reading: Website of Brig. (retd) Kapil Mohan, managing director, Mohan Meakin