Aged rums the newest craze
Flava Issue 2
No longer just a beverage for tropicalcocktails, rum – at least premium and superpremium rum – is now seen on the topshelves of bars, right next to great whiskeysand fine cognac.
These aged rums exhibit the same kindof smoothness and complexity of taste asother spirits that are meant to be sipped.
Although many people think older isalways better, individual tastes vary andsome people prefer younger, more vibrantrums.
Some connoisseurs view drinkingpremium aged rums any way but clean(straight with no ice) as something akinof sacrilege, others pay that advice nomind because they like to create premiumcocktails.
It’s important to know that just becausethere’s a number on a bottle, it often doesnot indicate the age of all the rum inside.
Many brands are blended with rums ofseveral ages and the number on the bottlemerely indicates the age of the oldest rumused in the blend, which could representa very small percentage of the rum inside.
Other brands, like Appleton Estate andothers from Jamaica are subject to laws thatrequire the age on the bottle to indicatethe minimum age of the rums used in theblend inside the bottle.
Guatemala’s Zacapaand other Central American rums use anelaborate system called Solera to blend their rums, giving their products a blend ofmany ages of rum inside every bottle.
Rum is usually aged in oak barrels, manyof which have been used before to ageother spirits like bourbon.
As rum ages,some of it evaporates through the oak soeach year there’s a loss of about six per centof the volume, often called the “angel’sshare”. Partially because of this, rum getsmore viscous as it ages and its flavoursbecome more complex and concentrated.
Aged rums are more expensive notonly because of the loss of volume toevaporation, but because it is expensive tostore.
Many premium rum makers contendthat aging rum at higher altitudes, wheretemperatures are cooler and atmospheric pressure less, creates better rum.
However,like most things, better is a personalpreference and there are rums for justabout every palate.
Age of Rum
One of the most important aspectsof rum production for most seriousrum lovers is the length of time eachrum is aged for.
This is probably one of the most interesting aspects of rumproduction and the one that least isknown about.
As there are no consistent laws onhow rum is aged throughout the world,rum is aged in various locations and forvarying lengths of time.
Rum can befound aging at sea level or thousandsof feet up in the mountains, thuscreating wide varieties in styles andflavours.
Rum can be bottled straightfrom the still with little or no aging, orcan be aged up to 30 years or more inoak barrels. Rum is aged in the humidtropical islands of the Caribbean, in thecold climates of Northern Europe andeven in the mountains of Nepal.
However, one pretty constant aspectof rum aging is the widely acceptedart of maturing the rum in once usedbourbon oak barrels.
This is theaccepted method of aging for the vastmajority of rum producers today. Forinstance, Appleton Estate uses barrelsfrom the Jack Daniels distillery.
You may ask why is it that rum isaged in used bourbon oak barrels? By alaw enacted in 1964, the United StatesCongress recognized Bourbon Whiskey as a "distinctive product of the UnitedStates.
" One of the laws included in thisact was that; "Bourbon must be aged innew, charred oak aging barrels.
As a result of this law bourbon producers found themselves witha glut of used oak barrels.
Some ofthem had only been used for theminimum two years required by law toqualify the distilled spirit as AmericanBourbon.
Rum distillers all over theworld were only too glad to acquireas many of these barrels as they couldget their hands on.
Not only would thebourbon distillers be helping the rumdistillers, it was also a way of keepingtheir own costs of aging their whiskeydown.
In many of today’s aged rums youwill be able to taste slight hints ofbourbon, some more than others,depending on how old the barrel it wasaged in was. Rum producers often rechar their barrels so that they impart more colour and flavour to the rum.
Originally from Scotland, Fin has been resident in Cayman since 1995 and joined Jacques Scott in 2005 Fin is an experienced professional and has successfully created a strong customer base particularly in the local bars which are considered key to the success of the Group’s brands in Cayman.