In the Still of the Night

Rum is as nuanced as any other great spirit. Rum is the result of dozens of decisions ranging from providence of material, exacting specifications for the molasses, yeast strains, distillation, choice of wood, and durations of aging. Subtle changes in any of these factors can result in a very different spirit.

The Rum producer first creates the spirit in their mind choosing its weight, texture, and palate focus. Some distillers prefer to create heavy, viscous Rums that stylistically rival Armagnac or Whisky. Others look to create Rum with delicate features wishing to distill away heavy alcohols and congeners resulting in a spirit with finesse on par with great Brandies. Many Rum distillers choose to make both a heavy and a light style of Rum that will both become components for the master blender to craft into spirits of their liking.

RUM Maturation & Thirsty Angels

A great of majority of Rum is aged in barrels previously used for aging Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey. Again, distillers keep their spirit to the desired maturity. Some Rum producing nations prescribe a minimum period of aging that must be observed by all Rum styles, including White Rums. In the Caribbean the aging process is greatly accelerated by the year-round extremes of heat and humidity. The “Angel’s Share” (the amount of spirit volume lost to evaporation) is quite sever ranging from 9 to 12% annually as compared to 2% lost in Scotland. Think of Rum age statements in “dog years” as each year in the islands is equal to many years in a cooler climate.

Rum is experiencing a true renaissance evolving into a spirit that pleases the palate of the contemporary consumer and bartender alike. Vanishing is the old standard practice of adding sugar and flavors to Rum at bottling. Today, the pure and refined spirit is bottled in its natural state with its wonderful complex and unique flavors found in each nosing and sip.