|Sitting Rum Barrels|
Bryan Davis says, “We haven’t made something approximating the flavor of aged rum, we actually made aged rum. Our technology is the only one that can stand up to forensic chemistry as there’s a big difference between just replacing parts of the process with creating a molecule-by-molecule map.” During mid-2010 Davis discovered how to catalyze the first part of the aging process, esterification and in 2015 they produced rum that had a near-identical chemical signature to rum aged in a barrel for 20 years. The liquid was only six days old. There has been only limited acceptance of Davis's process by the industry in general, but the results are very impressive.
The folks at Lost Spirits of Charleston, South Carolina believe they have come up with a way to molecularly alter the spirits in six days giving it the same flavor as 20 years in the barrel.
|10 Year Old Cruzan Rum Ready to bottle|
|Small Barrel on the boat|
|Old Rum Barrel Cubes|
What I found about this small virgin barrel and the charred oak barrel cubes is they started working on the rum very quickly. Because some of the rum had been in barrels before, it became very oaky very quickly. I began to question what I had done, but before giving up on this I got 3 liters of high proof pure white rum to put into the barrel. After flushing the barrel to get rid of any of the residue of the previous experiment I put the new rum into the barrel. After a week, I was starting to get some pale color and an indication of the wood in the flavor. Today the rum has been in the cask for seven weeks and it really has a nice medium mahogany color and very flavorful taste. It has a smoothness that really surprised me and leaves a subtle taste of the wine at the finish. The other thing about this experiment is that the barrel sits on my boat. The waves from the wind and the other boats that pass by means that the barrel contents are being sloshed around inside the barrel.
|Barrel sitting on the boat|
I realize that this is a small scale experiment, but for a start-up craft distillery, the use of small casks with cubes of oak in the barrel can help to get some finished rum to their customers more quickly. When you put a lot of oak together with higher proof rum and keep it in motion the reactions will happen quite a bit faster than in a large barrel that sits untouched.
All of the methods of speeding the aging process have merit, but only the future will tell if they become the norm for aging rum.