Thursday, September 15, 2016

Cayman Spirits Company Distillery Announces a New Oloroso Finished Seven Fathoms Expression.

Vodka Tower and Pot Still
     One of the highlights of my recent trip to Grand Cayman was spending time With Walker Romantica and Nelson Dilber, owners of Cayman Spirits Company Distillery.  As usual, the had a number of new thing for me to see and more importantly taste on this visit.   The addition of the 60 foot Vodka Column and a large pot still have pretty much filled the building.

     Their well know Seven Fathoms Rum has been placed into an Oloroso Sherry barrel for some final finishing.   The results are very impressive, adding a rich fruitiness to the already wonderful Seven Fathoms expression.

Oloroso Sherry Casks
Oloroso means scented in Spanish, a variety of sherry wine, a fortified wine made in Jerez and Montilla -  Moriles and produced by oxidative  aging.  It is normally darker than other sherrys.   Oloroso is usually dark and nutty flavored.  Unlike other sherries, Oloroso producers remove the flor yeast early in the process then suppressed by fortification at an early stage.   This causes the finished wine lacking the layer of flor yeast to be exposed to the air through the slightly porous walls of the American or Canadian oak casks, giving it an oxidative aging.    As the wine ages, it becomes darker and stronger.   Oloroso Sherry is also the base for many of the sweet sherry developed for the international market, such as Bristol Cream.  These barrels after they have reached the end of their life as sherry barrels are often sold to whiskey, brandy or rum producers.  Most of the warehouse managers and master blender only use the Oloroso sherry casks for the finishing.   Spirits that are matured only in Oloroso casks is often to taste more like a liqueur, and usually way too sweet.

Note the Color Difference of the Oloroso 
     Rums finished in Oloros casks usually pick up the dark flavors and nuttiness of the Oloroso Sherry.  It picks up notes of figs and raisins giving the rum a fruitiness that is not found in the standard expression that is ages solely in bourbon barrels.  This gives the rum an oily and more viscous quality that really smooths the finish.    The Oloroso casks will darken the rum rather quickly giving it a more mahogany color and raises the eye appeal noticeably.   

     The other sherry casks that are popular among rum blenders is the Pedro Ximenez Sherry Casks.  These also a a note of fruitiness like the Oloroso cask, but it has more of a dried raisin flavor and dads a syrup like viscosity to the rum.   The Pedro Ximenez casks don’t darken the rum as much as the Oloroso either.  Both make for a great finish for quality rums.