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The Methods Used To Mature Rum
The Methods Used To Mature Rum
The world's finest Rums are produced in the hotter climates of Central America and The Caribbean.

Although these warmer climates allow distilleries to grow the sugar cane required for Rum production, it also speeds up the natural evaporation that occurs when maturing spirits inside oak casks. Known as the Angels share in Scotland, or the Duppies Share in the Caribbean, this evaporation makes it harder for Rum brands to produce age-statement bottlings. To combat this excessive loss, Rum brands can combine casks, using one of two main systems.

The Solera System

The Solera System originates from Jerez in Spain, where it is used to create Sherry and Brandy. The system works by feeding older barrels with younger stock through a complex pyramid system. Each level of the pyramid is known as “Criadera” until it arrives at the bottom level, known as Solera. 

Solera Ageing System In Rum

Although in Sherry and Brandy’s production, the Solera barrels contain a weighted average age of the barrels above, many Rum brands have disguised the true age of their spirit by hiding behind the system. With some brands removing the term “años” or “years” from the label completely, some bottles would display a number with no true meaning behind it. Because of large international brands failing to declare their Rum’s age transparently, a new age statement law was introduced.

Age Statement Bottling Law

Until recently, each country was able to define its own appellation of origin, setting its own rules for the techniques of Rum production and age statement bottlings. With each country setting a different set of rules, Rum as a category became confusing to understand for consumers, lacking the transparency of other spirits such as Scotch Whisky.

That was until the 25th May 2021, when the European Union set clear boundaries for all Rum sold and imported. These rules not only clearly defined age statement bottlings but also limited the addition of flavouring and colour to Rum.

“As of the 25th May 2021, All Age Statement Rum Sold In The EU Must Display The Age Of The Youngest Drop In The Bottle.”

Since the laws changed, Rum Brands are no longer able to use the Solera System in order to create age statement bottlings. As a result of these changes, the laws are helping push forward the premiumisation of Rum, reassuring customers of the high quality of bottles displaying an age statement. 

Vintage Pallet System

The vintage pallet system combats evaporation by refilling depleted casks with the stock of the same age. This refilling is performed every two years in Panama, every three in Jamaica, or every ten years in Scotland, depending on how high the evaporation is in each climate. By blending casks of the same age, Rum brands are able to display the distilling and bottling age on the bottle. The system’s reliance on aged stock is significantly increasing demand and price for aged casks of premium Rum. 

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