How are rums aged?

14 Mar. 2018
Ageing is what takes the pure distillate of rum to the next level: only time and the subtle flavours of the oak can give rum a nuanced flavour. It all depends on the choice of barrels and the savoir-faire of master rum-makers.
What barrels are used for ageing rum?

Rum-ageing depends enormously on the choice of barrels. Oak smooths the raw distillate and imparts some of its qualities to the rum (colour, spiciness, tannins). Young (i.e. new or barely used, such as bourbon casks) barrels have a very big impact on the rum while old (i.e. used casks, such as Irish whiskey casks) are more discrete but help homogenise the rum and integrate the existing flavours. Which is why rums will typically spend their first years in young barrels before being further aged in older barrels. Barrels can also be used to communicate some of the characteristics of the product they held before (i.e. some rums will be finished in an old port or sherry barrel).

What barrels are used for Havana Club rums?

Havana Club 3 años is aged in new oak barrels for 2 years, then filtered and aged for at least another year.

Havana Club Especial is aged in barrels previously used for American bourbon, then filtered and aged again in old Irish whiskey barrels.

Havana Club 7 is aged in barrels previously used for American bourbon, then filtered and aged again in old Irish whiskey barrels using the continuous ageing technique, in which a little bit is put back each year.

The Icónica Collection is a collection of premium rums that allows the Maestros del Rón Cubano to push their expertise to the limit, creating exceptional rums through a combination of blending and ageing expertise.

What is the ‘solera system’?

In Spanish-style rums the ‘solera’ system is often used, also called ‘fractional blending’. Each time some rum is taken out of the barrel to be bottled, this older rum is replaced in the same barrel by the same quantity of younger rum. This is thought to maintain a flavour profile over the years. The ‘continuous ageing’ of Havana Club 7 is inspired by this process.