The growth of cask-finished rums has skyrocketed in recent years, as more and more distillers look to add new personalities and characters to rums.
It’s a reminder of the power of the barrel to imbue flavor, of the importance of the years rums spend in wood after their brief sojourns in pot and column stills.
In the Caribbean rum stronghold of Puerto Rico, it was for decades that only one distiller on the island, the venerable Ron del Barrilito, was finishing its rums in ex-sherry casks, to great success.
More recently, though, Puerto Rico’s popular Don Q got into the cask-finishing game with the Don Q Vermouth Cask Finish.
It was a very good rum, one that scored 89 points in our tasting, but the effect of the vermouth was, to be fair, a bit heavy on the palate.
Don Q’s most recent cask-finish endeavor, though, is a major step forward.
The newest cask-finish expression from Puerto Rico is the Don Q Sherry Cask Finish Rum, one Rum Journal tried on a recent stop in San Juan.
The newest Don Q takes rums aged from five to eight years in American oak barrels before placing them for an additional year in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks.
So what is it like?
The Don Q Sherry Cask Finish has a muted aroma of brown sugar, tropical fruit, brown sugar and a hint of vanilla.
The flavor profile is marked by cane stalk, malt, vanilla, dried mango, banana and a slightly herbal whisper.
The luxurious but fine rum concludes with a round but robust finish, edgy but elegant.
It’s better balanced than the Don Q Vermouth, the rum and sherry personalities working together, with neither overwhelming the other.
The result is an excellent rum, another reminder that, with few exceptions, sherry casks seem to marry best with the romantic personality of rum.
Rum Journal Review