For year’s there’s been a leader in the world of special cask-finished rum: Martinique’s Rhum HSE, which was ahead of the global curve in finishing its rums in a variety of different casks and remains the standard-bearer.
In the world of molasses rum, it’s a trend that largely began with Dos Maderas, a brand that has a special place in the hearts of many rum lovers.
Dos Maderas, or “Two Woods,” sent a big message to the rum industry more than a decade ago with its 5+5 rum, combination of Guyanese and Bajan five-year-old rums that was then sent to Jerez for another five years at Williams & Humbert for aging in ex-sherry casks.
In the decade to come, more and more molasses rum companies began finishing their rums in specialty casks, from Abuelo’s series of XV cask finishes in sherry, port and cognac casks to the continued diversification by Foursquare in everything from ex-Zinfandel to ex-port.
But now the Caribbean’s largest rum company has entered the fray.
Bacardi’s newest release is a sherry-cask finish of its Reserve Ocho rum, the one that’s always been Bacardi’s signature aged rum — the one that for years (and in certain American markets, remains) just about the only aged rum you could find on a shelf in an American bar.
Bacardi’s aged portfolio has since expanded — first with the premium Facundo collection and, more recently, with the addition of the Bacardi 10, part of what we hope is a continued push in the premium aged rum category.
And that’s in large part because Bacardi has more power than any other rum brand to change the perception of rum in the marketplace.
The average American consumer still thinks of Bacardi or Captain Morgan when you ask them about rum — and the more Bacardi gets into aged expressions – and markets them — the better it will be for rum’s growth as a premium drink in the United States market.
The Sherry cask is part of what Bacardi says will be a five-year collection, with new cask-finish release every year through 2025.
The company says it’s a blend of rums between 8 and 12 years old, initially aged in American oak barrels with a final three-month stint in Oloroso sherry casks.
So what’s it like?
The aroma has notes of stone fruit, orange peel, dried apricot and a hint of almond.
The flavor profile is marked by dried cherries, a hint of anise; the slightest note of marzipan and some nuttiness and toffee on the finish.
It’s a velvety, almost voluptuous rum, much fuller bodied than the Reserve Ocho; the sherry finish does manage to round off some of the edge that exists in the regular Ocho.
Interestingly — and happily — there isn’t an overly strong note of sherry on this rum, particularly on the finish. That’s a welcome development, diverging from the unfortunate style of a number of sherry-finish rums that have far too strong a sherry character, losing the rum in the process.
It’s a nice, well balanced rum, and a decided improvement on the Ocho.
Rum Journal Review: 90 points