Producing rum is an art form. Most people go to their local bar and order a Bacardi and diet coke to avoid the calories, but they don’t know what they are missing. Serious rum lovers know that there are a wide variety of rum flavors and the nuances of these flavors can be as deep and unique as wine. A big part of the flavor process is the aging. Rum is aged in barrels at sea level, up in the mountains and, sometimes, under water. This all gives the rum different flavors. If you are set to age your own rum at home there are a few things you should know.
A fresh white oak barrel will give the rum the most flavor and take the least amount of time to age. This is because the wood has not already been used and the flavors are rip, roaring and ready to get into that rum. Barrels that have already been used to age liquor will take a lot longer to impart flavor into the rum. Plus, the flavor of the spirit that it was previously used to age will seep into the rum. This is especially true for the sweetness of sherry, so be careful which barrel you choose.
Another thing to be aware of is that the oak barrel will allow the rum to breathe. If you plan on aging the rum for a long period of time then you should expect some evaporation. Rum distillers across the world call this evaporation “The Angel’s Take.” When the rum is left long enough to evaporate then it will ensure great flavors are infusing with the liquid; you will just lose some of the precious concoction. Aging your own rum is a great way to become familiar with the nuances in the deep, dark flavors of rum.