Specialty Rum Barrels, Single Barrels and Soleras

Rum barrelsWhat Happens Now the Rum Has Aged?

There are various blending and ageing methods when producing rum and Soleras are maybe the most misused and least understood. Sherry has to be aged and blended and the term “Solera” refers to one of the well- used methods. The main aim of the Solera system is to do away with the differences in distillation batches and barrels. When this process is utilized it helps to create a product that remains consistent over the years. If you need to find out more about Soleras then please take a look at lesson five of “The Classifications of Rum”. This information can be found at www.RumUniversity.com (this is the Rum University’s website).

When implementing a true Solera the rum barrels are stacked in reverse chronological order. The oldest rum barrels will sit at the bottom and the youngest rum barrels go on the top. The blending method is complex, the well-aged rum is taken from the bottom barrel and the barrel is refilled with the rum for the upper barrels. It could be true to say that this type of arrangement is not needed to ensure that the blending process is carried out correctly but deviating from the normal process could mean that the Solera is diluted and not authentic.

The Solera nomenclature is occasionally abused because the rum producers tend to empty the oldest rum barrels during the bottling process. In reality a percentage of the old rum should remain in the bottom rum barrels to ensure that it is allowed to blend with the newly produced rum. However, many people who produce rum are content to empty the contents of their rum barrels into the mixer tanks and class the blend as a Solera.

The term “Solera” tends to be abused and occasionally the term “Single Barrel” is also misread. Look at the true meaning of “Single Barrel” and the rum should come from a rum barrel that can be individually identified. Every bottle will be labelled and the label will contain a rum barrel number. In short this means that rums that are classed as single barrel will differ in age. A high percentage of rum producers blend many hundreds if not more rum barrels together in a bid to even out any differences. The rum is then re-casked, bottled and then sold as single barrel rum.

Specialty rum barrels are quite common within the industry, these bottles include Whisky, Cognac, Sherry and Port barrels that could have been utilized for ageing many other alcoholic drinks (some fortified, others not) and they could even have been used to store beer. Everyone has to compete for business so many who market alcoholic drinks have to vie for business. Those who produce authentic speciality barrels tend to stand out from their competitors.