The age of a rum can be viewed as somewhat confusing, in the way in which it is calculated, especially for persons accustomed to seeing whiskey bottling with ages between 15 and 40 years. It appears that rum is younger than aged spirits originating in colder climates, but actually the warmer climates in the tropics are where a majority of the world’s rums are produced, and this accelerates the process of aging. A 10 or 15 year old rum is considered to be very old, and there are times when you will see a 20+ year rum, which is often the highest priced and usually the oldest.
A decently aged rum is usually 8 years, but this may not be necessarily reflective of the entire blend.
The age of the rum that is indicated on the bottle, is the younger of the rums combined into that particular blend. The product line of Cruzan Rum is one such example. Cruzan Light is aged for only 14 months, but this is sufficient to gain some oak. The 2 year blend of Cruzan Rum is a unique blend of rums aged between 2 and 4 years. Cruzan’s Single Barrel involves a more complex journey through the barrel, commencing with a mixture of rums that range between 5 1/2 and 6 years. Once blended, the Cruzan Rum is barreled again in unused oak casks for a period of 6-9 months. This smaller batch of rums is then placed in holding tanks that are made of stainless steel and are temperature-controlled. Once this process is completed, the Cruzan Rum is ready to constitute a bottling run.
All barrels at the distillery are used only once as bourbon barrels which mostly store Jim Beam bourbon, apart from the new barrels in which Cruzan Single Barrel is housed on a temporary basis. Over the past 45 years this particular whiskey barrel technique, has been utilized on a consistent basis to produce Cruzan Rum. Close scrutiny will reveal that even the Light Cruzan Rum has slight bourbon characteristics.
This is assisted somewhat by placing small charred chips inside each oak barrel of Cruzan Rum.
One outstanding difference in the aging process of Cruzan Rum, when compared to other whiskies, is that the rotation of casks within the barrel house is not required. This is due to the fact that the warm Caribbean breeze freely flows in the specially designed storage facilities. This allows the breeze to hit each barrel of Cruzan Rum similarly, regardless of their position on the top or the bottom of the stack.