Luis Ayala, Editor
Luis Ayala, Editor of "Got Rum?" magazine, Rum Consultant and Founder of The Rum University.
Rum’s Coming of Age
Maturity and age are terms often interchanged while describing a rum’s perceived transformations inside a barrel: companies aging in hot, tropical weather tout their climates aggressive heat and evaporation as away to achieve maturity faster than those aging in cooler climates. This latter group,however, claims a more controlled, albeit slower, aging, which requires patience and which rewards cellars masters with lower yearly evaporation rates. Regardless of which school of thought you belong to,one clear fact should stand out: when rum is aged properly, the result is blissfully elegant.
Last month I oversaw the largest tasting competition to-date of the Congreso Internacional del Ron, and one thing stood out very clearly: there are some rum producers who are achieving their aging goals only in their imagination! As Commissioner General of the tasting competition, on many occasions I had to reassure judges during the blind tasting sessions, that indeed a given rum was submitted by its producer as having the age required for the category being tasted.
Misleading age statements may have a short-term advantage when presenting rums to un-educated consumers in a vacuum, when comparisons with matured rums of the portrayed age are not possible.The great disadvantage, however, comes in competitions where well educated, properly trained judges, know what to expect from rums in different age groups (tannic content, roundness, complexity,among many other elements). It is in this setting that rums authentically aged start to separate themselves from those who do not represent their age or maturity truthfully.
I am pleased to see some of the serious members of the rum industry starting to come together in attempts to define and implement watchdog policies to prevent willful or accidental age misrepresentations by small producers and/or private label brand owners. They are also starting to combine their purchasing power to negotiate barrel acquisitions to ensure the continuity of their aging practices.It is an exciting time to be in the rum industry, as companies, nations and multi-national regions come together to discuss the future of rum, whether it maybe subsidies, barrel supply or quality standards.
Luis Ayala, Editor and Publisher