Marrying is the process in which we select our rum barrels to be brought together, known as ‘batching’, to create the final rum. We select our barrels to be brought together to create a flavor that is more than the sum of its parts.
This process begins by tasting barrels. We taste barrels regularly throughout our work so we always know their stage of development. I joke that the rack house, where the barrels are stored, is a room full of toddlers. Certain barrels have their own personality (P26 always gives a nectarine flavor, P51 always gives a marzipan and allspice tone) and sometimes they are well behaved, sometimes they’re ‘mute’ (meaning they are going through a development phase and not showing much flavor at that moment), and sometimes they are sleeping like perfect angels. Each one is completely different. When it is time to make a batch we pull samples from the barrels we feel are reaching harmony, and take a tasting note on each one, individually. We note the primary flavors, depth, complexity, weight, aromatics and intensity of finish. Once we know what we’re working with we begin to make a blend. We do this by selecting a certain number of barrels with youthful vibrance, some good ‘classic’ mid-weight rum, and some older and very rich rums to add depth and bass tones. Once we explore these mini batches of varying samples, we determine our final batch recipe. This tells us which barrels to pull to create the batch.
We will harvest these barrels by pouring the rum into a large tank. Once the rum from our chosen barrels has been collected, we mix together the collected rum, and add more soft water to bring the rum to 100 proof. Typically, it is at this stage that a spirits maker would filter their spirit and bottle it. We decided to innovate the rum tradition by recasking this blend into finishing casks. The idea is that the new flavors have just been introduced to each other and we want to give the flavors and rums time to mix and mingle, thus creating a cohesive harmonious flavor profile. We put this 100 proof spirit back into third and fourth use barrels. We have lowered the spirit to 100 proof during this stage to minimize the oak influence and to allow the water to integrate with the spirit. The third use barrels allow the rich oxidative aging we crave to occur without adding oakiness. Once the spirit has rested in these casks to reach maturity and full integration (about 4-8 months) we again harvest the a few casks at a time, bringing the rum into a tank together. We add very soft water to bring the spirit to 90 proof.