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Anejo Rum

Añejo Rum, a spirit as vibrant and rich as the cultures from which it hails, is rooted deeply in the Caribbean and Latin America. Añejo, meaning 'aged' in Spanish, represents a rum that has rested in barrels, mellowing and maturing over an extended period, typically anywhere from around three years to several decades. To delve into its story and process, let's embark on a journey through time, distillation, and the influence of oak.

The Sugar Cane Legacy

Rum's origin lies intertwined with sugar cane cultivation, initially introduced to the Caribbean by Christopher Columbus in the late 15th century. The process of fermenting and distilling molasses, a byproduct of sugar production, gradually evolved into rum-making. As trade routes and colonies developed, rum found itself coursing through the global veins, touching the palates of various cultures and classes. Añejo rum, with its refined and complex character, is often linked to the Spanish and Latin influences within the rum-producing world, embodying a meticulous ageing process that graces the spirit with depth and complexity.

Crafting the Spirit

The journey of Añejo rum begins in the verdant fields of sugar cane, which are harvested, crushed, and processed to extract molasses. Fermentation of the molasses follows, employing various yeast strains, often a closely guarded secret of the distillery, to transform the sugars into alcohol and impart distinctive flavours.

The resultant 'wash' is then distilled, typically through column stills, crafting a high-proof alcohol, which is destined for the gentle embrace of wooden barrels. Añejo rum, distinguished by its ageing, embarks on a restful sojourn within these barrels, often former bourbon or sherry casks, allowing the spirit to absorb colours, flavours, and textures from the wood.

Ageing and the Angel’s Share

Añejo rum slumbers within the barrels, slowly evolving under the watchful eyes of the Maestros Roneros (Master Rum Makers). The tropical climates, where many rums are produced, contribute to a significant “Angel’s Share” – a poetic term for the portion of rum lost to evaporation, often more pronounced than its whiskey counterparts due to the warmer climates.

How does it taste?

Upon emerging from its wooden cocoon, Añejo rum reveals a spectrum of flavours, often commencing with the sweet undertones of molasses, cascading through notes of vanilla, tobacco, and sometimes, tropical fruits or spices, dependent upon its ageing environment and initial distillation character.

Notable Añejo Rums

The world of Añejo rum offers a variety of expressions, such as the revered Havana Club 7 Years Old from Cuba, often hailed for its smooth, sweet, and tobacco-tinged profile. Ron Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva from Venezuela is celebrated for its rich, complex, and fruit-forward character, while Mount Gay Extra Old from Barbados brings forth a balanced, oak-infused profile peppered with spices and chocolate.

Industry Acclaim

Añejo rums have basked in global accolades, showcasing the expertise and tradition enveloped within each bottle. For instance, Ron Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva has been adorned with multiple awards, including a Gold Medal at the Miami Rum Festival in 2017.

"Rum, to me, is the spirit that refuses to be put in a box," remarks Bailey Pryor, an Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker and CEO of The Real McCoy Rum. This encapsulates the world of Añejo rums, where each expression holds a unique narrative crafted through time, tradition, and the intimate dialogue between the spirit and the barrels. From the Caribbean isles to South American coasts, Añejo rum represents a symphony of cultures, crafts, and climates, harmoniously converging to give us a spirit that dances gracefully between heritage and hedonism. And so, as glasses clink in celebratory echoes across the globe, the legacy of Añejo rum continues to be savoured, sip by cultured sip.

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