|You may have noticed I love rum. Almost half the spirits reviewed here are rums and I have an ever expanding collection, currently over 30. It is a spirit with a history and versatility like no other. Since I plan on covering rum as a topic in my tips page soon, today I’ll focus on the rum in my glass: the Atlantico Private Cask. This Dominican rum is the brainchild of Aleco Azqueta and Brandon Lieb, who combined their experience in marketing with their passion for rum.
The Atlantico Private Cask is not your average blend. It is a hand-crafted rum created through the marriage of sugarcane juice distillate with rum made from molasses which, as far as I am aware, is unique to Atlantico. To put this in context, French style “Rhum Agricole” and Brazilian Cachaça, are made by distilling pressed sugarcane juice, which creates a light floral rum with vegetal notes. Rum made from molasses is more common, as molasses are a by-product of the sugar industry. These rums are usually heavier and richer than the French style.
When Atlantico make their Private Cask, the molasses and sugarcane rums are aged separately for 2 to 3 years. Most rums in the Dominican Republic are made using a Column Still, which produces a lighter style of rum. However, Atlantico have a small percentage of their molasses rum made in pot stills and this intensifies the heavier, rich style of rum. The fresh cane and molasses rums are then blended together and aged in ex-bourbon casks for a further 2 years. After 4 to 5 years of ageing the rum is added to a Solera System (see Sherry article for more details) and this particular Solera has an average age of 15 years. As if that wasn’t complicated enough, before being bottled the Solera (bottom level) is partially drawn off and freshened with aged Aguardiente (“Firewater” Agua – water; Ardiente –fiery). Aguardiente has many definitions in Hispanic countries ranging from being grape brandy used to fortify Port in Portugal to an anise flavoured spirit in Colombia; in this instance Aguardiente is a sugarcane juice rum that is distilled at a lower level of alcohol and retains more of the fresher vegetal aromas.
After this unusual series of ageing procedures the rum is bottled and the label is stuck on by hand and numbered individually. Everything about the Private Cask exudes quality: the rum is painstakingly hand blended by the Maestros Roneros (Master Rum Blenders), the square bottles are designed and made in Italy (they resemble posh olive oil bottles) and not forgetting the most important element, the palate.
|The Atlantico Private Cask has a lovely golden colour with glints of orange in direct light. The nose has intense aromas of caramel, vanilla and hints of earthy/vegetal notes. The palate is full of gorgeous intensity, there is definite sweetness without being cloying. It is brimming with flavours of milk chocolate, toffee, and hints of red fruit. The finish is long, and thanks to the tannins from the oak, slightly drying which in my opinion makes it the perfect complement to a cigar.