Is it my imagination that there seem to be a lot more wood finished rums out there, than there used to be?
I seem to have 6 in my cupboard at the moment - 3 I really like, and 3 are pretty disgusting to be honest. The three I like all come from the same producer - super star Richard Seale. They are the 2 Foursquare ones, Port and Zinfandel, and his Doorly's XO. The 3 that I don't like are Valdespino Ron Anejo, Abuelo XV Oloroso and Dos Maderas 5+5.
Doorly's XO uses Oloroso casks but has a wonderful subtlety to it. Abuelo is some sort of Chimera - neither rum nor sherry. Its awful. The Valdespino which has a commercial tie up with Abuelo is slightly better, but still (to me at least) near undrinkable. The Dos Maderas only interests me as I find the Pedro Ximenez notes to be quite interesting, but it is like a more alcoholic than normal Pedro Ximenez. Not something I really want to have a glass of.
Why do producers want to make a "rum" [sic] that is so heavily affected by the wood finish that it can barely be considered to be a rum anymore? Is there really a demand for super-heavily wooded rums, which are invariably far too sweet as well? Maybe Seale's rums can take the wood finishing as he adds ZERO sugar to his rums.
BTW, I do realise that one man's meat is another man's poison (as evidenced by the varying reviews on here).
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No, it's not your imagination. We have a choice of either heavily wooded or overly sugared. One has to really search through these reviews to find the right balance.
Way back when, the coopers union in the Kentucky and Tennessee area wound up getting a law passed that a barrel could only be used once to age bourbon or whiskey because it is "unsanitary" to use them again. As a result, there are way too many used bourbon and whiskey barrels, so they get sent to a few companies that refurbish them. Since they are so cheap, they get sent by the boat load to foreign countries that want to use them to age rum and tequila. The port and sherry barrels on the other hand are WAY more expensive, so when they are used for aging rum, the final price tag goes up accordingly.
Choosing the right degree of charring is an art in itself, and as the saying goes, "too long in the wood" can ruin any distilled spirit. Some distillers such as Don Q have a knack for aging and minimizing the wood taste without adding sugar.
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