Thursday, April 29, 2010

Scoreboard: Angel's Share 2, DJ 0

Time flies. The day has come again for me to evacuate the liquor from my small barrel and see what's what.

In the barrel this time was 2L of Cruzan Estate Light rum. What has come out of the barrel is a rum that's darker in color (big surprise!) and its aroma, as I expected, smells highly of wood. But wait a second... why is the rum gone??? Where did my rum go? Damn those angels... the angel's share is certainly a mighty opponent, I've come to learn. It's official: aging things in this barrel for about 5 months tends to yield results that are less than half of the original volume. It's time to taste the rum!

Cruzan Estate Light, at-home aged


Mostly of wood, though it doesn't taste of whiskey, which I feared. There's not much smoke either, like I predicted. What we have here is an aroma mostly of dry wood, with a little rum seeping through.


Honestly, this stuff is fantastic. It's certainly doesn't taste much like a traditional rum. Most of the rum's original flavor is gone... pummeled by the wood. [insert dirty joke here] Much like its aroma, only the slightest rum taste remains as a base, and atop it is a full woody flavor that manages to taste completely of itself, and barely smokey. Although "dry" and "sweet" tend to be opposing terms in the world of wine and spirits, this result manages to be both. The intense woodiness of this stuff lends a very dry mouth feel that's almost bitter, but at the end of sip there's a glorious sweetness that rests and spreads on the tongue. Quite honestly, I don't know where the sweetness came from: this seems sweeter than the Cruzan source material, and I don't think that there would be any sweetness in the barrel. Perhaps the enormous loss of rum via evaporation has concentrated what sugars were there. All I know is that this result is excellent, and I'm very pleased with it.

That next passenger for this barrel is a mixture of grape spirits. I've put in 1 liter of Ansac VS cognac, which is one of the best brandy values I know. It's on the fruity side, with a deep flavor and a sweet finish. Then I poured 750mL of Machu Pisco. Pisco is distilled from grapes like brandy, but is aged less for a more vegetal and spicy taste. Its aroma and flavor are fruity... it almost smells like apple juice to me. I chose to add pisco so that the overall contents of the barrel wasn't too old before I began to age it even more. The resulting mixture had the darkness of a younger gold rum, and I'm ok with that. Oh yeah, and I also added about 200mL of 190 proof grain alcohol... call it my desperate swipe at the angel's share.


  1. I'll insert a dirty joke here.

    Congratulations, man. 200mL is nothing to sneeze at.

  2. Interesting experiment - in line (sort of a diff take) with what Jeffrey Morgenthaler is doing with barrel aged drinks. How different was the result vs what you expected in terms of taste/aroma etc?

    I'm thinking about a new project involving three diff bottle aged drinks. Just need the drive to carry through on it.

  3. Keith,

    It's hard to say. This barrel previously had rye whiskey in it, and so I was unaware the extent to which that would affect the rum (and a fairly subtly flavored one, at that). I expected the rum to come out overwhelmingly smokey, but instead it came out with flavors mostly of wood, and very sweet (because of all the evaporation).

    As for the rye that was previously in there, I had no clue how it would turn out, but the source rye was so strongly flavored that it just tastes like smoke (but it's still very good).

    I really love Morgenthaler's idea about the cocktail aging. Please do try it, and then send me some. :) The other day I met another DC booze blogger Matt Hamlin... he actually tried some of Morgenthaler's aged cocktails on the west coast and loved it, and is thinking of doing it himself soon.

  4. Ralfy (the awesome whisky reviewer on Youtube) did an experiment a while back where he created "rumsky" by combining a cask strength Laphroaig with Wray & Nephew Overproof rum. If I were to make a suggestion, I would try the rum aging again with any overproof rum like the Wray & Nephew either mixed with another favorite rum or whisky and see what happens.

  5. Very interesting.

    This brings to mind Balvenie's Caribbean Cask, which is their whisky that is partly aged in old rum barrels.

    I'm not a huge fan of Laphroaig, but I'm not against this idea. I could see myself trying it with a bourbon.