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The Theory of Aging Cruzan Rum

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Barrel House at Cruzan Rum Distillery

Cruzan Rum uses one-time use bourbon barrels from Jim Beam Bourbon Distillery to age their St. Croix rums.

Photo Credit: © Shannon Graham
The way in which a rum’s age is calculated can be slightly confusing, especially for those used to seeing 15-40 year old whiskey bottlings. Rum seems much younger than aged spirits from colder climates but in reality it is the warmer, tropical climates where much of the world’s rum is produced that speeds up the aging process. When you see a 10 or 15 year old rum it is very old for this particular spirit and on occasion you’ll even see a 20+ year rum, which are often the oldest and highest priced. On average 8 years is a decently aged rum but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire blend is 8 years old.

The age of rum on the bottle is the youngest of all the rums mixed into that particular blend and Cruzan’s product line is a great example. Cruzan Light is aged for a mere 14 months, just enough to get some oak, while their 2 Year is a blend of rums aged anywhere between 2-4 years. Cruzan’s Single Barrel, however, has a slightly more complex journey through the barrel. It begins with a blend of rums that average between 5 ½ and 6 years old, which once married are barreled again in unused oak casks for another 6-9 months. This smaller batch rum is held moved into stainless steel, temperature-controlled holding tanks until enough has been finished to constitute a bottling run.

Besides the new barrels that temporarily house Cruzan Single Barrel, all barrels used at the distillery are one-time use bourbon barrels, the majority of which once held Jim Beam bourbon. This whiskey barrel technique has been used at the distillery continuously over the last 45 years and if you pay close enough attention you’ll find slight bourbon characteristics inside even the Light Rum. This is also aided slightly by small charred chips placed inside each barrel.

One other difference in Cruzan’s aging process compared to many whiskies is that there is no need to rotate casks within the barrel house. This is due to the fact that the storage facilities are designed to let that warm Caribbean breeze flow freely and evenly hit each of the barrels whether they are at the top or the bottom of the stack.

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