Rum Barbados: one of the finest spirits in the world
Rum Barbados: a soft, light and fresh spirit, a unique and precious spirit to be tasted by closing your eyes.
A rum aged for 20 years in bourbon barrels and takes its name from the small church that stands next to the distillery. This is how one of the most refined spirits in the world is born.
Rum: the distillate of sugar cane
Rum Barbados is a distillate produced throughout the equatorial belt where sugar cane is grown, from which it derives. It is called Rum in English-speaking countries, Ron in Spanish-speaking countries and Rhum in French-speaking countries.
Sugar cane, Saccharum officinarum, is a herbaceous plant that has its natural habitat in subtropical countries, characterized by temperate climatic conditions and an absence of strong temperature changes. It is a plant native to tropical Asia, known since 200 BC. and introduced in Europe by the Arabs, first in Spain (700 AD) and then in Sicily (900 AD).
For many centuries, cane sugar remained a rare product, initially used only for medicinal purposes. In fact, it only spread towards the end of the fifteenth century, when Christopher Columbus took some plants in the Azores and transported them to the western colonies to obtain sugar and rum. Today that area is the most important for the cultivation of sugar cane.
Extraction of cane sugar
This plant reaches a height of 2.5-3 meters and its harvest takes place in the period between February and July: once by hand, with the use of large machetes, nowadays modern agricultural machines are exploited to help in the topping of the cane and the elimination of the leaves, leaving only the stem, which represents the richest part of sugar (up to 15-20%).
We then move on to the pressing and defibration phase of the stems, extracting a high-density sugary juice, called vesou. The latter is filtered, decanted and fermented with yeasts called caipiria. Following the fermentation, the distillation takes place inside discontinuous stills to give the agricultural Rum, obtained from the juice of the sugar cane. This brandy represents only 10% of the Rums on the market and its complexity makes it predisposed to aging.
Inside the sugar refineries most of the vesou is processed to extract the cane sugar. Rum is obtained from a by-product of sugar processing: molasses. This contains residual sugars and is the result of the fermentation of water added to selected yeasts.
The distillation phase takes place in continuous column apparatus, from which industrial Rum is obtained, which is neutral and very prone to aging and possible mixing.
The forms of distillation vary according to the area, but the most used is the column still. In the production of smooth Rums, the most important phase of distillation is aging, carried out in oak barrels from various areas of the world.
The types of Rum
There are different types of Rum, from the Blanco or White, the unaged Rum up to the Gold Label, the Rum with a short aging in wood.
Then there are the Dark or Black Label, or dark Rums that are characterized by the addition of caramel.
When we find bottles with labels showing the age, they are products that have had a short period of rest in wooden barrels.
The areas of origin
Many Rums are flavored with cactus juice, raisins, vanilla, caramel or orange peel, which add color and complexity.
The area of origin also affects the final quality of the Rum and the most famous is the Caribbean Sea area.
Cuba produces large quantities of sugar cane, from which sugar exported all over the world is obtained, but also excellent Spanish Ron, lighter, obtained from molasses and distilled in continuous plants.
In Jamaica Rum is obtained from molasses with a distillation in column plants. Then we have Puerto Rico, the smallest of the Greater Antilles, and the largest rum producer in the world. This industrial rum is obtained from molasses and distilled in column plants and exported throughout the United States.
Rum is also the national drink par excellence of the Dominican Republic, where sugar cane plantations extend all over the southern coast. To the east we find the Republic of Haiti, which produces very delicate, gentle and soft Rums, ideal to be enjoyed with a good cigar.
Barbados is the easternmost island of the Lesser Antilles, whose economy is based on the cultivation of sugar cane.