Libations creates UK’s ‘first tropically aged’ rum

Leeds-based Libations Rum has released two expressions as part of its Cask Reserve Series.

The brand, which crowdfunded more than £185,000 (US$236,000) to build its rum distillery and blending house in 2021, aged the rums in its ‘warm room’, where the team can control ambient temperature and humidity.

“There is an element of consistency that comes with the warm room; however, it’s the changing temperature that creates the real impact,” said co-founder Rory Armstrong.

The room is kept at a constant temperature of between 15ºC and 30ºC, however, the heat cycled between these temperatures encourages the casks to expand and contract. The brand says that this process imparts more nuance, flavour and colour into the rum.

Armstrong continued: “The ‘warm room’ was inspired by the rickhouses of Kentucky. It’s common for barrel stores there to be heated during the harsh winters to keep the maturation moving. We run with that principle.

“We wanted to age and finish rum with a vastly different nature than that of continentally aged rum.

“The project as a whole required lots of trial and error; we’re breaking new ground here, so there’s always an element of uncertainty. A couple of good examples of this are the tolerances of the casks, along with what kind of evaporation loss we’d encounter.”

The Cask Reserve Series is a series of limited edition bottlings that aim to shine a light on some of the world’s best rum distilleries.

The first release, Libations Signature Blend Rioja Finish, comprises 347 bottles. Its rum is the Libations Signature Blend – which comprises rums from the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Jamaica, and Guyana – which spent three months in a Rioja wine cask in the warm room. It has an ABV of 45% and retails for £49 (US$62).

The second release, Libations Barbados 12 Year, is made up of 247 bottles, with its rum originating from the Foursquare Distillery in Barbados. Laid down in 2011, the expression was finished in an ex-Pedro Ximénez Sherry cask for two months in the warm room. It has an ABV of 47% and retails for £84 (US$106).

“The Cask Reserve Series is a real labour of love,” explained Armstrong. “Not only are we ageing and finishing some of the finest rums on the planet, but we’re also bringing something undeniably innovative to the category. Nobody in the UK has done this before; it’s really exciting that our small independent rum company has pioneered a new method of ageing.”

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