Rum i.i

What is rum?


Don’t worry this may seem confusing
but we’ll break it down for you

Rum i.ii

Here’s the simple answer:


RUM shall be the spirit obtained only by alcoholic fermentation and distillation of the MOLASSES SYRUPS or SUGAR CANE JUICE or cane sugar. Production must be carried out in such a way that the product has the aroma and flavour derived from the NATURAL VOLATILE ELEMENTS contained in the above materials or formed during the fermentation or distillation process of the named materials.

—RUM, as defined by Jamaica and Barbados, 1937

 



Sound complicated? Don’t fret, this guide will explain the process step by step. But before we begin there is one important rule to keep in mind.

Rule #1—When we talk about rum, alas, there are no rules—it isn’t rushed, it isn’t codified. Our mission today is to convey the standards set by the rummaking experts. Now continue on to discover rum’s Origins.

Master’s Note
You’ve discovered a Master’s Note. A note in the margins from our Master Blenders with valuable details. Keep a lookout for more.

Origin[ôrəjən]n.


1. The point or place where something begins, arises, or is derived. In rum making, it is the country in which the rum originated.

Why should I know rum’s origins?


Knowing the influence of a rum’s origin can tell you more about its craft, style and process. For examplerum of Barbados origin is influenced by British heritage. Know a rum’s origin and get a glimpse of its soul. You may even guess its make and taste before it reaches your palate.

Let us break it      
      down for you


The 3 rum styles


FRENCH [rhum]

SPANISH [ron]

ENGLISH [rum]

Herbaceous, floral. A style of rum originally distilled in the French Caribbean islands. The vegetal notes are derived from sugar cane juice rather than molasses. Rums distilled from sugarcane juice in pot stills are of the French style.

Light with a more rectified taste. Often white due to medium fermentation and distillation in column stills. Aged Spanish rums are brown and aromatics are coaxed from maturation and blending instead of distillation.

Richest and most aromatic, the result of medium to long fermentation. The majority of English rums are distilled in pot stills and cask-aged for years at a time. They are the longest established style and loved for their quality.

Master’s Note
Eighty to ninety percent of sugar, one of rum's essential ingredients, was produced in the Caribbean during this 18th century.

Origins ii.iii

Barbados
the birthplace of rum


To understand rum’s craft, we must first know its history. Settlers sailed to the island of Barbados because its climate and land were ideal for producing sugar cane. But British sugar growers abandoned their aristocratic roots, rolled up their frocks and applied their knack for harvesting flavour to the distillation of Barbadian rum, simultaneously setting the stage for a global economy, and short pants. Rum was first invented here by English colonists, making Barbadian rum of English style — the richest, most aromatic of the three.

Master’s Note
Mount Gay was founded in Barbados. We’re proud to say we are the oldest, longest continuous rum distiller since 1703.

Sober Beginnings


The story of the world’s oldest rum

Every great story begins with a time and a place. The oldest surviving evidence of rum production dates back to 1703 in Barbados and is attributed to Mount Gay Rum Distilleries. The document inventories the property and essential equipment:

"two stone windmills . . . one boiling house with seven coppers, one curing house and one still house."  

This deed confirms rum production was underway by 1703, making Mount Gay not only the oldest rum in Barbados, but world over. Sir John Gay took over the plantation’s management for his friend, John Sober. He streamlined the business, fine-tuned the distillation process and employed quality controls for fermentationcrafting an aromatic, superior spirit. In 1801, after Sir Johns death, his good friend honored him by renaming the plantation Mount Gay. He is recognized as The Father of Barbadian Rum.

We know where you came from
Let’s find out where we are going





Simple Ingredients


for a complex spirit

1. Water

2. Yeast

3. Sugar cane or its byproducts
 
 

Now that you know the ingredients let's get to how it's made

Water

Yeast

Molasses or Sugar Cane Juice

Barbadian water is like nothing else. Barbados was formed from coral limestone, resulting in mineral-rich, naturally-purified H2O. Mount Gay has used water from it's private well in St. Lucy for over 300 years, delivering unparalleled taste. Key to fermentation and flavour, the rum’s profiles begin to develop when crucial elements such as congeners and esthers are attracted to the minerals found in water.

Yeast feeds on sugar (and the sugar in molasses) to convert it into alcohols. There are two types of yeast used at Mount Gay to initiate fermentation. In addition to the proprietary yeast used in both types of our fermentation, a one-of-a-kind, natural yeast found in Barbadian air is used in open-air fermentation. This adds to the rum’s aromatics. Proprietary yeast is only used in controlled environments.

How sweet it is. Sugar cane and its byproducts give rum its characteristic flavour notes. Mount Gay uses Caribbean sugarcane, among the finest in the world. It yields exceptional molasses that renders flavour notes of ripe banana, sweet almond, mocha and vanilla. Different forms of sugar cane move rums into two separate ingredient classifications which you will discover soon.

What is molasses?


Molasses is a sweet tasting, honey-like syrup that results from sugar refinement. Molasses provide the sugars that convert to alcohols, but also are comprised of organic compounds and minerals that are later transformed into unique aromatics in the rum. Molasses is created from sugarcane that is harvested and stripped of its leaves. Juice is extracted and then reduced through boiling to increase its sugar concentration. Barbadian molasses was called “Black Gold” because of the additional revenue it provided. It eventually produced more money than sugar itself.


Ingredient Classifications


Rums diverge into two ingredient classifications. Depending on the type of sugar used during fermentation, each has its own aroma and taste.

Rum Agricole [aɡʁikɔl]
Sugarcane Juice 

These rums tend to have herbaceous, floral aromas. Most French style rums are made from 100% sugarcane juice that is fermented, distilled and aged.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Rum Industrial [inˈdəstrəál]
Molasses

When sugar mills extract sugar from sugarcane juice, molasses is released during the process. Because molasses is created through the industrial process of sugar refinement, rums made from molasses are known as a Rum Industrial. It does not mean that the rums are developed through an industrial process. Rums made from molasses have richer fruitier notes such as ripe banana.

Master’s Note
Mount Gay is a rum industrial but there is nothing “industrial” about it—our rum is handcrafted by over 100 specialists from start to finish. It’s classified as industrial because molasses comes from sugar refinement.

WHICH INGREDIENTS ARE USED TO MAKE RUM


Almond   Banana   Water
 
Yeast   Dirt   Mocha
 
Vanilla   Alcohol   Molasses






Master Blender Review


Take into mind, ingredients bring out a rum's flavours. Despite a flavour profile, only three ingredients are used in the rum-making process. Yeast, water and molasses coax the four flavours for which Mount Gay is known: banana, vanilla, mocha and almond.          

Fermentation iv.i

Fermentation
[fərmənˈtāSHən] n.


1. the natural metabolic process in which a bacteria, yeast or other microorganisms convert a carbohydrate, such as sugar, into alcohols by yeast and carbon dioxide, under the right conditions. 2. This first all-important stage is when rum’s personality develops, requiring skill and experience to draw flavours out of molasses at proper proportions.

Mount Gay’s Methods


Mount Gay harnesses two types of fermentation: controlled and open-air. Both of these methods produce unique liquids that are blended to create Mount Gay’s unique flavour.

Master’s Note
Water + Molasses + Yeast = Wash. Wash is the final product of fermentation and is used in the distillation process. Mount Gay harnesses two types of fermentation: open air and controlled.

Fermentation iv.ii

Fermentation Methods


Controlled Environment Fermentation

Closed fermentation is integral to perfecting Mount Gay’s signature formula. The two-stage process is performed by our experts. They pitch selected yeast into a pre-fermenter container and then move the fully-grown yeast to a new container for fermentation. When the Brix, temperature, pH and alcohol levels reach Mount Gay quality—it is ready. Controlled fermentation balances out the varied results of open-air fermentation. It ferments in an enclosed space and is carefully observed.

  • Alcohol by volume. Wash is ready for distillation at 7-10% alcohol by volume (ABV).
  • Time. Process requires approximately 36-48 hours. If there is a mistake, we must start completely over—the expert hands at Mount Gay must ensure congener profiles are perfect through the rum making process.
  • Proprietary yeast. This predictable yeast creates a more controlled, less aromatic wash
  • Distillation. Fermented wash distills in column stills

Open-air Fermentation

Atop a grassy hill in St. Lucy, five wooden vats breathe in Barbadian flavour from the open air. To begin the fermentation process, proprietary yeast is utilized, but unlike the controlled fermentation, the environment controls the yeast’s growth. It is the terroir, or natural environment that imbues our rum with its characteristic taste. Mount Gay alone is home to this atmosphere that no distillery can replicate. Mount Gay also regulates the yeast collected by open-air fermentation - so as to regulate the power of wild type yeast. 

  • Alcohol by volume. Wash is ready for distillation at 6-8% alcohol by volume (ABV)
  • Time. Process requires between 36 and 72 hours
  • Natural Yeast. The fermentation benefits from the presence of natural yeast and takes its course based on the ambient temperature and other natural conditions in the fermenter
  • Distillation. Fermented wash distills in pot stills

 
 
 






Master Blender Review


Remember, fermentation is the stage when flavour blossoms. Coral-filtered water, natural yeast and molasses combine with the temperature and remarkable air on our St. Lucy hilltop to give Mount Gay Rum its special quality. Since opening the doors of our first still house, open-air fermentation has been conducted in the terroir of St. Lucy.

Distillation

[distYÈlSHYn]n.

1. the action of purifying a liquid by a process of heating and cooling.

A craft distilled over 300 years


In rum making, distillation separates rum from water in the fermented wash through selective evaporation and condensation. When we say, "selective" we mean the behind-the-scenes craftsmanship of gifted Distillers. They have defined rums character for over three hundred years, summoning spirits with extraordinary flavour from fermented wash.

Two stills for the perfect blend


Mount Gay uses two distillation processes: the pot stills and the column still. Each process gives rum a distinct characteristic. Copper used in the stills pulls pesky sulfurs from the alcohol, and all thats good rises. By blending both distillates Mount Gay imparts its rum with a deep, aromatic profile and full body.

How Do Stills Work?


This diagram shows the basics for how a simple still works. A still separates alcohol from water in the fermented liquid, or wash. A heating element boils the wash and vapors containing alcohol begin to rise in the boiling chamber, or the Kettle. It then travels through the Lyne Arm over and down into the condenser where it returns to a liquid state. The finished liquid is referred to as a distillate and finishes its journey in the collector.


The Pot Still


Pot stills were the earliest type of stills. Composed of a simple pot to boil the mixture and an output neck or coil that alcohol vapors pass through to be condensed into a liquid. The aroma and flavour from the fermented wash is captured by the shape and size of the pot still and this unique, lengthy process. At Mount Gay, two Scottish and two Spanish pot stills are managed by (aka) Blues, our pot still operator for over thirty years. Alongside three generations of Master Blenders, Blues hand selects and separates the hearts of the distillate from the heads and tails and prepares them for the barrel. Each still needs a full day to produce one batch, just enough to fill 45 barrels.

Scent Profile

Bold and aromatic profile with notes of banana, mocha, vanilla and almond.
 
 

Flavour Profile

Flavour profiles emerge from imperfections in the pot still. Since pot stills are wider and shorter, aromatic elements are far more pronounced.

Process

Pot Still distillation is a batch process. At Mount Gay, we distill our rums twice in the pot stills, and these pot still rums are called "Double Distillates".

Cuts

The heads undergo further distillation, hearts move on to aging, and tails are discarded.
 

Master’s Note
The distillers are a bit superstitious. When a still is replaced, they insist on the exact shape, dings and all, as the previous still. It ensures a consistent quality and flavor, of course.

How Pot Stills Work


Wash from Open-Air Fermentation is heated in Mount Gay Pot Stills. Alcohol vapors rise as the mixture is heated. As the vapor travels through each chamber, or retort, it is heated and the ABV% increases each time. The vapors then run through the Condenser, reverting to a liquid. The liquid is then collected and separated into heads, hearts and tails. The Pot Still is run for a second time, this makes this distillation a batch process. The heads are heated again in the second run, note the higher ABV% this time around. The distillate is heated in each retort once again to continue to raise the ABV%. The vapors again run through the Condenser, turning into a liquid. The wash is now a Double Distillate and is ready for barreling.


The Column Still


At Mount Gay, copper plates compose the column still chambers. Wash enters near the top and instantly sinks. The still is constantly heated from its bottom, causing alcohol vapors and other volatile molecules to rise from the wash. When vapors make contact with copper plates they condense and the heavier elements that make up the aromatics remain behind. The result is a distillate with a lighter, more consistent aromatic flavour profile. Even so, aromas are quite present, and when distillates from column stills and pot stills are combined they create that perfect Mount Gay blend.

Scent Profile

A scent profile that is sharp, clean, and citrusy.
 
 
 
 
 

Flavour Profile

Flavour profile is neutral and balances out the rich flavour from the pot still. The still's height creates a more predictable flavour.
 
 
 

Process

The process is continuous. The wash is routinely added to the column still to maintain a constant flow of evaporation. At Mount Gay, we distill our rums once in the column still, and these column still rums are called "Single Distillates".

Master’s Note
Mount Gay’s column stills are shorter than most. This helps generate higher levels of aromatics than other rums.

How Column Stills Work


Wash from proprietary yeast to produce a more predictable wash that will balance out the open-air mash. This wash will then go into a column still for distillation">Controlled Environment Fermentation is poured down into the column where it is heated by steam causing vapors containing alcohol to rise. The vapors continuously rise hitting heated plates along their way, each time they become more and more rectified. As the vapors rise there is a point in the Column Shell where the impurities in the mixture are removed, allowing only the good to rise. The vapors then travel through the Vapor Draw to the Condenser. The condensed vapors then go through the Reflux, bringing them back to the Column Shell. This process helps to strengthen the top of the still and make the final distillate more rectified and smooth. After the vapors go through the Vapor Draw one last time they travel through the Condenser and into the Collector, ready for barreling. This wash is now called a Single Distillate.


We're Still on Stills?


There’s a lot to distillation. For quick reviews, this page is your reference to find points of difference between our two distillation methods.

Pot Stills

  • Distill wash from open-air fermentation
  • Distill each batch twice, creating “Double Distillates” that are full of flavour
  • Have more pronounced aromatic elements because of their short, wide shape
  • Produce distillates in batches

 
 
 
 

Column Stills

  • Distill wash from proprietary yeast to produce a more predictable wash that will balance out the open-air mash. This wash will then go into a column still for distillation">controlled environment fermentation
  • Distill once, creating “Single Distillates” with a consistent flavour
  • Have lighter aromatics coaxed due to the still’s height
  • Produce distillates continuously and remain heated for consistent evaporation
  • Help balance out the extremely flavourful "Double Distillates" from pot stills

Distillation
Review


Choose true or false based on what you learned from this lesson.

Question 1 of 6

1.) Distillation is the process that separates the fermented liquid from the spirits allowing the alcoholic vapors to rise.

TRUE FALSE

Next Question

Choose true or false based on what you learned from this lesson.

Question 2 of 6

2.) Pot still distillates are more aromatic because of the still’s shape and require the distiller’s expertise to separate out the distillates. These distillates meet the Master Blender’s guidelines of “being ready” for the barrels.

TRUE FALSE

Next Question

Choose true or false based on what you learned from this lesson.

Question 3 of 6

3.) Column still distillates are more rectified and smooth because of the still’s height and continuous processing. These flavors help balance out the pot still distillates to create Mount Gay’s unique profile.

TRUE FALSE

Next Question

Choose true or false based on what you learned from this lesson.

Question 4 of 6

4.) Column still rums are distilled once and also referenced as “single distillates”.

TRUE FALSE

Next Question

Choose true or false based on what you learned from this lesson.

Question 5 of 6

5.) Pot still rums are distilled twice and also referenced as “Double Distillates”.

TRUE FALSE

Next Question

Choose true or false based on what you learned from this lesson.

Question 6 of 6

6.) A pot still is superior to a column still because of the abundant flavors in the pot still distillate.

TRUE FALSE

Neither still is superior. Together they help create Mount Gay’s signature blend.

Maturity vs. Age


Maturity is earned, age is not. So while you might hear people talk of how long a spirit is aged, we believe, you cannot measure character in years. Many factors impact both rum’s maturity and the way it interacts with the wood. This includes type of barrels, wood, char and the way the barrels are stored. In short, it’s ready when it’s ready.

Tropical Aging


In Barbados, the average temperature is 86° F and our rums evaporate at a rate five times faster than the rate of a typical cognac or whiskey distiller. During maturation a portion of rum can be lost through evaporation. The distilleries refer to this portion as the Angels Share. Now that’s a heavenly drink.

Master’s Note
Maturation was first recognized by English sailors in the 18th century. They stored rum in barrels to sail overseas and noticed it was smoother and tasted even better after the voyage home. Sailors would prove passage to the Caribbean by returning with a barrel of Barbadian rum—thus began Mount Gay’s relationship with maritime culture. 


How Rums Build Character


At Mount Gay, the rum distillates mature in toasted, American white oak barrels that once contained American whiskey. The charred oak acts like a sieve and traps some of the larger alcohol molecules in the spirit, which if present, can give rum a very rough edge. As a rum matures, it leaves behind the rough alcohol notes, becomes smoother and rounder while picking up the smoky, oaky notes as well as hints of whiskey. This process helps harmonize the various qualities of the spirit. Different stills require varying times to mature. A dedicated expert relies on science and years of experience to determine when the rum is ready.

Pot Still

Distillates need more time because fiery aromatics take longer to tame into robust aromatics.

Column Still

Distillates take less time to mature -they grow up quick. 
 

Master’s Note
Mount Gay Black Barrel is further matured in deeply charred bourbon oak barrels. This second maturation, also known as “finishing", provides Black Barrel with deeper more robust bourbon-like notes, such as rich smoke, sweet vanilla, and a peppery spice.

It’s Ready
When It’s Ready


Allen Smith is the current Master Blender at Mount Gay Distilleries. It is he who decides when barrels are “ready”. In tropical Caribbean climates, the process is unpredictable. The same type of rum can mature in as long as three years or as quickly as six months. For centuries, Master Blenders like Smith have relied on their science and expertly-trained noses to guide them through this delicate process.

Master’s Note
As you learned, a rum is “ready when it’s ready”. In the Caribbean we refer to rum that is not fully matured as “green rum". Nobody likes an immature rum, green or otherwise.

MATURATION
REVIEW


Choose true or false based on what you learned from this lesson.

Question 1 of 6

1.) Maturation is not the same as age.

TRUE FALSE

Next Question

Choose true or false based on what you learned from this lesson.

Question 2 of 6

2.) Mount Gay rums are all matured in American oak barrels.

TRUE FALSE

Next Question

Choose true or false based on what you learned from this lesson.

Question 3 of 6

3.) Sailors realized the benefits of maturation after sailing back to England with barrels of rum.

TRUE FALSE

Next Question

Choose true or false based on what you learned from this lesson.

Question 4 of 6

4.) Distillates from a pot still mature slower than those of a column still because those flavours take longer to be tamed.

TRUE FALSE

Next Question

Choose true or false based on what you learned from this lesson.

Question 5 of 6

5.) The Barbadian climate matures rum slower than any other climate.

TRUE FALSE

Barbadian climates mature rum faster and less predictably than other climates. Great weather makes for great rum.

Next Question

Choose true or false based on what you learned from this lesson.

Question 6 of 6

Maturity is earned, age is not. Finish this sentence: “It’s ready, when it’s                   

NOSED
TASTED
READY


What is Blending?


McDonald Jessamy

Jerry Edwards

Allen Smith

1980-1985
Responsible for elevating Eclipse to global prestige.

1985-2005
Crafted the original XO formula.
 

2005-Present
The creator of Black Barrel and highly-acclaimed 1703.

Blending is the alchemical combination of controlled practices and skilled intuition—an art form practiced by passionate scientists. The blending of both pot still and column still distillates differentiates the taste and flavour of Mount Gay Rum. Master Blenders oversee the production of Mount Gay’s existing rums and are responsible for developing new blends and formulas. Three generations of Master Blenders perfected this craft.

Allen Smith
on Blending


Blending is an art that shapes the desirable characteristics of a spirit into a well-balanced rum consistent with its name—giving aromatics, flavour and overall mouth feel. To achieve consistent, well-balanced rums (for example, Black Barrel should always taste like Black Barrel) we use incremental addition. Incremental addition is when a blender carefully adds small amounts of rum to another until desired balance and aromatics are achieved. Blending isn’t so simple. Some think blending is just mixing liquids together, but it’s much more. Persistence, overall flavour, balance and of course, a pleasant aromatic all come into play. These are delicate components in balancing a perfect blend.            

Blending viii.iii

A good rum
is well-nosed
.


Allen Smith plays an invaluable role at Mount Gay Rum Distilleries. He noses barrels daily to determine when a rum is ready.  

He works closely with the Distiller on all rums in Mount Gay’s collection, inspecting 50-80 barrels a day and tasting, so he says, only when unsure. The barrels are approximately 43% alcohol by volume (ABV) when Smith noses them.

Blending Review


Learn more about our Master Blenders.

McDonald Jessamy 1980 -1985
Known for his humor and directness, he worked tirelessly to ensure the best blend -through trial and error, strong instincts and sensitive nose. He bridged the legacy of expertly crafted rums and made Eclipse a global phenomenon. His motto was “Keep working to perfection”.

Jerry Edwards 1985 - 2005
The Master Blender responsible for crafting XO. He believed rums had premium potential and worked years on a formula which scored higher than the best bourbons and rums on the market. Edwards craft involved patience. His motto? “Let it rest for a while”.

Allen Smith 2005 - Present
Mount Gay’s current Master Blender. Smith's Black Barrel blend brought the luxury of premium rum within reach. He created our most superior spirit, 1703, which rivals the most luxurious spirits in the world-rum or otherwise. His motto, “It’s ready, when it’s ready”

At Mount Gay, Master Blenders shape the desirable characteristics of a spirit through craft, patience and experience.


Grateful


(ˈɡrātfəl) adj. 1. feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness

Thank you for dedicating the time to study the historic origins and craftsmanship of Mount Gay Distilleries.

Our Master Blenders are committed to your understanding of the secrets behind Mount Gay’s unique spirit. We hope you leave our Guide to Rummaking with a new level of expertise and a shared respect for the work we celebrate.  

We invite you to join us at the Mount Gay Experience to learn more about our rich heritage and the time-proven craft of the world’s oldest rum.

You’ve studied the lessons. Completed our exercises. In the words of our Master Blenders, “it’s ready, when it’s ready.” And you, my friend, are ready.

You’ve learned barrels about rummaking and Mount Gay. Here’s a list of the most important facts we covered.

Master Blender Recap


You’ve learned barrels about rummaking and Mount Gay. Here’s a list of the most important facts we covered.

The Basics

Rum is a spirit made from molasses or sugar cane.

At Mount Gay, we believe there are no codified rules to making rum.

Origins

There are 3 rum styles: Spanish, English, French. Mount Gay is an English style rum.

Barbados is the birthplace of rum. Mount Gay, founded in 1703 on Barbados, is the longest continuous rum distiller.

Ingredients

Rum is made from 3 simple ingredients: water, yeast, and sugar (or its byproducts). Mount Gay uses unique coral-filtered water, a blend of proprietary yeast and natural yeast from the Barbadian air, and molasses.

There are two types of rum classified by their ingredients: Rum Agricole which is made from sugarcane juice, and Rum Industrial which is made from Molasses. Mount Gay is a Rum Industrial but the molasses is all that’s is the only “industrial” thing about it.

Fermentation

Mount Gay uses two fermentation methods:

Open-air fermentation: Using natural yeast found in the air atop our St. Lucy hill, wash ferments in wooden vats outside. Open-air fermentation provides flavourful fermentation. This wash then moves into a pot still for distillation.

Controlled-environment fermentation: Using proprietary yeast and a closed environment for the vats, this process yields controlled, consistent flavors. This wash moves to column stills for distillation. The distillates balance out the strong flavours from open-air fermentation.

Fermentation is when flavour blossoms. Distillation purifies the liquid through a process of heating and cooling.

Distillation

Mount Gay uses two different stills with copper plating to distill rum. The copper traps sulfurs and alcohol vapors float to the top.

  • Pot Stills:
    • Distill wash from open-air fermentation
    • Create double distillates full of flavour
    • Distillates Have more pronounced aromatic elements
    • Produce distillates in batches
    • Master Distiller works between batches to craft the perfect double distillate, carefully separating the distillates ready to move on to maturation
  • Column Stills:
    • Distill wash from controlled-environment fermentation
    • Create single distillates with a predictable flavor
    • Distillates have sharper, clean scent due to the still’s height
    • Produce distillates continuously and remain heated for consistent evaporation
    • Help balance out the extremely flavorful double distillates from pot stills.

Maturation

Maturity is earned, age is not. In short, it’s ready when it’s ready

Mount Gay rums mature in toasted white oak barrels.

a. Pot Still distillates take longer to mature because their rich aromatics are harder to tame.

b. Column Still distillates take less time to mature, they grow up quick.

c. Master Blender Allen Smith decides when a rum is truly ready.

Blending

Blending is an art that shapes the desirable characteristics of a spirit into a well-balanced rum consistent with its name—giving aromatics, flavour and overall mouth feel.

There are three generations of Master Blenders:

  • McDonald Jessamy. 1980-1985. Responsible for elevating Eclipse to global prestige.
  • Jerry Edwards. 1985-2005. Crafted the original XO formula.
  • Allen Smith. 2005-Present. Created Black Barrel and the highly-acclaimed 1703.

The Master Blender plays an invaluable role at Mount Gay Rum Distilleries. He noses barrels daily to determine when rums are ready.

The Master Blender, Allen Smith, noses 50-80 barrels a day. The barrels are approximately 43% alcohol by volume (ABV) when Smith noses them.

Thanks Again

Like our rums, we are grateful you to took the time to mature with us.