By Alan Markoff, alan@cfp,ky
Monday 4th August, 2008 Posted: 16:11 CIT (21:11 GMT)
It might not be a medal in the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, but Seven Fathoms Rum has brought home silver from one of the largest and most prestigious annual spirits competitions in the United States.
The rum category tastings of the 2008 International Review of Spirits Competition took place in May in Chicago. More than 80 rums from around the world were entered in the tasting. In being awarded a silver medal, Cayman’s only locally distilled rum scored 88 points, a score that indicates it is highly recommended by the Beverage Tasting Institute.
“We are very pleased with this result in our first ever tasting,” said Michael Kennedy, one of the co–founders of Seven Fathoms Rum. “As a small and new craft distillery, we were able to beat out several major distilleries and entries from countries with large established rum industries.”
Seven Fathoms just had its official launch in May. The spirit, which is being marketed as a premium sipping rum, uses a unique underwater maturation process. Oak barrels are filled with the distilled rum and dropped to a depth of 42 feet – or seven fathoms – and allowed to age there.
The idea is that the constant motion of the sea tides quickens the aging process, partially because of the rum’s increased interaction with the oak. As a result, the rum takes on characteristics – like smoothness and colour – of much longer aged spirits.
Although Seven Fathoms is thought to be the first rum – or any other spirit – to be aged underwater, French winemakers have used the underwater aging technique and recently one of France’s oldest champagne makers also tired the process.
The tasters at the International Review of Spirits Competition issued this taste profile of the rum, which it called “an interesting ride on a wave of flavors”: “Brilliant amber colour. Caramelized, roasted nut and spicy, raisin bread pudding aromas follow through on a round entry to a dryish–medium body with a wave of black liquorice, coffee candy, and pepper. Finishes with a pleasant spicy mocha, nutshell, metallic mineral ore, and white pepper fade.”
The rum is only sold in bottles at Big Daddy’s liquor stores.
“It’s been selling amazingly,” said Walker Romanica, another one of the Seven Fathoms co–founders. “We’ve already sold out of our first three batches and the fourth batch went into the stores on Monday [28 July].”
In addition to the retail sales, Seven Fathoms is available at several bars and restaurants, including The Ritz–Carlton, Grand Cayman, Breezes by the Bay, Sapphire and Mezza. Mr. Romanica said the rum has become a popular purchase by tourists.
Seven Fathoms Rum also appears in the September 2008 edition of Caribbean Travel & Life.
The increasing demand has stretched the limited production capabilities of Seven Fathoms.
“Our absolute focus right now is trying to increase production,” Mr. Romanica said. “We’ve brought in some more people to work in the distillery and we’re expanding the facility.
“In the near future we’re looking to purchase a bigger still, which is a pretty significant investment.”