Wright & Brown Barrel #27 Release #2 (Brandy Barrel Finish): Release and Tasting
Oh boy, it’s here! - On Tuesday Earl of Wright & Brown dropped off the second half of our Barrel #27 Rum, the half that spent an extra 6 months being finished in several Brandy quarter cask barrels. And man, was it worth the wait!
To recap for those who may have missed it: at the end of 2017 we introduced two rums from Wright & Brown. One was their Small Batch 001 release and the other a Single Barrel release that we personally picked out (check out the full detailed story of the first release we got from Dan and Earl over here). Being a singe-run rum, our Barrel #27 rum is a rich, dry rum with a hefty dose of funk and molasses. It was an instant hit. At that time, we released only half of our barrel - the second half was already doing time in brandy barrels - soaking in the brandy and picking up some amazing fruit flavors along the way.
Now that it’s here, we can’t wait for you to try it - we’re holding an extra special tasting this Saturday, April 14th, from 1-3 pm. Earl will be on hand to pour and chat all things rum about all three of the fantastic expressions we’ll now have in stock.
[Just our rum, hanging out in some brandy barrels]
So what’s the story with this Brandy Barrel Finished Single-run Rum?
Here’s a little about it in Earl’s own words: "The rum was aged for the first 2 years in a 60 gallon Limousin (French) Oak cask. Half was bottled and released and we finished the second half for an additional 6 months in quarter cask brandy barrels. This single-run rum, which was distilled to proof, is very high-ester, rich and flavorful rum. The brandy casks have given it a delicate hint of fruit on the nose, a little less apparent on the palate where the robust molasses notes of the rum are still predominant, but the brandy finish adds another layer of complexity and richness that make it truly one-of-a-kind."
There are two factors in play here that really helped marry the rum to its brandy finish: the 6 extra months and the size of the brandy casks. Six more months means the rum aged 25% more compared to release #1, and that means quite a bit of it’s total aging time was spent soaking in the brandy and wood sugars. The casks that held two brandy batches before are quarter casks, meaning that the inner surface area to volume ratio is higher then in a standard size cask and thus the rum was exposed to much more of the brandy soaked wood. The higher amount of air flow through the smaller barrels helps with more aggressive fusion of the flavors.
The casks themselves are American Oak, and as we mentioned, held two batches of brandy before: non-traditional brandies made with mostly Cabernet and some Pinot. After emptying the barrels' delicious brandy, Dan and Earl weighed the barrels, and were surprised at just how much heavier they were due to the extra brandy held in the wood. Some of that brandy has of course continued to evaporate out through the pores of the wood, but much of it is now in the rum you’ll be tasting.
And what a different character this older rum is. Mind you we’ve only had a few hours to process the taste, but here are a few things that’ve jumped out at us. Notes of vanilla, root beer, matches, toffee, baked figs, banana, brown sugar, and funk are all here. Release #2 is definitely more mellow then #1, it’s also more fruity, with a stronger brown sugar note through out. At first the sip feels significantly sweeter, but as it evolves that’s when the similarities with its younger sibling become much more pronounced - the funk and molasses are still very present. The finish of those same molasses and light smoke goes on for ages, with fruit notes never fully fading in the background. We’ll be sipping this one for a while, and I’m sure our thoughts on the tasting notes will evolve along the way — what we do know for sure is that it’s damn delicious.
As a side note, this collaboration with Wright & Brown has to be one of the most rewarding things for a smaller, detail and learning oriented operation like ours. There’s nothing like getting to meet folk like Dan and Earl for whom no detail of the production cycle is too small. We’ve relished the opportunity to pull out a single-run rum from their blending process and spotlight it with two different finishes - you can read all you can find about how different techniques produce different products, but nothing beats being able to see and taste it for yourself. And we’re so pleased we get to share it with all of you.
[The Wright & Brown team. Yes, the cat is definitely an employee!]