Caymans' underwater rum debuts

Most people think "Caribbean" when they think of rum. But the Cayman Islands never could lay claim to its own such spirit.

That has changed with the debut of Seven Fathoms Premium Rum, the first commercially–made distilled rum made entirely in the Caymans.

Walker Romanica, a co-founder of Cayman Islands Distilleries with Nelson Dilbert, said the rum is made using an underwater aging process thought to be the first ever used with a spirit. After distillation, the rum is put into oak barrels, taken out to sea and dropped to a depth of 42 feet, or seven fathoms.

“By aging our spirits underwater, we are able to take advantage of the kinetic properties of the ocean tides and currents to create a very unique flavour profile and a remarkably smooth rum,” Romanica said at a press conference.

Dilbert brushed off any suggestion the aging process is a gimmick.

"It works very well with marketing, but there is actually science to it,” he told the Cay Compass newspaper. “The product is always moving and is also subjected to sound waves, which is excellent for the aging process. There is a Japanese company doing it with sake and the French are doing it with wine.”

As a result of the unique kinetic maturation process, he said, Seven Fathoms rum takes on characteristics of rums aged much longer using traditional methods. He added that the idea that motion could help in the aging process of rum goes back centuries. The rum produced in the Caribbean in earlier days was found to be quite harsh but mellowed while being transported across the Atlantic to England.

The 80-proof small-batch rum will be made in limited supply with limited distribution. Information on availability is available by e-mail at sales@sevenfathomsrum.com.

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