Picaroon Solera Aged Rum is one of a kind, and one of a select few true solera aged rums being distilled in America. It is also an extremely small-batch rum, as our traditional process yields only a few hundred bottles every six months. We bottle Picaroon Solera in February and August of each year, so if you want to snag a bottle, hurry on in to the distillery! Due to its limited nature, Picaroon Solera Aged rum is available at the distillery only.
What is solera aging?
Originating with sherry making in Spain, solera aging is a unique combination of aging and blending that results in an incredibly complex and consistent spirit. In contrast with traditional aging, where we wait for a barrel to reach a certain age or flavor profile and then empty the barrel, in solera aging the barrels are never emptied: at least half of the spirit always remains in the barrel to continue maturing.
The simplest solera would be a single barrel. For example, after six months of aging, we would remove half of the rum for bottling and fill the empty space with un-aged spirit from the still, then allow the blend to age for an additional six months before bottling. This would be a very simple solera, and the over the years the spirit being bottled would end up with an average age of only a year—a very young rum. To make the solera slightly more complex and the average age slightly older, we could add a second level to the solera. We would bottle out of the bottom level, but instead of refilling the empty space with new rum from the still after bottling, we would use rum from the second barrel. In the same scenario of bottling a half of the barrel two times each year, the rum would eventually end up with an average age of about a year and a half.
What is the Picaroon solera aging process?
Picaroon Solera Aged Rum takes this to another level. And then another, and another. Our solera consists of five total levels, each comprised of multiple barrels. Throughout the solera we use a combination of new and used American and French oak barrels, each adding its own unique flavor to the overall blend. We use two yeast trains for our solera aged rum: a strain of saccharomyces cerevisiae isolated from tropical molasses fermentations, and our house strain of schizosaccharomyces pombe.
When we bottle, we empty the barrels from the bottom level, blend them together, and remove a portion for bottling. The remaining rum goes back into the empty barrels. We then empty the next level and blend the barrels together, use the blend to fill up the empty space in the first level, and then put the rum back into the empty barrels. This process repeats until finally we fill the empty space in the fifth level with new rum from the still! It will take a few years to get there, but Picaroon Solera Aged Rum will eventually have an average age of about seven years. But that average of seven years will be comprised of a blend of rums ranging from sixteen years old to three years old!