Rum is one of the fastest growing categories in the United States, especially in the premium and ultra-premium segments. However, a quick glance at the top tier quickly reveals that the vast majority of these rums are añejos and reservas, well-aged, mahogany-hued gems perfectly suited for artisanal cocktails, Tiki drinks, or sipping after dinner from a snifter. But what about the legions of white rum fans? What premium upgrades are available to them? A few years back, two men identified this high-end void and set out to rectify the situation by developing a remarkable upscale white rum experience.
What they created is something unique and genuinely extraordinary. Caliche Puerto Rican Rum is crafted at Distilleria Serrallés, one of the storied rum distilleries of the Caribbean. Founded in 1865, it's situated on the Hacienda Mercedita sugar plantation outside of the city of Ponce on Puerto Rico's southern coast.
Caliche (pronounced "kah•lee•chee") is an artisanal blend of four molasses-based, column-distilled rums. Three of the rums were aged in charred American oak barrels for 3, 4 and 5 years. The fourth rum was Solera aged, a system for maturing spirits and fortified wines perfected by the famed sherry and brandy de Jerez producers of Spain.
In the Solera system, the older rums "educate" the younger ones, enhancing their taste and character. It also ensures that the blended rums will be consistent from one year to the next. Solera aging utilizes a series of oak casks arranged in 3 tiers. The barrels on the top tier contain the youngest rums, those on the middle tier contain older rums and the barrels on the bottom are filled with the oldest rums. When deemed appropriate, the master blender will remove half the contents of the barrels from the lowest tier for bottling. The barrels are then filled to capacity with rum from the middle tier. Young rums from the barrels on the highest tier are used to fill the casks on the middle tier.
After blending, the rums are rigorously filtered through a special charcoal blend for essential purity and to remove the color obtained during barrel aging. Caliche is bottled at 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof).
The moment this white rum hits the glass you'll realize you're in the presence of greatness. Caliche has ideal clarity, a satiny, slightly oily texture and a wafting bouquet of citrus, vanilla, toffee and brown sugar. The rum hardly raises any heat on the tongue before it expands and fills the mouth with the sumptuous flavors of caramel, bananas, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla beans. The lingering finish is spicy warm and touched with a wisp of toasted oak. It's a sensational experience from start to thoroughly satisfying finish.
Before mixing Caliche Rum, make sure you take a moment and taste the rum neat. Guaranteed you'll be glad you did. You may spend the rest of the night drinking the spirit on its own. That said, it's hard to imagine a cocktail or tall drink that wouldn't be greatly enhanced made with Caliche Rum.
So who are the two men responsible for this soon-to-be classic Puerto Rican rum? The collaboration brought together the vision and talents of Roberto Serrallés of Destilería Serrallés and prominent hospitality and nightlife impresario, Rande Gerber.
Gentlemen, a thirsty world thanks you. Salud!