Most of our readers have surely heard of rums or brandies aged with the solera system, but how does it work?
Well, this Method was used mostly in Spain to age brandy and wine. Nowadays it is quite common to find rums aged with this system. To be able to explain accurately how this process is done, we were lucky enough to have the explanation directly from one of our bulk rum providers.
What is the solera system?
The solera system consists in using casks placed in rows one above the other, placement that allows the waterfall transfer. Each cask is filled with rums of different vintages. The mother rums, usually are more than 25 YO, are combined with high quality younger rums for later, start its aging in casks.
Once the rum has reached the desired maturity, a portion is moved in waterfall from the upper row barrels to the following, and so on and so forth, until arriving to the last row, closer to the floor. During this process, the rum acquires its freshness, balance, firmness and most part of its maturity.
How the rum peaks its maturing?
Once the waterfall transfer has concluded, just a part of the rum coming from the row closer to the floor will finally be subjected to a second process, aging in barrels, where it gets its final maturation.
As some part of the rum never gets out of the solera, the aging rum is over the time older and smoother. Moreover, this method allows to get homogeneity between the annual productions and to balance the vintage.
How the process of the quality is monitored?
To make sure that the process is successful, it is necessary to monitor the casks and confirm that the interaction barrels- content is effective, as the goal is to achieve an identical batch to previous productions. That is why the barrels need to be constantly watched.
During this process, our provider explained us that there are three phases happening at the same time:
- In one section the spirit is aged for 3 or 5 years. This will be decided by the cellar master.
- To some percentage of that aged spirit, they add fresh alcohol of 95º, diluted to 65º (also called RCS, Ron Carta Solera) and it is aged up to 48 months.
- The result in aging the RCS is adjusted regarding the preferences of their cellar and rum masters, and it is aged as determined by them. This will become the mother rum. Just half of the mother rum is later used.
Thanks to this method, a steady quality and the homogeneity of the product can be guaranteed.
We hope that this article is helpful and helps with any doubt you could have regarding the aging with the solera system.