Last year saw the release of Don Papa’s Rare Cask, a very limited release of their flagship rum finished for 18 months in over-roasted Spanish wine casks. It was a wild drink that seemed to come with a statement: the distiller was going to push things with their rum. And the result was good, though a little hard to place. It’s hard to say who you could recommend the drink to, other than people who are really interested in unique drink experiences.
The latest release, the Sherry Cask Finish, arrives with the same commitment to challenging the idea of what a rum can be, but it’s a lot easier to place it within a certain realm of drink. Sherry casks have been long used to finish Scotch whisky, after all, and anyone who’s ever had a whiff of Macallan will have some idea of what to expect: Dried stonefruit and fig notes with a hint of spice.
And that’s all there, but there’s also more. The rum is aged in four different kinds of sherry barrels, and are later blended together to make this particular expression. What’s immediately surprising is how dry the rum is. The sweetness is there at the start, but it almost immediately gives way to other, more interesting flavors, before disappearing almost completely in the finish.
This is apparently the result of the influence of the Fino sherry, which is dry almost to the point of being savory on the tongue. This particular type of sherry was apparently the personal recommendation of Jim Swan, who consulted on the acquisition of barrels for the making of this spirit. Swan, who has spent the couple of decades being the most innovative mind in the spirits industry, has led Don Papa down a really interesting path. The Sherry Cask Finish tastes refined, almost mature, the classic sherry notes rounding out the spiky elements that one might associate with high alcohol spirits.
When we wrote about the Rare Cask, we mentioned that it would be tough to get, but its existence should be taken as an indication of things yet to come from the distiller. And this has proven true. The Sherry Cask Finish will be much easier to acquire, and it possess the same spirit of experimentation that made that first limited release so remarkable. The drink alone is worth getting excited over, but once again, we are even more excited for what’s coming next.
The Sherry Cask Finish is produced in limited quantities and will be a seasonally released product. It is locally available in select retail outlets, hotels, and bars. For more information about Don Papa, visit the website and official Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@DonPapaRum) accounts.