A profession between chemistry and alchemy
The ageing of rum is a sum of chemical reactions. By allowing a rum to age for several years in a specifically selected cask, we are seeking out very precise notes that can be absorbed by the rum. The oak transfers body and character, like an infusion from the wood to the liquid. As molecules are exchanged, the appearance, the essence, and the aromas of the rum are influenced as it ages. Contact with oxygen brings another aspect of changes that affect the rum’s character. Marie Ferrand is not only familiar with these chemical reactions, she has mastered them.
She’s a seasoned chemist, but she’ll gladly tell you about the magic of the rum ageing process, with a sparkle in her eyes. She will share with you her renewed surprise every time a white rum transforms into an old rum after spending a few years in a cellar.
The mastery of rum ageing
At Isautier, we have chosen a long ageing process. The youngest of our old rums is 3 years old, while the oldest is practically a relic at 33 years old. Under the supervision of Marie, our rums are aged in fine-grained oak barrels that have undergone a long and slow charring on the inside. The barrels rest within the heart of the Isautier cellar where the weather, the quality of the barrels, as well as the tropical climate influence the process in motion.
It’s true that the latitudes of Reunion are as much a gift as they are a challenge when it comes to rum ageing. The humidity and heat accelerate the exchange between the wood of the barrels and the alcohol of the rum. At the same time, the angel’s share is increased as the alcohol evaporates more quickly and seeps into the porosity of the wood. Her expertise in these phenomena allow Marie to master the ageing of our rums by controlling the constraints and taking advantage of the opportunities so that the rums develop rich notes, characteristics of our Reunionese Maison.
Marie Ferrand employs all of her senses to experience the smooth progress of the rums as they age in their barrels. She begins by observing and smelling the maturing spirits to gauge their colour and first aromas. Naturally, she tastes, analyses, and classifies the various vintages in order to experience the development of their notes, assess the ageing, and measure the evolution of the rum. At this point, she decides whether to transfer the rums or to halt the ageing process.
Finally, she listens to trends in the rum market in terms of finish, bottling to meet demand, and even consumption trends.
DRINK ISAUTIER RESPONSIBLY.