Brand: Grander, Single Barrel series
Origin: Las Cabras, Herrera, Panama (picked by Rum Caucus)
Age: 12 years
Finish: ex-Bourbon & ex-Wheated Bourbon
Special cask finishes are one of the ways that rums can have something extra added to their base character. Most rums are matured in ex-Bourbon casks due to their high availability (bourbon casks can only be used once to age that spirit), and more rounded profile compared to new American oak, for example. Grander rum is a great example of a producer that has played with a number of different cask finishes, and has had success doing so.
For the rum we have today, the secondary maturation actually was in ex-Bourbon casks as well; in this case, the Grander Wheated expressions contain rum that was matured in wheated bourbon casks. Similar to restrictions in place with some independent bottlers' (IB) sourced rum, the source of casks may also be required to be obfuscated.
Because of these policies, IBs sometimes have to be creative with the information they can share, in the interest of being as transparent as possible. Grander tells us the following on the label:
The second barrel was once used by a Frankfort, Kentucky distillery to age a well… wheated bourbon.
A Frankfort Distillery that produces a wheated bourbon, plus the barrel ID "WLLR08", indicates that the second cask was used to age Weller bourbon at Buffalo Trace distillery.
The base rum was distilled at Las Cabras distillery in Herrera, Panama, using their column stills, and placed in an ex-Bourbon cask for aging on-site. After 12 years, the rum was transferred to an ex-Wheated Bourbon cask– WLLR08– for 11 months before being bottled at a strength of 52.9% ABV without additives.
The Rum Caucus out of Alabama selected this single barrel, and I am very interested to see if/how the wheated bourbon cask affects the already aged spirit.
Amber, high clarity, medium viscosity
Vanilla custard, banana split, cinnamon, oak, ethanol
Vanilla, caramelized banana, cinnamon, pecans, salt water, sweet cream
Medium-length, oaky, slightly bitter; oak, pecans, salty caramel
The Rum Caucus single barrel selection of Grander's Wheated rum is another fine installment in the Grander lineup. This barrel is creamy, nutty, and sweet, if a little bitter on the back palate and finish. It's a nice expression that adds a little bit extra to the traditional ex-Bourbon cask aging.
Grander Wheated is an amber color in my glass, with high clarity and medium viscosity.
The nose is a bit plain, yielding creamy vanilla custard, a sweet and fruity banana split, followed by dashes of cinnamon, and the woody aroma of bourbon oak. Some raw ethanol creeps into the picture towards the end of each sniff, in an unfortunate slip of the typically pristine proof management of these rums.
Vanilla and caramelized banana lead the Wheated single barrel's palate, giving somewhat savory but sweet notes right off the bat. More earthy cinnamon and pecan notes come next, followed by a slightly briney or bitter salt water flavor, and finishes off with a sweet cream note, that comes with a silky mouthfeel. This isn't the most challenging or diverse palate, but is very solid and tasty; about what you would expect from multiple bourbon cask aging.
Wheated's finish is a medium length, oaky, and slightly bitter. A slim profile of bitter oak, nutty pecan, and salty caramel round out the experience.
Grander Wheated is an interesting experiment in how multiple types of bourbon casks can affect a rum's flavor profile. While this is not a side-by-side comparison (and maybe that could be beneficial in this scenario or in the future), I would be interested to see how this Wheated finish stands up against Grander's other bourbon cask-aged expressions, such as the Toasted Oak (toasted bourbon casks), The Oaks (first-fill bourbon casks), and Malt Whiskey (American malt whiskey casks) releases. At the end of the day, this particular cask may not impart enough character to make a huge difference, but it does add a level of detail to an already wonderful rum.