Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Rum Collective's 4th Meeting: Tasting Dos Maderas

The Rum Collective's 4th Meeting
"Don Guido", Dos Maderas P.X., "Dos Cortados"
A warm summer evening with Seattle's Rum Collective brought a rich conversation filled with two words; Dos Maderas. Dos Maderas translated to English means "two woods" clearly representing this rum's formative years. Those present had the unique opportunity to understand that meaning on a multitude of levels beginning with the view of four snifters filled with two different types of aged sherry and rum. The view was rumtastic! Glasses of Dos Maderas 5+3 punch arrive shortly from behind Liberty's skilled bar. Rum Punch? Okay, if I must! With its fun and interesting history in cocktail lore, it can be made with the following classic saying:

One of Sour, Two of Sweet
Three of Strong, Four of Weak
Five of Bitters make it better (optional)

And so the meeting began...

Pouring of the Dos Maderas P.X.
Ron Dos Maderas begins as a blend of rums from two of the most famous rum-producing nations, Barbados and Guyana. It is aged in the Caribbean for five years before traveling to mature in the sherry bodegas of Williams & Humbert in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. This rum's namesake, two woods, begins with a first transformation in used bourbon (American oak) casks and is then finished in Sherry (oak) casks. This dynamic dual aging process is rare among aged rums. The result you ask? Let's find out...

Dos Maderas Teaching Kit
We are soon educated with a comprehensive tasting highlighting the processes shaping the spirit's character. Rocky Yeh, a local rum aficionado, provides the rum didactic. The Dos Maderas training kit (see photo), a dark mahogany colored wooden box with engraving on the front sliding lid, is revealed (provided courtesy of Lindsay Gorton, Kindred Spirits). Each guest had the opportunity to learn from this training kit as the meeting progressed. The kit includes samples of the crystallized sugar (Azúcar de Caña Meloso), the unaged distilled spirit (Aguardiente de Caña) and the rum aged five years in the Caribbean (Ron envejecido 5 años en el Caribe) before being sent to Spain. Additionally and in order, it also contains samples of the 5 year old rum after aging three years in "Dos Cortados" sherry casks (Dos Maderas 5 + 3) and this rum after aging an additional two years in "Don Guido" Pedro Ximenez casks (Dos Maderas 5 + 5 or P.X.) plus samples of each sherry and cross-sectional pieces from their wooden casks. Awesome!

Dos Maderas 5 + 3, Cigar, Dos Maderas P.X.
Dos Maderas teaching kit samples
We begin tasting the "Dos Cortados" Rare Old Dry Palo Cortado Solera Especial Sherry. It is made with Palomino grapes and aged 20 years in oak. Light bodied and dry with notes of nuts and oak, it finishes clean. After its Caribbean birth, the rum to become Dos Maderas 5 + 3 bathes in the casks once filled with "Dos Cortados" for an additional three years. The Sherry notes come out of this smokey, oak and charred tobacco flavored "drink you all day" rum. Their relationship is clear in the first taste and spending a little time to get to know them side by side only fosters positive dialogue. The label reads, "Dos Maderas: one spirit, two cultures." Rum's Foreign Policy 101?! The visual of rum's color and its smell, provided by the kit, as it transforms in the aging process was remarkably clear. The tasting experience moved on to the "Don Guido" Rare Old Sweet Pedro Ximenez Sherry and the Dos Maderas P.X. The "Don Guido" provides a delicious and naturally sweet raisin, chocolaty-fig and prune medley of flavors coating the inside of the mouth. We taste the Dos Maderas P.X. Notes of that luxurious and sweet flavor are passed on by the Sherry giving another dimension of richness and maturity to the Dos Maderas P.X. Yum!! Savoring the aromas that fill the air, tasting the Sherry, then exploring the mature features of Dos Maderas while eyeing (with light touching) the wood they are both aged in is a rum lover's Ménage à trois, only Spanish. The kit is a perfect compliment to the tasting experience! The relationships between the two Dos Maderas rums and their Sherry counterparts are worth exploring further. For my Northwest readers, The Spanish Table may be able to facilitate locating the "Dos Cortados" and "Don Guido" Sherry as they are difficult to obtain locally. Both the Dos Maderas 5 +3 and the P.X. can also be found at multiple Washington State Liquor stores in the Seattle area. As conversations ensue and deciphering which "PX" is being referred to, another cocktail arrives. How about a Dos Maderas P.X. Flip with a Pedro Ximenez Sherry float, anyone? Yes Please! The Dos Maderas P.X. holds up well in the cocktail, finishing smooth and dessert like. Each member of The Rum Collective present at the meeting received a complimentary Dos Maderas Cigar. The cigars are rolled exclusively for Dos Maderas and include wetting the tobacco leaves with their rum. Outside in the sun, the meeting continued with cigars and, of course, more Dos Maderas Rum!!

Cheers to Andrew Friedman and Liberty for their continued support and quality rum cocktails!

A special thank you to Rocky Yeh and Lindsay Gorton for facilitating an über tasting experience!!

Hats off to Williams & Humbert for an exceptional Rum!!!

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