California Distiller Makes 20-Year-Old Rum in Six Days


All brown spirits require time in a barrel to be good in a bottle. But Bryan Davis,  co-founder of Lost Spirits in California, says he’s devised a spirit production method that takes just six days—as opposed to 20 years—reports Wired. Rather than accelerate the aging process, Davis shortens it by running a distillate through a proprietary chemical reactor. The device creates the same chemical compounds as those found in a well-aged spirit.

If Davis’s aging process works as well as he says, the distilling industry could experience great impacts, and the attitudes about craft distilling could well be challenged. Davis is hopeful it will also engender experimentation saying, “Distillers will be able to immediately see what a spirit aged in, say, chestnut wood tastes like.”

Allaying fears that his rapid distilling process isn’t just a clever trick, Davis says he would never compromise quality in favor of a shortened production time. “I hope we can help a bunch of distilleries to show an amazing value to consumers. My beta testers (so far) have said they desire to be up front about [the quality].”

The biggest motivation for Davis, though, is to create “lost spirits”—spirits that are no longer being produced, like J. Wray & Nephew’s 17 -Year-Old rum. Lost Spirits Colonial American Inspired Rum, released in December 2014, was the first commercial product to fully undergo the accelerated aging process. The 62 percent ABV, navy-strength rum is often likened to The Black Tot—an old style of overproof rum—confirming the success of Davis’s operation.

“It’s crystal clear from the evidence,” says Greg Miller, Ph.D., a professor of chemical engineering at UC Davis. “He’s the real deal.” [Wired] [Photo:]