The Cayman Islands is home to a rum with a unique aging process. Seven Fathoms rum — which takes its name from the depth at which the rum has been aged — is the only spirit producer in the world to age its rum underwater.
“The term Fathom is a unit of measurement, roughly the length of one’s outstretched arms. This was most commonly used to measure rope, which was once one of the main industries of the Cayman Islands many years ago,” says Walker Romanica, owner and distiller of Cayman Spirits Co., which produces the rum. “So Seven Fathoms, or 42 feet, is the approximate depth at which we aged a portion of the rum that goes into every blending of Seven Fathoms Rum.”
The rum is aged under the sea in American white oak bourbon casks where it is rocked by underwater currents to mimic a concept that dates back to the golden age of rum.
“The concept of aging underwater goes back to a time when there was something called Ocean Rum, or Dock Rum, which was a term given to barrels of rum that had made a voyage in a barrel across the ocean,” he says. “People knew this rum had aged better because on the ship it had been rocked by the sea. This stirring of the barrel and the rum is called agitation and it is something many distilleries seek to achieve today, we are just doing it in a unique way, using what we have naturally available to us here in the Cayman Islands.”
Although some European wineries and cava producers have started aging their products underwater, Cayman Spirits Co. remains the exclusive spirit producer to use this method.
“A few whiskies and even some beers have also ventured to ship their liquid in barrels on ships circumventing the globe, to achieve a similar effect,” he says.
To get a taste of the unique rum firsthand, the distillery offers tours Monday through Saturday “where you can come and get the full experience of the rum at Cayman Spirits Co. Distillery.”
In addition to Seven Fathoms Rum, visitors can also sample a variety of spirits that are only made and sold in Cayman, including some seasonal specialties only available certain times a year like Mango Brandy and Scotch Bonnet Vodka.