Maison Ferrand ages rum on ‘world’s first’ floating cellar

Spirits group Maison Ferrand has launched a barge it claims is the world’s first floating cellar to study how the waterborne vessel’s movements affects Cognac and rum ageing.

Maison Ferrand have restored a 1948 Freycinet barge and converted it to be able to house 1,500 30-lr barrels as part of a research project on dynamic ageing, where spirits are matured at sea and the end result is affected by continuous movement from being stored on water.

The process was common in the 18th century, when casks of Caribbean rum were often shipped to cellars in Europe. The rum had a different taste profile to liquid aged on land. It is understood that the more interaction the spirit has with the surface area of the wood inside the cask, the more likely it is that the chemical compounds in the wood integrate with the liquid inside. The result should be a smoother rum more heavily influenced by the oak cask.

The floating cellar, called Barge 166 – will drop anchor in the Seine at Issy-lesMoulineaux spring 2021 and will be used to create the “best conditions” for studying dynamic ageing for its brands Maison Ferrand Cognac and Plantation Rum. The group has also invited Swedish whisky maker Mackmyra to age some casks on the barge.

In addition to ageing Cognac and rum, the barge will also serve as a welcome place for visitors to get to know the company’s brands better, and purchase a personalised version of their drink of choice.

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