Wicked Dolphin Distillery dives deep to create unique, new rum

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CAPE CORAL, Fla.- Divers just uncovered buried treasure off our coast. But, it’s not glimmering gold or precious jewels, it’s rum, and it came from a distillery right here in Southwest Florida.

Dive deep among the tropical fish and a sunken war ship, and you’ll find this new type of treasure.

“Our industry is exploding and a lot of people are trying to find different techniques, and you’re always coming up with something new.”

Dan Termini and his team at Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery went offshore, 90 feet below the surface to try something new.

“We are one of the first in south Florida that’s doing the underwater aging process.”

It’s part science, part pirate’s tale. Wicked Dolphin dropped five oak barrels into the Gulf of Mexico.

They once aged bourbon and rum, but this time, they were filled with only water.

One by one, they plunged into the dark depths of the USS Mohawk, a World War II warship turned into an artificial reef. With the barrels down below, the science came into play.

“The pressure from being down 90 feet underwater is pushing in on the wood, and it’s actually releasing a little of the rum that was trapped inside the wood,” said Termini. “We’re trying to just extract the alcohol that’s stuck inside the wood, and that’s what the pressure is actually helping us do.”

Three days later, the crew hoisted the barrels back up. The water inside, changed forever, picking up flavors from the Gulf.

“You can just imagine the barrel being in the saltwater here, you know what the saltwater is gonna do to it, of course,” said Termini, “so it does have a little salt taste to it.”

Back at Wicked Dolphin, the team used their chemistry skills to mix, blend and age the rum for months until they got the perfect recipe.

The final product: Sunken Barrel USS Mohawk CGC Reserve, with a limited release of only 200 bottles.

But it’s not just about the alcohol, all the profits benefit both the Lee Reefs program and a foundation that helps injured war veterans.

“It’s bigger than just making rum, it’s more about giving back to the community. They’ve been very good to us, we want to return the flavor and give back as much as we can, when we have the opportunity to.”

So you can take a taste of history. If you want to buy a bottle, the Sunken Barrel Mohawk Reserve goes on sale Thursday, July 2 at Wicked Dolphin for about $40.

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