Touring a rum distillery should provide an experience that allows for a more well-rounded understanding of how that rum is created. Such experiences often yield a perspective with significantly more meaning beyond what can be obtained from the name and face of the bottle. Visiting the Varela Hermanos plantation was educational indeed and I bring you that firsthand account here, so read on.
To contrast, the vertical barrels on pallets in the other Bodegas are not undergoing a solera process of aging (see photos). Ron Abuelo is aged in American white oak barrels acquired from Jack Daniel's. After being used once by Jack Daniel's, each barrel is inspected and hand selected for quality to ensure optimal and consistent results when aging the rum.
|Bodega de Añejamiento No.3|
The sugar cane is harvested here each February and they are proud to inform us of their responsible methods of cultivation. Varela Hermanos employs ox cart and wagon for transporting sugar cane from closer fields and trucks for the more distant ones due to the size (2000 acres) of their land. In addition, and as mentioned in an earlier post, they are one of the few rum producers that do not burn their fields after harvest.
|Ox pulling cart of sugar cane to the weighing scale|
Ron Abuelo: An Intimate Tasting
Restaurant Casuale was the perfect setting for an intimate tasting of Ron Abuelo. Ron Abuelo's complete line of rums selectively paired with fine cuisine from master chef Fabricio Torcivia...oh yeah! The tasting was led by Ricardo Henríquez, Director de Investigación y Desarrollo, and Daniel Fábrega, Director de Exportación, and although formal in setting it moved forward in a very casual and freindly fashion. Ron Abuelo 501 is in session! Ricardo is full of information and despite his youthful appearance, his title of Master Blender became readily apparent in his answers; highly articulate, tailored to your understanding in technical details and tastefully mature. He explained that four processes are occurring during the maturation process, which imparts the aromas, flavor and overall character of the rum.
|Ricardo Henríquez and Daniel Fábrega of Ron Abuelo|
|Ron Abuelo Tasting|
taste profile. The Centuria's complexity and extended finish mark the end of an incredible evening. Winning!
A very special thank you to Richard March, VP Sales and Marketing, and Andrea for an insightful tour of Varela Hermanos, S.A.
Cheers to Ricardo Henríquez and Danny Fábrega for their informative discussion on and tasting of Ron Abuelo!