RON ZACAPA XO Solera Gran Reserva Especial Rum
Ron Zacapa® Centenario from Guatemala is a rum of impeccable quality and complexity and is regarded as one of the finest in the world. The story of ultra-premium Zacapa starts literally from the ground up. From the sugar cane of the volcano-shadowed lowlands, to an ageing process which takes place 2300 meters above sea level, each aspect of production takes place under the watchful eye of Master Blender Lorena Vásquez. There are two varieties of Zacapa: delicate and complex Zacapa 23 and expressive and balanced Zacapa XO. While Zacapa 23 is best enjoyed neat or over one large ice cube, Zacapa XO is at its’ best neat in the signature Riedel Zacapa glass.
The tropical climate and lowland volcanic soil of Guatemala yield an ultra-high grade sugar cane and, unlike most rums that use molasses, Zacapa is created from the concentrated first pressing of sugar cane or ‘virgin sugar cane honey’, which contributes to its award-winning taste.
Aged and blended in the mountains at a location romantically known as the ‘House Above the Clouds’, the cool air slows ageing, allowing Zacapa time to rest and develop its profound character. However, altitude alone is not enough to produce the deep and complex flavour of Zacapa.
A perfectionist at heart, passionate about rum and devoted to her craft, Lorena Vásquez uses a unique Sistema Solera ageing process to produce Zacapa. Based on a centuries-old Spanish method of ageing sherries, rums of different ages are slowly blended in a sequence of barrels which previously held American whiskies, sweet sherries and fine Pedro Ximenez wines. For Zacapa XO, a final ageing stage occurs in French cognac barrels. The rums are also rested in once re-charred American white oak barrels, to impart additional character from the wood.
Depending on the variety, ageing takes between 6 and 25 years, and it’s well worth the wait. As Lorena Vásquez explains, ‘By slowly ageing our rums at altitude and using the complex Sistema Solera, we allow the rum and the wood sufficient time to exchange their individual virtues, resulting in the incredible profile and depth that define Zacapa.’
Inexorably linked to Guatemala’s history and culture, the final touch in the production process is the hand-made woven band crafted from dried palm leaves, or petate, which wraps every bottle. Meticulously produced by highly skilled local craftswomen, petate is an art which has been perfected by the Mayan people since 1400 BC and is the embodiment of the quality and provenance which characterizes Zacapa rum.