I love a good story... who doesn't? And what could be a better story then one of a stranger to a new land - defying the odds and making a success of himself?
In 1908 a young man by the name of Don Jose Varela Blanco landed in the newly established Republic of Panama by way of Spain. He ended up in the small town of Pese (population approximately 10,000) and opened the first sugar plantation amid the lush sugarcane fields rampant in that central part of the country. He did what many people (including myself) dream of: he opened a business, ran it well and started a family.
Fast forward almost 30 years and in 1936 Don Jose finally succumbed to the fervent wishes of his three sons (Jose Manuel, Plinio and Julio: los Hermanos Varela www.VarelaHermanos.com) and started the regions first sugarcane distillery.
Sugarcane has a long history in the Americas... turns out that Christopher Columbus brought sugarcane on his return visit and it turned into a massive cash crop virtually wherever it went. Sugarcane became such a commodity that France even traded part of what it controlled in my dear old Canada to the British Empire for their islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique and St. Lucia~!
Well times change, and sugar became overproduced and less of a commodity. It all came to a head for such countries as Cuba when the former Soviet Union dissolved and Cuba's sugar production found itself without a market. So what does one do with sugarcane when no one wants sugar? Make alcohol young man...
But alcohol isn't the only use... sugarcane actually gets used in non-alcoholic drinks, in food and candy, and nowadays in ethanol production. To wit - Brazil is the largest grower of sugarcane in the world and is also co-incidentally the largest producer of gasahol which is a blend of ethanol and gasoline.
Back to Abuelo rum and Varela Hermanos S.A., who made a name for themselves by creating a premium sugarcane spirit where before it had been rough and clumsy. The company, in it's third generation as a family owned and run business, now produces over 1,000,000 boxes of spirit annually or over 90% of the nation's liquer.
Now that's a good story.
Ron Abuelo Anejo 7-anos
$51 CAD (BC) *** Good Value ***
maturation: 7 years in small white oak barrels
- visual: clear; light coppery-gold throughout
- nose: clean; fully intense spice with orange zest, light clove notes and dried summer and exotic flowers... rich background of aged honey and light butterscotch... molasses is felt keenly
- palate: clean; taste is reminiscent of a fine Scotch: light oaky-vanilla opens the palate to dried apple, dried florals and the faint buzz of orange peel in the background... the finish is smooth with a hint of spice sparking the tongue and a rich, robust earthiness. A sipper, I found the flavors turned to nothing quickly with too much ice and I much prefer this as a quality Scotch: neat. If you must add ice, let it be one cube only.
- PAIRINGS: the sweetness in rum usually lends itself to certain types of cigars, but because to me this drinks like a Scotch then it must be paired with other cigars. Suggestions anyone??
As always, I welcome your comments and questions.
CINCIN~!!! SLAINTE~!!! CHEERS~!!!