virgin sugarcane honey
continuous column stills without extraction
sistema solera: 5 to 12 years in wine-infused white oak casks
Alcohol by volume:
Since 2014, 'Ron de Guatemala' has been recognized as a legally protected geographical indication (PGI) within the EU. The publicly accessible document delineates the rules overseeing our today’s rum, the Botran Ron Añejo 12. Our particular focus is on the Solera Añejo, a blend of rums distilled from virgin sugarcane honey.
The Asociación Nacional de Fabricantes de Alcoholes y Licores (ANFAL), responsible for supervising the Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala distillery, elaborates on its website about the principles derived from the PGI. This presentation encompasses topographic, ground, and meteorological conditions. ANFAL praises the use of virgin sugarcane honey over molasses, details the types of sugar cane employed, and delves into the intricacies of the fermentation process. It explains and promotes the solera system. While the information is presented in a comprehensive manner, there are two significant aspects absent. Primo, there's no clarity on the significance of the "twelve" on the label. Secundo, the methodology behind the rum's distillation is left unexplained.
The clay soil of Retalhuleu and Suchitepéquez, known for its moisture retention, fosters the growth of sugarcane with an elevated sugar concentration. The raw material is hand-harvested after a twelve-month growth period. The virgin juice is heated, purified and filtered. As the water evaporates, what remains is a dense syrup with a rich sugar content known as virgin sugarcane honey. Fermentation, triggered by pineapple yeast, persists for up to 120 hours. Distillation is carried out through continuous column stills without extraction. The resulting rum is then poured into barrels to begin its ageing journey. The maturation warehouses are located in Quetzaltenango city, situated at elevations exceeding 2400 metres above sea level. These higher altitudes create cooler temperatures and lower oxygen levels, effectively decelerating the chemical ageing process. Subsequently, the rum is transferred to vats, blended with older varieties, and once again poured into barrels. Botran's choice of barrels includes European or American oak barrels, previously used for cognac or sherry.
After having discussed the Guatemalan solera method, let's now revisit the intriguing "twelve" on the label. Is it representative of 12 components, 12 cycles, or perhaps 12 monkeys? Neither of the above. The "twelve" signifies the age of the oldest ingredient within the blend. The youngest element is believed to be five years old. The precise composition of the blend and the ratios in which the rums are blended remain confidential trade secrets held by the manufacturer.