virgin sugarcane honey
continuous column stills without extraction
sistema solera: 5 to 12 years in wine-infused white oak casks
Alcohol by volume:
'Ron de Guatemala' has been since 2014 a legally protected geographical indication (PGI) in EU. This document is open to the public and presents the regulations governing our man of the hour - Botran Ron Añejo 12. The variant we are interested in - Solera Añejo - is a blend of rums distilled from virgin sugarcane honey.
Asociación Nacional de Fabricantes de Alcoholes y Licores (ANFAL) has an eye on the distillery Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala and specifies on its website the assumptions resulting from the PGI. It presents topographic, ground and meteorological conditions. It praises the virgin sugarcane honey over molasses, enumerates the types of sugar cane used and describes the fermentation process. It explains and advertises the solera system. Informations are provided in a comprehended way, but two aspects are not mentioned at all. Primo - what exactly means the twelve on the label. Secundo - how the rum was distilled.
The clay soil in Retalhuleu and Suchitepéquez retains moisture so that sugarcane reaches high sugar concentration. The raw material is cut by hand after twelve months of growth. The virgin juice is heated, purified and filtered. After the water evaporates what remains is thick syrup with a high sugar content called virgin sugarcane honey. Fermentation is initiated by pineapple yeast and lasts up to 120 hours. The distillation takes place within continuous column stills without extraction. The rum is poured into barrels and aged for some time. The maturing warehouses are located in the city of Quetzaltenango (above 2400 masl). At such altitudes, it is much cooler and there is less oxygen in the air, slowing down the chemical aging process. The rum is then rolled into the vats, married with the older varieties and then poured into barrels again. Botran uses European or American oak barrels after cognac or sherry.
Having introduced above Guatemalan solera method, let us return to the debatable twelve on the label. Is it about 12 components, 12 cycles or maybe just about 12 monkeys? No, no and no. Twelve refers to the age of the oldest ingredient in the blend. The youngest component is said to be five. How many rums make up the blend and in which ratio they are combined remains a trade secret of the manufacturer.