Alcohol by volume:
The highest valued denomination issued by Banco Central del Paraguay is the 100'000 guarani equivalent to less than 14 €. Two banknotes with a Roch González de Santa Cruz portrait cost the bottle standing in front of me.
Paraguay is a landlocked country on the other side of the world. First the rum is floated down the river to Montevideo, then shipped to Europe. It seems like a lot of effort and a considerable expense and we don't associate rum with Paraguay either. On the other hand the locals prefer beer and they see the available cheap moonshine as a drink for the drunk.
The brand Jules Verne was created by German immigrant, a nomad with Dutch roots - Timm Hogerzeil, although not rooted in regional tradition and lacking inspiration from surroundings. It's usually the popularity wave gained on the domestic market that drives foreign sales. It seems different here.
Timm is a man of action, self-motivated and goal-oriented. He decides to arrange a distillery in the middle of nowhere and implements his plan (2014): buys land, clears the jungle, puts as roof corrugated metal. He brings the distiller from Germany, installs it and runs. Before the business begins for good though, the owner has to fight officials, police, bandits. The launch takes four years to come.
Probably because the country is riddled with corruption and an uncontrolled shadow economy. Paraguay ranks poorly in the Transparency International reports analyzing investment risk, standard of living and freedom of speech among others. This is largely due to the legacy of the Alfredo Stroessner dictatorship which institutionalized corruption. Being a member at the Colorado party means many benefits and certain promotions at work. A few profit from the system, many are seduced and the rest have got used to it. In return, the authority steals en masse, so pathology continues at its best. At the same time, the Paraguayans turned out to be the happiest nation in the world (Gallup 2019 Global Emotions Report). Even if I don't comprehend, I really admire such a positive attitude to life which clearly surpasses the circumstances.
Due to isolated geographic location translating directly into higher logistics costs Paraguay cannot compete with neighboring countries on sugar price. As a result all resources are processed locally. Certified organic molasses comes from the sugar factory nearby Areguá. The wine ferments for fourteen days on champagne yeast.
The heart of the distillery is the legendary German Kothe distillation plant combining pot and column stills. The full Jules Verne product name contains the phrase 'pure single rum'. Timm vouches for the integrity of his products free of any additives. The producer is sick of competitors using caramel to imitate the barrel coloring and adding sugar to falsify the age. The batches differ from each other and are not blended together therefore also the 'single batch'. The manufacturer resigns from filtration to maintain the full flavor and aroma.
Transparency in one dimension covers some understatements in the other though. The product doesn't have an age declaration. Furthermore it's conceivable that the barrel was replaced by oak chips. For practical reasons, especially if we consider the barrel being similar to a tea bag having limited shelf life. Dropping the casks saves money as it minimizes the contamination risks and heavily reduces angel's share.