sugar cane honey
10 years in ex-bourbon white oak casks, solera
Alcohol by volume:
Using internet search engines I wasn't able to determine the origin of the Malteco rum distillery. It used to be the Guatemalan Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala, also known as Licorera Quezalteca, but in 2011 the production moved to Panama. Since then Caribbean Spirits Panama Distillery and/or Bodegas de America are mentioned, however you won't find them in the reliable register. Some reviewers argue that the rum comes from Varela Hermanos.
Let's give that thesis a provisional acceptance. Ron Abuelo's producer is widely known and even as occasionally encounters some criticisms, much more commonly is praised. Perhaps the recognizability of Ron Abuelo is the reason why Malteco is hiding its pedigree. Because if it turned out to be true, what else would justify its existence?
I suppose it's legitimate to seek answers in the official brochure. The very first sentence get us to the right track, because "Ron Malteco [...] is the skillful outcome of Maestros Roneros' ancient art, who have handed down the formula of a superb blend". I believe that the 'ancient formula' has been passed down since ancient times and the very beginning of the brand in anno domini 2003. And further, the brand personality is supposed to reflect the following characteristics: "young, easygoing, joyful, vibrant, colorful, light, modern, attractive, intriguing" so that the customer ultimately associates the product with: "green, hills, forest, nature, quetzal bird, wings, freedom, balance, adventure, party, music".
I admit that I can easily identify with the 'young, easygoing, joyful' consumer. However the question arises, to what extent the above-mentioned list correlates with my subjective perception of the Malteco? Well, the package and the bottle as marketing tools and especially the line and typography are Mesoamerican styled. I can also recognize the contours of a bird, though not at first glance. Maybe because the quetzal seems still an ornithological puzzle for me. Alright, I find the facade kind of intriguing.
Whereas the lack of transparency is overwhelmingly irritating. How to verify the producer's declarations when the operating distillery remains hidden? Easy, just trust and hope that the manufacturer doesn't disappoint. Although faith and knowledge are not necessarily the same, philosophically and somewhat pretentiously speaking. Moreover, information asymmetry creates real and systemic potential for abuse.
A decade ago, the rum was manufactured in Guatemala; based on 12-24 hour fermentation, using sugar cane honey and column distillation (Column Still). The white oak ex-bourbon casks were aged at an altitude of 2300 mamsl.
Nowadays, we know as much as the manufacturer discloses, namely that the product has been distilled and aged in Panama, apparently in line with the guidelines but not directly by the Savio family (brand owner). They handle storage, bottling and logistics. What caught my attention is the following statement: "The ageing specified on the label indicates the minimum rum ageing". It's puzzling given the use of the solera method paired with the fact that Malteco is placed in an exceptionally low price range. Finally, the product has been colored with caramel and sweetened 16-18 g/L.