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A spirit for which a lifetime is never enough

Over two million boxes of Venezuelan rum bottles are sold worldwide on a yearly basis (OMARJHOYER / Handout photo)

Made with honesty, perseverance and generosity, Venezuelan rum is among the most prestigious, renowned and coveted rums in the world. It is virtually a miracle work of human will; the offspring of this land –a product understood and loved by those who know how to read the tropical wonder of our sugar cane

Tuesday May 19, 2015 12:00 AM

Some Venezuelan rum brands are Carúpano, Santa Teresa, Pampero, Cacique, Diplomático, El Muco, Ocumare, Roble Viejo, Angostura, Cañaveral, Quimera, Veroes, and Castro. The future is not a matter of concern for iron-willed precursors. Rather, their plans are shaped by the certainty of the present. For them, time is always short; a lifetime is never enough.

Venezuelan master rum makers are feverish, bold and proud like the best minds ever born facing the burning, blazing Caribbean sun that makes everything possible in the middle of everyday life. Watching over fermentation casks and stills or permanently engaged in tasting the rums kept in aging cellars in Carúpano, La Miel, Los Valles de Aragua, La Victoria and Ocumare, Venezuelan master rum makers dream of rums. They visualize, seek after and decode rich, exuberant rums with unique, matchless, once in a lifetime aromas and flavors.

They do not only dream of rum, however. They also make it possible, for they are essentially real and proactive men and women who achieve their goals in their enterprises. With honesty, perseverance and generosity, they make Venezuelan rum, one of the most prestigious, renowned and coveted rums in the world.

Venezuelan rum is virtually a miracle work of human will; the offspring of this land -understood and loved by those who know how to read the tropical wonder of our sugar cane, and the molasses fermented, distilled, and later aged and blended.

Aged stave after stave in fine white oak casks, Venezuelan rum is an irrefutable proof of the incredible potential this country has.

The large number of Venezuelan rum brands conveys a powerful message of future with many meanings: hope, excellence, patience, refinement, elegance, sensitivity, identity and roots. More than ever before, Venezuelan rum mirrors the spirit of the ancestral wisdom of the tradition the forerunners fought to preserve. Now, their successors have to take on the legacy of those who gave their all for their country and were never afraid of making mistakes.

Among the finest in the world

A bright, salient icon, Venezuelan rum features aromas and flavors that tell a story -a very personal and collective epic, an endless search, with a heavy dollop of boldness and passion. The best rums are the result of the heady mystery of alchemy; the Russian roulette in which you lose or win. Venezuelan rum is a legend: a bottle that is always filled with well-made, locally aged spirits. It lives among us. It belongs to us. Nowadays, Venezuelan rum is enjoyed worldwide and is ranked among the finest in the world.

The finest rums are born of delicate blends that convey depth, complexity and balance -three qualities of the highest rated spirits.

The process of distillation of heavy and light alcohols, after careful fermentation and aging of molasses in casks, is carried out with special care in the local rum industry. All rum makers have state-of-the-art technology equipment and high-skilled staff to produce a sublime product. While developing and rising late compared to the product made in the Spanish, English and French-speaking Caribbean Islands, Venezuelan rum now exceeds by far the quality of rums of other rum-producing countries.

In Venezuela, aging is vital for the quality of the end product. By law, Venezuelan rum is the only one worldwide that must be aged at least for two years in American white oak casks. Otherwise, it cannot be classified as rum: 

"Alcoholic beverages will be regarded as aged only when at least two years have elapsed since the date they were stored for such purpose." 

Enactment of this 1955 law likely resulted back then in the demise of many rum brands and small distilleries, as they lacked financial means to afford costly American white oak casks and to age alcohols for two years to sell their spirits as rums. However, from that moment rum production industrialized and developed its quality potential.

With appellation of origin

Given the features and strict controls of rum in Venezuela, the government granted in 2003 the appellation of origin for Venezuelan rums to the Chamber of Venezuelan Industries of Alcoholic Beverages (CIVEA), in compliance with the requirements of quality and origin set by the Andean Community of Nations:

"An appellation of origin shall be understood to be a geographical indication consisting of the name of a particular country, region, or locality, or of a name which, without being that of a particular country, region, or locality, refers to a specific geographical area, which name is used to identify a product originating therein, the qualities, reputation, or characteristics of which are exclusively or essentially attributable to the geographical environment in which it is produced, including both natural and human factors."

Nowadays, Destilería Carúpano, El Muco, Licorería Florida continue to produce rum in eastern Venezuela. 

Santa Teresa (founded in 1796) keeps on growing and enhancing its products. 

Additionally, founded in 1938, Cacique and Pampero –the two most exported rum brands under the umbrella of multinational Diageo- are two beacons of excellence of Venezuelan rum worldwide. 

Some more recent brands such as Diplomático, Ocumare, Roble Viejo, Veroes, Cañaveral, Quimera, and Castro continue to strengthen the prestige of the local rum. 

The sound, thriving and competitive rum industry employs some 400,000 people in Venezuela.

Over two million boxes of Venezuelan rum bottles are sold worldwide on a yearly basis, while sales in this land of grace exceed one million and a half boxes.

Translated by Alejandro Bustamante

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