Ron Zacapa Centenario Sistema Solera 23 Rum is a Guatemalan Rum that is aged in a fractional ageing system known as a Solera System. The Solera system at Ron Zacapa is based on the sherry system but Zacapa’s “Sistem Solera” involves blending rums of various ages in casks that once held robust American whiskey, delicate sherry and fine Pedro Ximenez wines. The age of the rums in the blend for this rum are between 6 and 23 years old. Zacapa rum is aged at 2300m above sea level in the highlands of Quetzelaltenango, this is one of the highest ageing facilities in the world and the cooler temperature and lower pressure of altitude allows the rum to develop slower and gain complexity.
The story of Zacapa starts at really starts at 350 metres above sea level where sugar cane is cultivated on the fertile, volcanic plains of Retalhuleu. Whereas most rums are made from the distillation of molasses (a by-product of sugar production) Zacapa uses on the concentrated first press of sugar cane, known as virgin sugar cane honey – the use of sugar cane juice is common in French speaking rum producing countries where rums produced from it are known as Rhum Agricole. Fermentation is started using a strain of yeast derived from pineapples called Sachharomyces cerevisiae that produces the particular aromatic character that Zacapa require. The rums are distilled in a copper-lined single column still.
Each bottle of the Ron Zacapa Centenario Sistema Solera 23 Rum is wrapped with a petate band, a reflection of the region’s proud Mayan period. This is a royal Mayan symbol representing the unity of time and space, earth and sky, each petate band is traditionally hand-woven in villages of the Departments of Chiquimula, El Quiché and El Progreso.
Nose: Soft, sweet start with aromas of caramel, vanilla, cacao and butterscotch. Continued by sherried notes of caramelized roasted brazil nuts and toasted hazelnut, rounded out by toffee, banana and dried pineapple.
Taste: Complex, generous and full-bodied. Starting with a depth of dried fruit and apricot, building to savory oak, nutmeg, leather and tobacco with notes of coffee and vanilla, balanced with a spicy touch of cinnamon and ginger.
Finish: Intricate with honeyed butterscotch, spiced oak and dried fruit.