When you look at a brand, do you look into the history of it? Does it sway you when your thinking of a purchase? Most probably not, and there’s nothing wrong with that to be fair. If you look into some brands, it will give you an idea of what you’re purchasing though. Usually if you see a brand that has been part of the same family for generations, you’ll be looking at a good quality spirit. Most whiskies and gin have stood the test of time by being handed down between generations of family, and the sales show.
But on the other end of the spectrum, some of the newer brands have been created due to passion and dedication from individuals, and can stand up against the older brands so to speak. When it comes down to this, it’s more trial and error, or going off recommendations. This is what i do. Give you an insight into the world of spirits and show you, not tell you, what to drink. One I’m going to showcase to you today is a rum that comes under the tag of being a part of generations – Ron Santa Teresa.
The origins of Ron Santa Teresa date back to the end of the 18th Century when a gentleman named Martin de Tovar received the title of Count of Tovar and the Royal Charter for the lands of Tovar from King Charles III of Spain – the birth place of Ron Santa Teresa. 1796 saw the Hacienda Santa Teresa founded by the Count of Tovar in the valleys of Aragua. At the beginning of the 19th Century, wheat, indigo, coffee and sugar were grown in the valley, resulting in a sugar mill being built in 1810 and a still to distill aguardiente.
The Venezuelan Independence War crashed a negative effect on the economy and ruined the lands of Hacienda Santa Teresa. 1821 saw General Jose Francisco Bermudez defeat the Royalist troops to end the war. 9 years later, German born Gustav Julius Vollmer married Panchita Rioas y Palacos who was the niece of General Jose Felix Ribas inherited parts of the Santa Teresa land and started revitalising the valley to its prosperous ways. Gustav Julius Vollmer Ribas bought Hacienda Santa Teresa in 1885 and by the middle of the 19th Century, aguardiente from sugar cane were being produced. In 1909, Santa Teresa was registered as the first Ron de Venezuela brand.
The son of Gustav and Panchita, Gustavo Julio Vollmer brought the first tractor to Venezuela in 1913 to transport the sugar cane to the mill from the fields. Four years later, rum barrels were being transported by truck from the Hacienda to the El Consejo train station. Electric motors were installed in the mill in 1936 and followed by a large-scale rum production in 1936. 1955 saw Alberto Vollmer Herrera bring the Vollmer family into the modern age by incorporating Santa Teresa into a public company. 1978 saw Santa Teresa have the most up-to-date molasses distillery in Latin America.
How does Santa Teresa come about?
After harvesting the sugar cane, it is crushed before fermented by adding yeast in a continuous or pot still small batch method. Santa Teresa combine both when creating their range. After distillation in column stills, water is added from Santa Teresa springs and then stored in oak barrels for at least 2 years according to Venezuelan law.
So how is the Santa Teresa portfolio? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on each –
Santa Teresa Añejo Gran Reserva – 40%
Aged in oak for up to 5 years. Sweet notes of fruit on the nose that carries onto the palate. Slightly sharp as it develops with hints of dry wood coming through. Creates a long finish.
Santa Teresa Ron Selecto – 40%
Blend of rums aged for between 3 and 9 years. Heavy vanilla on the nose with hints of damp wood slicing through near the end. Slightly sweet on the palate but becomes silky with the vanilla mellowing on a long, mouth-watering finish.
Santa Teresa 1796 Ron Antiguo de Solera – 40%
Blend of rums, vatted using the solera system, aged between 8 and 12 years of age. After blending it is aged for a further year in bourbon barrels. A good mixture of dry and fresh fruits on the nose, with a slight honey note coming through near the end. Incredibly smooth on the palate, almost silky, with hints of dry wood and leather. The honey is more noticeable creating a warm finish.
Santa Teresa Rhum Orange Liqueur – 40%
Made with 2-year-old Santa Teresa. Light and fruity with fresh oranges present on the nose. Sweet notes of rich orange with hints of chocolate come though on the palate. A little dry on the long finish, but kicks of freshness linger.
Santa Teresa Arakú Coffee Liqueur – 28%
Made with coffee and rum which is aged for 2 years in white American oak barrels. Creamy coffee on the nose with a slight sweetness following. Lots of sweet notes but lightens out as it develops on the palate. Well-balanced with roasted coffee mixing with vanilla to create a moorish finish.
A fantastic range, with both the Rhum Orange, Arakú coffee, 1796 and Ron Selecto standing out for me. The Añejo Gran Reserva would be perfect in one of these though –
40 ml Añejo Gran Reserva
3/4 Chopped lime
1/4 Chopped orange
1 Tablespoon of sugar
Add the fruit and sugar to the rocks glass and muddle. Add rum, crushed ice and churn. Cap with crushed ice and garnish with orange wedge.
Refreshing! A great range of rums to indulge yourself upon, and there frequenting more and more bars as well as your local retailer. The 1796 is up there as one of the best sipping rums in my opinion, I’d recommend not to pass up if you ever come across.
© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.