Ron Santa Teresa is produced in the northern region of Venezuela at Hacienda Santa Teresa. Founded in 1796 the hacienda’s primary focus was processing sugar cane sourced from the Caribbean. Today the estate grows its own sugar cane and uses the molasses from their production to help create Santa Teresa rums. The process begins when they marry the molasses with proprietary yeast and distill part of the beer in pot stills and the other part in column stills. The rum is then put into French Limousin oak barrels and then the Solera aging process begins. At the end of the Solera process the blender works with a combination of rums with an age range of 4 to 35 years old. After an additional resting period the rum is blended to 40% ABV and bottled for distribution.
The bottle comes in a blue cylinder that has a ribbon secured with a wax seal with the number 1796 on it. The cylinder label is a less detailed version of the label found on the front of the bottle. Pulling the bottle out reveals a tall wine bottle that has been sealed in wax. I found the imbedded pull strip and removed it and then began fighting with the cork. Sadly, it was dried out and the plastic cap holding it did not give me enough of a grip to remove it before it broke. Corkscrew to the rescue and all was well, but it is something to be prepared for when opening this rum.
The rum has a dark walnut color in the bottle and lightens slightly in the glass. Gently swirling the liquid created a thin band that quickly thickened before releasing waves of equally thick legs. It took several minutes before the ring and legs evaporated, leaving behind a serious amount of pebbling all over the glass.
The aroma of the rum is pretty straight forward with dark caramel and herbaceous vanilla leading the way followed by cherries, prunes, cinnamon, charred oak, with sweet raisins coming in at the end.
The vanilla and caramel notes from the aroma were the first thing flavors to wrap the tongue. As they fade the fruit flavors burst forth with a swirl of raisins, cherries, plums, with a bitter citrus twist of dried orange peel. This bitterness transitions into a quick slide of spiciness and oak tannins. Baking spices, cinnamon, old leather, and roasted almonds note swirl and merge before a dark toffee note dominates the palate. As the rum begins to fade a copper note mingles with the toffee forming the long dry finish.
Santa Teresa products were the first rums I tasted from Venezuela and was also my introduction to Solera aged rums. This was back when the idea of a Solera aged rum was a unique idea in the United States and not the abused marketing term it is today. If you have to have it in a cocktail, it is outstanding in a Rum Old Fashioned, but it also enjoyable to sip neat with its approachable complex flavor profile. For quite a long time this rum was difficult to find in the United States, but now with the help of the Bacardi distribution network the Santa Teresa product line has never been more available than it is now.