Harald Jensen, a grandson of one of the founders of Casa Botrán and a Board Member, at IAADFS 2013

Casa Botrán, part of Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala, returned to the 2013 IAADFS Duty Free Show of the Americas with a stand that invited visitors to blend their own rums.

Talking to The Moodie Report at the show in Orlando, Harald Jensen, a grandson of one of the founders and a member of the Board of Directors, explained: “This is the first time we have been able to offer a component tasting and blending experience outside of Guatemala. We invite you to experience a bit of what our master blenders do every day.”

Having taken the opportunity to blend The Moodie Report’s very own rum – a limited edition of one single bottle – Jensen explained that blending is the key to the quality of Botrán rums, which are made exclusively from estate-grown and produced sugar cane honey, then aged in a solera system comprised of bourbon, sherry and port barrels.

He added that the company’s new Tour del Ron visitor’s circuit in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala’s second-largest city, allows visitors a glimpse of several hundred thousand barrels of Botrán as they age.

Commenting on the Botrán rum brand’s progress in duty free, Ron Botrán Global Commercial Director Frank Quiñones said: “Just like we cannot rush our production, we also feel we cannot rush brand building: it, too, is a long-term job that requires daily dedication.”

Indeed, at IAADFS 2012, Botrán announced that its new markets in 2013 would be Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, the UK, Peru, Sweden and Switzerland, all of which were successfully opened.

In the domestic UK market, Botrán was a lead sponsor in the first annual 50 Best Bars programme, which recognises top bars worldwide; the brand will also sponsor the 2013 programme. In addition, Botrán will be present at the leading domestic US spirits event, Tales of the Cocktail, held every July in New Orleans.

In the duty free sphere, the brand hosted a Botrán Bar inside Club Americas at this year’s IAADFS event, along with pouring rights as the exclusive rum within the club. Later this year, Botrán will be present at both the TFWA Asia Pacific and TFWA World Exhibition shows.

“As a family-owned company we value loyalty and consistency,” said Quiñones. “Whether that means sponsoring key events annually, or working faithfully with our distributors and customers, at the end of the day our partners know they can count on us.”

Casa Botrán invited visitors to its blending station at the 2013 IAADFS show in Orlando

Duty free distribution target

Regarding distribution, the next domestic market targets are Austria, China, Russia and Slovakia, while North America is the target for duty free.

“We are very proud of the team’s accomplishments in its first three years,” said Jensen, “and have full faith that they will meet their goals again this year.”

Focus rums for duty free

The rums offered to the travel retail market are:

– Reserva rums (SRP US$22/750ml in duty free);
– Solera 1893 rums (SRP US$30/750ml in duty free);
– Reserva Blanca white rum for blending (SRP US$18/750ml in duty free).

About Botrán aged rums

Since the 1950s, the Botrán family has been devoted to producing premium aged rums. Several factors converge to create Botrán. The Tululá sugar mill, located on the southern coast of Guatemala, provides the growing conditions for late maturating sugar cane varieties that are valued for their concentration. From these, virgin (first extraction) sugar cane honey is made, which is then carefully distilled and then blended.

Depending on the characteristics expected from each lot, the master blenders select barrels that had previously aged American whiskey, sherry or port. Some barrels are additionally toasted to contribute further aromas including vanilla, chocolate and dry fruits. The rums are then aged at Casa Botrán high in the Guatemalan mountains: the high altitude and cool climate create a longer, slower process, which is different from what most rums experience as they age in tropical climates.

Finally, Botrán rums are aged and blended using a laborious Solera system. Ageing is never rushed, allowing each rum to build colour, body, aromas and flavours. The results are described by the company as complex and balanced rums.