What's the history of Santa Teresa 1796 Rum and how did it all start?
Santa Teresa is the oldest Venezuelan producer of blended and aged rums. The Hacienda Santa Teresa is an independent, family-owned company built on 225 years of tradition and unexpected thinking. The third oldest rum producer in the world, the brand has survived war, economic depression, dictatorships, land invasions and the threat of nationalisation, and yet it continues to thrive.
The history of Santa Teresa, the Vollmer family, and Venezuela have been intertwined for centuries. Gustav Julius Vollmer, the first Vollmer to arrive in Venezuela, married Francisca “Panchita” Ribas y Palacios, cousin of Venezuelan independence hero Simón Bolívar. After surviving the war, Gustav and Panchita took over the Hacienda and dedicated their lives to rebuilding the lands and continuing their family legacy. The Vollmer family has been distilling sugar cane and bottling rum at the Hacienda ever since, improving its recipes and passing down tried and true techniques.
Can you tell us a bit about the Hacienda Santa Teresa?
The Hacienda Santa Teresa has been making rum in Venezuela’s Aragua Valley for over 200 years. Everything used to make Santa Teresa 1796 - from the sugar cane to the water - is sourced from the brand’s estate and local farms in the valley. This terroir provides the perfect environmental conditions for ageing rum, from its rich soil to its temperate climate. From fermentation through distillation, ageing and blending, it all happens at the Hacienda.
What makes Santa Teresa 1796 Rum different to other rums?
Santa Teresa 1796 is the world’s first super premium rum to employ the Solera method, giving the rum an unexpectedly dry flavour palate with notes of tobacco, leather, molasses and dark chocolate.
However, Santa Teresa 1796 is not just a super premium rum with a unique taste and production process. Santa Teresa 1796 is a rum with a purpose and has strived to be a positive force in the community, most notably a program created by our current CEO and 5th generation rum-maker Alberto Vollmer, Project Alcatraz, that reforms criminal gangs in Venezuela. The combination of vocational training, values formation, psychological assistance, and formal education, with rugby. Through rugby, the values of respect, discipline, teamwork, sportsmanship, and humility are taught as keys to success in life. The program has rescued hundreds of men from crime and has helped to lower the region’s homicide rates by 90%.
Can you tell us more about the Solera system?
The Santa Teresa 1796 blend consists of three types of alcohol aged between 4 to 35 years. ‘Suelo,’ the spanish word for floor, is where the name solera for the process comes from. The solera itself consists of several stacked rows of barrels, each tier holding rums of scaling maturity. The row on the floor contains the oldest rum. The use of the Solera Method for Santa Teresa 1796 rum is an artisanal process of ageing, traditionally used for premium brandy and sherry.
When a portion of the rum is drawn from a cask on the floor, it is topped off with rum from the barrel directly above it, and this process continues up the rows. Ageing rum thus cascades down a column of casks, and down to full maturity in the barrels on the floor.
What's your favourite way to drink Santa Teresa 1796 Rum?
I always encourage people to try it neat or on the rocks for their first time, to be able to truly taste the rum’s full flavour notes. However, I like to get creative with it - Santa Teresa 1796 offers an ideal base to create a variety of cocktails, but a current favourite is Santa Teresa Negroni. Santa Teresa 1796 is dry and complex; it works wonderfully in a Negroni. I also love Santa Teresa 1796 in a Queens Park Swizzle, if I’m in to a fresh and relaxing mood.
What's next for Santa Teresa 1796 Rum - any exciting plans?
We are gearing up to celebrate our 225th Anniversary coming soon - with announcements on the way!
And recently we launched a new label program where consumers can add their personalised touch upon purchasing their bottle of Santa Teresa 1796. You can get a bottle with a custom label here.
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