Rum from above the Clouds.
Ron Zacapa is named after a town in eastern Guatemala. Their plantation is located high on the volcanic plains of Retalhuleu, 1148ft (350m) above sea level. Most Rums use molasses as their base. In an effort to impart a sweeter and smoother flavour, Zapaca meanwhile uses only the concentrated first press of sugar cane, known as virgin sugar cane honey. When it’s time to start the fermentation, a strain of yeast extracted from pineapples is used, which produces unique aromatic compounds.
The Rum is then distilled at sea level in continuous column stills, before being moved higher into the mountains, where the maturation takes place. In the highlands of Quetzaltenango, 7,544 ft (2,300 M) above sea level, lies The House Above the Clouds. This stunning location – one of the highest ageing facilities in the World – is where Zacapa slowly develops its complex flavour and character over time. Rums between 6 and 25 years old are used in the blend of Ron Zacapa XO. These Rums are then blended as they age in a sequence of barrels that previously stored robust American Whiskeys, delicate Sherries, fine Pedro Ximénez wines and are finished in French oak cask that previously aged Cognac. Talk about a fusion of flavours!
Smartass corner: The lower atmospheric pressure helps intensify the infusion of flavours from the barrels.