Being a rum producer in Guatemala has got to be tough. After all, Guatemala is the home of Ron Zacapa – a rum often referred to as the gold standard by which all others are measured. So, what does a brand need to do to stand out in Guatemala? Botran Rum may have found the answer.
Botran was founded in 1940 by the Botran Merino brothers, who arrived in Guatemala from Spain. They began producing rum in small batches and soon unified other small-batch producers to create Licore de Guatemala, the now parent company of Botran Rum. Over 80 years, Botran became Guatemala’s top-selling aged rum, distributed to over 50 countries. But in late 2019, they took a three-year hiatus to work on branding in the United States market. In 2022, Botran came back with a new look and new certifications.
The bottle has two certification stamps – “Ron de Guatemala” Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and ISCC Plus accreditation (International Sustainability and Carbon Certification). Botran’s ISCC accreditation makes them the world’s first sustainable rum across all aspects of the rum’s journey from “from crop to drop.” They are committed to sustainable practices such as reforestation, water management, waste management, clean energy, and safety.
The company has also moved from a traditional solera system to “Anejamiento Dinamico,” or Dynamic Aging System. Instead of a pyramid structure, they created a vertical column stacked system using different casks in each column. After the rum is blended, the casks are repositioned, and the blending process is repeated. Over time, the younger rums in the column take on the bold flavors of the more aged rums.
Botran No. 15 is aged in American Whiskey, medium toasted American Whiskey, port, and sherry barrels for 5-15 years.
The Riveting Rio Dulce Guatemala: River, Ruins and Rainforest
The nose is very tropical fruit forward with mild cherry, orange peel, and vanilla. The tropical fruit notes remind me of a freshly cut fruit bowl as the rum opens up. The palate has the same freshness as the nose, with nothing else presented. The finish opens up to reveal black cherry and an earthiness from tobacco. It has the complexity on the finish that I enjoy and sips like a properly aged rum.
The bronze color leaves light lacing on the glass. The nose has orange peel and a nutty note underneath the orange’s brightness. I want to say it’s raw almonds or walnuts. The palate is also bright, with the orange peel front and center with cinnamon coming in on the backside. The liquid coats my palate as if I were drinking a port or sherry; unfortunately, it doesn’t carry those notes. My finish is warming, however, it doesn’t open up in the way Clint describes.
We both poured ourselves another glass to see where this rum took us. At $38/bottle, this would be a great rum to share with friends to see what notes they find.
4 of 5
About Clint and Terry: We have sampled many a dram over our 33 years of marriage and quite often we don’t fully agree. Could be the difference is male/female taste buds. Or, somebody is just wrong.