Ron Santa Teresa

SANTA TERESA LOGOHacienda Santa Teresa can trace its origins back to 1796 in the fertile Aragua Valley,Venezuela, where it was founded by Martin de Tovar, or The Count of Tovar as he became known after receiving the Royal Charter for the lands of Tovar from King Charles III. Sugarcane has been grown and aguardientes distilled in the valley since the middle of the 19th century but the Venezuelan War of Independence saw the lands of the Hacienda Santa Teresa ruined. Following the war, Hacienda Santa Teresa was purchased by the Vollmer Family and rum production began in 1896.

Now, more than 200 years after the founding of Hacienda Santa Teresa and over 100 years after rum production began in earnest, the Fifth Generation of the Vollmer Family still grow their own sugarcane to produce their rum and their modest mill has grown into one of Venezuela’s large modern agro-industrial complexes. The estate also grows the coffee which is used within their Araku Coffee Liqueur and the oranges that are used to produce their Rhum Orange. Ron Santa Teresa is also the only distillery in Venezuela that produces a single brand and it is also the Fourth largest producer of rums in the world. The family prides itself on the quality of their rums and in 1909, Santa Teresa was registered as the first Ron de Venezuela brand.

Ron Santa Teresa produce a wealth of expressions ranging from Claro, Anejo, Selecto, 1796 and Bicentenario along with their flavoured expressions in Araku Coffee Liqueur and Rhum Orange. Sadly I do not have the Bicentenario expression in my collection (one day perhaps), I do however have the other expressions to tell you about.


In an attempt to retain a higher quality product, Ron Santa Teresa do not exceed a 24 hour time limit between harvesting the sugarcane and processing it to obtain the molasses and a continuous fermentation process is employed rather than batch fermentation. This shortens the process of fermentation to around 15 hours. Distillation is carried out in both pot stills and column stills and Ron Santa Teresa choose to use a combination of American White Oak and French Limousin Oak to age their rum. Venezuelan Rum MUST be aged for 2 years as a minimum.

Claro Close UpSanta Teresa Claro – 40% ABV

In keeping with the guidelines, Santa Teresa Claro is a blend of rums aged between 2 and 3 years in ex-bourbon barrels and contains rum predominantly from a column still with a small amount of pot still added.

Tasting Notes

In the glass: The rum has been filtered to remove the colour gained from its two years in the barrel but what remains is still a straw yellow. There is a light hint of vanilla carried on a buttery and creamy aroma. The rum smells fresh, green and a little vegetal. There is a slight sweetness but the alcohol puts pay to any longevity in the  aromas.

In the mouth: The rum tingles on entry and then washes over your mouth with a little sweetness that seems to hit all corners before fading quite rapidly. Fresh sugarcane, vanilla and light fruit are present with a buttery edge that hints at further complexity but you just cant break down that alcohol.

As for drinks suggestions, I’ve tried it in a daiquiri and it works well. It’s not overpowered by the lime but I toned the sweetness down for my tastes.


Anejo Close UpSanta Teresa Anejo – 40% ABV

Again, the rum is predominantly from a column still with a small amount of pot still rum added. It is a blend of rums aged between 3 and 5 years in ex-bourbon barrels.

Tasting Notes

In the glass: The rum is a light gold and to be honest, out of the bottle, there are only a few shades difference between the Anejo and Claro. There is however a clear progression in the aromas. Vanilla and a little burnt sugar sweetness although not massively concentrated. That buttery edge is there along with very slight oak.

In the mouth: Initially there is a sweet lead which dry quickly to an oakiness partnered by vanilla, a peppery kick and faint chocolate. It has a very light body and a medium finish that rounds out with pepper and a little chocolate. I’d say that although pleasant, it is still in mixer territory.

As for mixed drinks, when accompanied by a little ginger beer (not too fiery), lime and very light use of bitters, it makes for a refreshing drink.


Selecto Close UpSanta Teresa Selecto – 40% ABV

The rum is predominantly from a column still with a small amount of pot still rum added. It is a blend of rums aged between 3 and 10 years (an average of 8) aged in ex-bourbon barrels.

Tasting Notes

In the glass: The rum is gold with red flashes and is clearly the next step on a journey. Stronger oak leads into the crispness of apple backed with deep, dark, sugary vanilla.

In the mouth: The rum is smooth and peppery with more oak and a slight hint of coffee and dark chocolate. It has a medium body and light viscosity and there is still some alcohol present but it doesn’t detract from the overall experience. The finish is consistent every time. It’s all chocolate and coffee. Very tasty stuff.

This rum is more than drinkable neat but the coffee lends itself to a coffee and rum martini. I’d suggest using the Araku too. The Selecto and Araku compliment each other well.


1796 Close UpSanta Teresa 1796 – 40% ABV

This is where the real magic happens. This rum is a blend of rums aged for between 4 and 35 years. As the solera method of ageing is used in the production of this rum, the average rum age contained in the bottle is around 18 years. The rum is from a column still with a large amount of pot still rum added and ex-bourbon barrels are used within the solera employed by Ron Santa Teresa. The blend is then allowed to marry within large french oak vats that once contained cognac. 1796 has won a host of awards. Gold ‘Exceptional’ Medal at the Chicago Beverage Testing Institute in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2009. Gold Medal in the San Francisco World Spirits competition in 2009. Gold Medal in the IWSC 2006. Spirit of the year Malt Advocate Award in 2006 and it was voted Rum of the Year 2005 by Dave Broom.

Tasting Notes

In the glass: This is where your money goes. The rum is dark gold with mahogany flashes. It’s creamy and oaky on the nose but not too heavy. Buttery fudge and stewed fruits are wrapped in a vanilla spiked toffee sauce and topped with pecans and a buttery crumble. There is a slight creamy chocolate and a touch of cinnamon. This rum is clearly part of a family of rum as each expression has touches of its younger sibling within. It’s a pleasure to sit and nose this rum. It truly is like a stewed fruit crumble with a cinnamon sugared topping.

In the mouth: Initially the rum is sweet on entry with some oak dryness. Stewed fruit comes through with an almost date sugar and spiced sweetness. Toffee and nuts are here with an almost buttery mouth feel yet the rum still has a medium viscosity. It’s not chewy at all and you are not overcome with sweetness. There is a real balance here and coffee rounds out a medium length finish that dry’s out with a little vanilla.

If you were to mix it, definitely try a rum old fashioned. 50ml of 1796, 5ml of sugar syrup, a dash of bitters, slice of orange and a large cube of ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.


Rhum Orange Close UpSanta Teresa Rhum Orange

The base of this Rhum Orange is the same 2 year old rum that forms the basis of the Claro. This is then macerated with sweet Valencia oranges for between 1 and 4 months.

Tasting Notes

In the glass: The rhum is gold with orange flashes and there is a little alcohol burn there alongside the intense orange.

In the mouth: The rum is thick and viscous with a really sweet entry. This dry’s out quickly. It’s just so easy to drink. It wont be for everyone, but I love it.

Try it in an orange daiquiri but I omit the sugar syrup due to sweetness. Be careful with the amount of lime used and I’ve found that a touch of sparkling water really helps to make the drink unbelievably refreshing.



Araku Close UpSanta Teresa Araku Coffee Liqueur

Again this uses the same 2 year old rum base as the Claro and Rhum Orange but this time the rum is infused with fresh ‘Caracas Blue’ 100% Arabica Coffee.

Tasting Notes

In the glass: The rum is black with elements of gold around the edges. There are deep dark coffee and chocolate aromas.

In the mouth: The liquid is thick and viscous with a dominant sweetness. Again this dry’s out with instant dark chocolate and coffee. It’s like eating chocolate coated coffee beans such is the intensity. You’ll never go back to Kahlua!

I love this in a twist on a very boozy White Russian. I use 25ml Araku, 50ml Selecto, 25ml Mozart Dark Chocolate Liqueur and then top it up with milk. Lots of ice. Occasionally a drop of Black Walnut Bitters……..and relax.


Hopefully this little run through of the range will encourage you to seek out Santa Teresa Rums as each expression has something to offer. They are truly a family of rums from a family owned company and at least one expression should be a staple in your collection. My thanks to Mangrove for filling in the gaps in my Santa Teresa collection and for allowing me to experience some excellent Venezuelan rums. Go and seek them out, you will not be disappointed.

©Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Ron Cubay

This is a new one for me and maybe for most of you…..unless of course you’ve visited Cuba, which means that you will be more than well versed with the delights that this range of rums has to offer! Cuban rums hold a special place for me as it was Havana Club Anejo Especial ( a rum that my wife had a fondness for and introduced me to ) that became one of my staple drinks and one of my entry points into the world of rum. Anyway, I digress. It is Ron Cubay that I’m talking about and please forgive me if ‘talking’ becomes ‘raving’.

Cubay Label

A little rum history to begin with. Rum production was first undertaken in Cuba in the 17th Century when sugarcane was used to create a crude molasses wine which would eventually be called Ron, or Rum. The sugarcane that was used was first introduced to Cuba in 1493 by Christopher Columbus on his return visit after discovering the Island on his first voyage to the Americas in 1492. The sugarcane, which had come from Spain from its origins in the Far East grew well in Cuba’s climate and soon became its main crop. In the 19th Century, rum production in Cuba really ramped up with places such as Havana, Cardenas and Santiago de Cuba beginning to produce large quantities of rum for export.

Fast forward to 1964 and Ron Cubay was founded in Santo Domingo, Villa Clara, which is centrally located in Cuba. The Cubay rums are produced by the distilleries of Cuba Ron S.A which also produce Havana Club. The Ron Cubay brand was only ever intended for domestic consumption, hence the reason that we are only just seeing it in the UK with it only having a presence in Europe since 2010. Distribution rights within the UK are held by a company called JBE Imports and it is thanks to Jonathan of JBE imports that I have the opportunity to sample and write about these rums.

Cubay Bottles

Although the Ron Cubay range consists of 5 rums……a 3-year-old Carta Blanca, a 4-year-old Carta Dorada, a 5-year-old Anejo Suave, a 7-year-old Anejo and a 10-year-old Anejo Reserva Especial, it is only the 3, 7 and 10-year-old expressions that will be marketed in the UK. As it has been making waves in Europe, particularly in The Netherlands, Ron Cubay has also been collecting awards with the Anejo winning Best Golden Rum at the 2012 Dutch Rum Awards and the Anejo Reserva Especial winning Best Premium Rum at the 2012 Dutch Rum Awards. All of which is nice, but what you really want to know is how it tastes… here goes.

Tasting Notes – Ron Cubay Carta Blanca

In the glass: The rum is clear but does display a slight golden hue. Immediately you get green sugarcane and a freshness. No harshness at all and a little sweetness.

In the mouth: There is a slight sugarcane on your tongue and a little fruity sweetness. The finish is medium length and leaves you with a grassy, fresh sugarcane taste. It’s clear that this rum will mix well.

I wanted to use the rum in a drink that would allow the rum to be at the fore, therefore I went for a daiquiri, or more specifically, a Hemingway Daiquiri. If you look online there are numerous recipes with varying quantities, some have sugar syrup as well as maraschino liqueur and others have an insane amount of lime. Truth is, as mentioned previously, you will find a combination that suits you, and you wont believe how different this tastes to a standard Daiquiri. I don’t like mine too sour so I opted for 10ml fresh lime juice, 10ml fresh ruby grapefruit juice, 10ml Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur and 50ml Ron Cubay Carta Blanca. Put it all in a Boston Shaker with plenty of cubed ice and shake well for about 10 seconds so as not to dilute too much. Double strain into a pre-chilled glass of your choice, mine is a rocks glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry if you desire, I just dive straight in.

Cubay Carta Blanca

Tasting Notes – Ron Cubay Anejo

In the glass: The rum is a bright golden colour and there is an initial brown sugar and honeyed vanilla aroma. The rum smells quite light and doesn’t look to viscous in the glass but there is a nice light sweet fruit depth to the rum that I can’t quite put my finger on.

In the mouth: The rum tastes quite light and doesn’t coat your mouth too heavily but my word its tasty. The sweetness that I couldn’t put my finger on is displaying itself as an almost pineapple and peach mixture. I then get a wave of warming vanilla. The rum has a medium finish and ends with brown sugar and fruit. The glass, once empty, which happens far too quickly, displays the trademark leather and tobacco aromas and it is unbelievable. This rum is so easy to drink neat, I forgot to mix it with anything and continued to sip glass after glass, enjoying each one more than the last.

Cubay Anejo

Tasting Notes – Ron Cubay Reserva Especial

In the glass: The rum is a deep mahogany brown and shows itself to be more viscous than the Anejo. It hits you straight away with dark brown sugar and an almost treacle sweetness. You can smell warm honey drenched peaches and a little spiciness. This all leaves a lasting vanilla above the glass when you leave it to sit. It smells like it has more going on than the Anejo in terms of complexity.

In the mouth: Instant warming sweetness envelops your mouth and it leads with treacle and a liquorice feel. Almost bonfire toffee. Not chewy in any way but like you’re about to enjoy fireworks! This gives way to a warm but not bitter oakiness and a little spicy vanilla. There is a little kick on the back of the tongue and it just lets you know that its there. It has quite a long vanilla and toffee finish. Its amazing what another 3 years in the barrel can do over and above the Anejo. It also benefits from the additional 2% abv that it has over the Anejo with the Reserva Especial weighing in at 40%.

Cubay 10


So that pretty much sums up my experiences so far with Ron Cubay. It’s not as well-known ( in the UK ) as other Cuban Brands, but it has equally as much to offer and at the potential price point, could offer incredible value should demand lead to a presence with your favourite online retailer’s. I for one am sold on these rums, particularly the Anejo which I think it’s a very nice rum to sip at any time and now having tried the Reserva Especial to complete my tasting of the range, you can really tell that this is truly a family of rums and the Reserva Especial is that natural progression from the Anejo in terms of complexity and quality. It is my favourite rum in the range as far as sipping goes but there is something about the Anejo and its taste both neat and when mixed that makes me think that it could become the pouring rum in quite a few bars that are adventurous enough to break from the familiar.

If you are attending Rumfest this year, JBE Imports will be showcasing Ron Cubay and it should be available for purchase there. I wholeheartedly recommend that you grab a bottle of all 3 expressions because based on my experiences so far, you will not regret doing so.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.