abuelo_logoRon Abuelo, Panama


Their Story

When it comes to the fine, aged rums of Ron Abuelo, the quest for perfection in spirits reaches a new high. There is little resemblance to lesser brands that created a category once better known for umbrella drinks and coconut-shaped glasses.

These remarkable rums are created at the hands of the expert distillers at Varela Hermanos, a family-owned company, which dates back to 1908, when Don José Varela established in the town of Pesé the first sugar mill in the recently-formed Republic of Panama. With their dedication to quality and taste, an historic spirit becomes the choice for those who can only be satisfied with the very best life has to offer.

abuelo1Quality is the hallmark of the brand, but Ron Abuelo’s secret weapon is its cache of mature rum. The 100-year-old company’s expertise and exacting standards are devoted to the creation of a line of remarkable, aged rums sold under the Ron Abuelo name. “Our brand is the expression of our long and passionate quest to produce the finest aged rum in the world. Abuelo means grandfather in Spanish, and the old man image on our labels reflects the essence of this brand: heritage and tradition,” says Luis J. Varela Jr., the third generation member of the Varela family now running the company. “We are very proud of our Panamanian birthright and we believe this magical country provides the perfect place to create the very best rums.”

While rum is now aged in several regions around the world, the rums masterfully created at Ron Abuelo’s Hacienda San Isidro in Pesé, are uniquely delicious due to the special climate conditions that bless the hacienda, located in a small fertile valley in the Azuero Peninsula. The moderate rainfall, cool nights, and humid days all play important roles in the development and personality of each spirit. Here, the company controls 100% of the rum making process: they grow and hand-harvest their own sugar cane, distill their own spirit and age it all at their estate.

The sugar cane is sorted and fed into the milling process for crushing, extraction, juice straining and purification at the Don José Distillery, a state-of-the-art facility that merges traditional and modern techniques for the industrial process of distilling spirits. The production process goes from cane juice fermentation along with in house-raised yeast to the ageing process inside small white oak barrels, striking a perfect balance between technology and tradition.

abuelo2The rums are created by careful blending of two styles of rum: a light, clean rum distilled to a higher proof and an aromatic base rum with bold, exotic flavors. Carefully crafted and aged in oak barrels that extract notes of vanilla and caramel, the final result is a rich and fragrant spirit that offers subtle, complex flavors not found in regular rums. This care and attention to quality results in a collection of rums that display both depth and extraordinary drinkability.

Strict quality control is maintained at the distillery by sophisticated laboratory equipment, while trained tasting panelists continuously supervise the aroma and taste profile to ensure consistency among each of the Ron Abuelo marques: Añejo, 7 Años, 12 Años and Centuria. Each of the four members of the Ron Abuelo family offers a different experience, a unique personality and character. All express the family’s passion to produce the very best aged rum.

To this day, Varela Hermanos produces high-quality spirits with the support of its local community. The devotion to crafting incomparable spirits is just as important as staying devoted to the company’s Panamanian roots and family. “From the very early days, the Varela family has been known for its commitment to exceptional quality,” adds Luis J. Varela Jr. “The aged rum category is the one that allows us to best express our craftsmanship, and as more and more consumers try Ron Abuelo, they recognize our superior taste, smoothness and complexity. That is the best compliment we could receive.”