Q. What is rum made from?
A. Premium rums, like Vizcaya VXOP, are made from the freshly pressed juice of sugar cane. This juice is then fermented, distilled, aged and bottled. Many popular rums that are widely available in both bars and liquor stores in the United States today, however, are made from molasses—which, rather than being produced specifically for the creation of rum, is a byproduct of other processes. Molasses generally results in an inferior product, but when you drink Vizcaya VXOP, you can be assured of experiencing only the highest quality spirits, made from sugar cane harvested at the peak of freshness.
Q. Is all rum aged? Does rum continue to age in the bottle, like fine wine?
A. Not all rum is aged, although most of it is aged in oak barrels to provide a mellow, more elegant taste to what might otherwise be a somewhat raw-tasting tipple. Vizcaya VXOP is aged in select oak barrels that once contained fine bourbons or armagnacs, in order to impart to this distinctive sipping rum a rich, nuanced quality. Most rums are aged before blending, and then bottled. This arrests the aging process, so you can be confident that each glass of Vizcaya will taste as consistently delicious as every other.
Q. What is “rhum agricole” or “methode agricole”?
A. The “methode agricole” is a unique distilling process that can be likened to the “methode champenoise” used to produce fine champagnes. It originally referred to spirits that were produced from freshly squeezed sugar cane juice and distilled to approximately 70 percent alcohol (140 proof) by volume. Rhum agricole, which simply means “agricultural rum,” is in direct contrast to mass-produced industrial rums. Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 rum, which is painstakingly crafted in the Dominican Republic in the old Cuban style, is a rhum agricole and the ultimate sipping rum.
Q. So what is a sipping rum? Can’t I use Vizcaya with mixers or in cocktails?
A. A sipping rum typically has more complex, refined flavors that are intended to be enjoyed for their own merits, rather than combined with other ingredients that might overpower or obscure them. Sipping rums like Vizcaya are often paired with cigars or food to bring out the rum’s unique characteristics—notes of spice, butterscotch, vanilla, wood smoke and fruit, as well as a warm, inviting bouquet and smooth finish. Considered the ultimate sipping rum, Vizcaya VXOP may be best enjoyed neat, n on the rocks, or with just a splash of water to let its full flavor profile shine through. Nevertheless, we’re not going to tell you that you can’t enjoy Vizcaya as a component of an extraordinary cocktail—make the rum your own and savor it however you wish, as long as you don’t overdo it.
Q. Did pirates really say “Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum”?
A. Probably not. The phrase comes from a fictional sea shanty in Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous novel Treasure Island, and has been referenced or used in everything from poems, to television series, to a graphic novel, to a ride at Disneyland. Nevertheless, the tradition of rum drinking aboard ships, whether Navy or pirate, is a long-standing one, and singing “yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum” fits nicely with the romantic vision we have today of brave, seafaring men.