While most dark aged rum is made from molasses, Zacapa uses concentrated honey from sugar cane grown in the Retalhuleu plantation on volcanic plains 350 metres above sea level. The plantation's fertile, acidic soil and year-round sunshine make ideal growing conditions.
Zacapa is then aged in the high altitude village of Quetzaltenango, 2,300 metres above sea level, at an ageing facility that's known as ‘The House Above the Clouds'. As the rum rests in former whisky, wine and sherry casks, the cool air and low atmospheric pressure in the Guatemalan highlands slow the ageing process to create complex flavours and character.
Two great rums are the result. Zacapa 23 contains rum aged between six and 23 years, brought together in what is known as the ‘solera' process. Intricate, with spiced oak and raisined fruit, Zacapa 23 is best served neat, ideally in a heavy Rocks glass with one large piece of ice. Zacapa XO uses rums aged between six and 25 years old, aged in French oak barrels that have previously been used to age wine, whisky and sherry, before holding cognac. It combines sweet fruit, spice and spirit in an ultimate expression of the Master Blender's art and is ideal neat, savoured in a Rocks glass or small wine glass. Or you can pair Zacapa with a range of dishes and snacks; it's delicious with dried fruits such as nuts or almonds, dark chocolate or a cinnamon-infused crème brûlée.