Hacienda San Isidro

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The cradle  of rum in  Panama!

Traditional carts pulled by bulls.

Traditional carts pulled by bulls.

Panama is full of magical places for domestic travel. One such place is in the picturesque district of Pesé, Herrera province, where you can find the Hacienda San Isidro, birth place of Ron Abuelo.

It was there in 1908 when a Spanish immigrant, Don José Varela Blanco, founded the San Isidro Sugar Mill to process sugar cane and later on manufacture spirits, creating Varela Hermanos S.A.

In recognition of the historic value of the distillery’s work and its contribution to the culture and business of Panama, the company decided to make known its history and open its doors to the public by creating the “Rum Route of Panama,” a tour of its expanding liquor factory that includes a visit to the patriarch’s family home, located to one of side of the San Jose Church in the middle of Pesé, together with a rum degustation with which one receives a certificate as a connoisseur of this spirit so characteristic of tropical countries.

The magic of rum

The magic of rum

The visitor arrives at an imposing entrance surrounded by sugar cane and teak. There they receive a Panama hat, a distinguishing feature of the Rum Abuelo brand throughout the world, and a stylish protection from the sun, since the tour to the factory from that point is done in a traditional wood cart pulled by two enormous Cebu bulls.

The next step for visitors is to walk through the installations of the hacienda, including the area where the sugar cane is ground and its juices extracted through impellers and gears that serve as modern cane mills. The smell of molasses, as well as the intensive heat, leads visitors to the blending and fermentation vats, where the juice is fermented with proprietary yeast.

After that the tour proceeds to where the magic happens: the enormous aging cellars, where the different Ron Abuelo products (Añejo (vintage), seven years, 12 years and Centuria) are aged in imported barrels of white oak.

Rum tasting.

Rum tasting.

“La Ruta del Ron®” (The Way of the Rum) culminates at the Hacienda’s Visitors’ Center with a rum-based cocktail, followed by a lunch with Panamanian flair. The tour’s final stop is the rum tasting, where the individual qualities of this liquor in its four varieties are differentiated so as to be able to better distinguish and savor the product.

For the “Ruta del Ron®,” reserve through reservaciones@varelahermanos.com Telephone: 974-9401 / 6550-4498 / 6670-8425

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