To celebrate National Rum Day, we caught up with one of the youngest Masters of Rum, Jassil Villanueva Quintana, to chat about all things rum. Based in the Dominican Republic, Brugal is a family-owned company that has been making rum for decades–and now its fifth generation is stepping up. Founded by Don Andres Brugal Montaner, only Brugal family members can become a ‘maestro ronero,’ and today, Jassil is Brugal’s first.
What does it mean to be a Maestra Ronera?
It has given me the opportunity to create great products that people love and admire worldwide and the opportunity to represent my country, Dominican Republic, with indescribable pride.
How does it feel to be the brand’s first Maestra Ronera?
It is both difficult and intimidating to combine tradition and innovation because it is a big responsibility. It requires original thinking and a willingness to take risks while respecting the history of doing things the way they’ve always been done. All eyes are on you and everyone expects big things, but at the same time, it’s a welcome challenge because I’m doing something I love.
Becoming Maestra Ronera gave me the opportunity to open new doors in the spirits industry for women of my generation and of future generations to enjoy the wonderful world behind Rum creation, to honor the legacy of and to be part of the history in the future for the Brugal brand.
What makes Brugal special and unique?
The key characteristics of our rum are the inimitable quality, the classy woodiness and our well-balanced flavors. These are a result of many essential details, such as the quality and purity of our unique spirit, the water from the springs in Puerto Plata, the unique climate of the region, our capacity to accommodate a great number of high quality casks in our aging warehouses and the skills and expertise passed down through five generations of Brugal family Maestros Roneros–secrets that are to this day still kept in the hands of the family rum masters.
Brugal 1888 is a double-aged rum that has a first aging in Bourbon casks and a second aging in Sherry casks to create a complex yet perfectly balanced sipping rum that evolves in the glass or sophisticated classic cocktails. The first maturation in bourbon American oak casks adds a woody dryness, with distinctive caramel, vanilla, coffee, and toffee notes on the nose. This is beautifully balanced during a second maturation in sherry Spanish oak casks, and adds a roundness and slight sweetness on the nose, with notes of red and dried fruits to taste.
Brugal 1888 is the perfect rum to sip and enjoy neat, however it is also the ideal base for classic stirred cocktails because of the depth of flavor achieved through the double cask aging.
Why do you use sherry casks to age?
Brugal 1888 uses Oloroso Sherry casks in its production–one of the most expensive cask types in the spirits industry. We are pioneers in the use of Sherry casks to bring new flavor experiences in our profile.
Can you share with me your favorite rum recipe for our readers to try at home?
Our “Don Nano Favorite” cocktail:
- 50 ml of Brugal 1888
- Frozen coconut water ice sphere
- Pour Brugal 1888 over the coconut water ice, and enjoy!
This two-ingredient cocktail is ideal for busy hosts, and for rum lovers, a great way to enjoy the spirit. Pour 50 ml of Brugal 1888 rum over a frozen coconut water ice sphere and serve. The coconut water pairs perfectly with the prominent wood influence in Brugal 1888 to deliver a simple and slightly sweetened serve that is an ideal aperitif.
Purchase Brugal 1888 at brugal-rum.com or our local ABC Fine Wine & Spirits at 9894 Glades Rd., Boca Raton; 561/482-5256