The Mexican city of Oaxaca is world famous for its Mezcal, yet for centuries there has been a small scale, family run, artisan rum-distilling industry, largely located in the mountains around the town.
Paranubes rum is produced by one of these families, the Carreras, who have been distilling for at least three generations. Jose Luis Carrera, who created this spirit, had previously been making aguardiente de caña (or “sugarcane brandy”) for his family and friends as a source of additional income alongside his day job as a cane and coffee farmer (his farm is also entirely organic). These small scale distilleries are found across the state, often located on the side of the road.
Paranubes has been bottled for sale by Judah Kuper, who also founded Mezcal Vago. Kuper happened across Carrera’s trapiche (local dialect for these tiny distilleries) after a tip off from a hitchhiker. Unlike other rums in the area, which were rather rough and ready, this was fruity and had a strong sense of terroir.
The spirit is made in a highly traditional manner, with the cane cleaned in the field, before being transported to the distillery by donkey. The sugar cane is then crushed, before being fermented with wild yeast and mesquite bark in giant pinewood vats. Interestingly, Carrera does not completely empty his washbacks when he charges the stills, rather he only takes half, which is enough to charge his small 550 copper column stills.
This method creates a kind of fermentation solera system, producing a uniquely fruity and funky rum. The stills remain direct fired – with fuel provided by old cane fibers. There are no computers at Carrera’s trapiche, with everything relying upon his experienced hand and eye.
The final result is funky, fruity rum which displays aspects of rhum Agricole, cachaça and Jamaican hogo-bombs. The spirit serves up heady notes of yeasty sugar cane, apricots, apple peel, grass, lime rind and some slight herbal, vegetal flavours.
Bottled at 54% ABV, Paranubes shines in any rum cocktail.
In an industry populated with over-sugared, adulterated bottlings, Paranubes is the real deal.
Beautifully presented with a scene of the Oaxacan mountains.