By Joselina Rodriguez
For Miguel Monsalve, rum is the essence of being Venezuelan. It means that all the good things that they have as a country, people can be found in a nice glass of rum. “The magic of transformation through the years is the most amazing thing and I think that we, as human beings, do the same; we only can get better through time”, Monsalve argued.
The history, the flavors, the industry, and the passion that is contained in every rum bottle, made him fall in love, especially when he was in his 20s when he found the relevance of rum not only for drinking but also as a source to learn and enjoy.
“In DUSA, the place I’ve been working for 16 years now, it has been my commitment to communicate the marvelous sensory world of rum, to describe the process, and to enhance the experience of those who buy our rum and those who come to the distillery to visit and learn our processes”, Monsalve said.
Miguel is a journalist born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. When he was 5 his family decided to move to Maracay, a city known as “the youth city” in their country so, he guesses that’s why he feels young all the time. Learn more about Miguel Monsalve, DUSA Brand Ambassador, in the following interview:
TRL: Three essential characteristics that define the rum according to your perspective.
Flavour, aromas, and complexity
TRL: Benefits that the rum industry has given you.
Knowledge, professionalization, and a very entertaining job.
TRL: What’s another thing you are passionate about, in addition to rum? Why?
Teaching and listening to music. I think that teaching what you know can mold your legacy in every aspect, family, job. When you teach, you learn so much more and that’s key for growing. Music. I love music and I love to listen to rock (from the ’80s). I can also play drums, not professional but I studied it for almost 3 years, so rock N’ rum.
TRL: What is your favorite place for drinking rum?
In the place I work, where I can receive people and do the tastings of our products. It is an old house, originally from the farm (hacienda) where the distillery is located, and we call it La Casita (the little house). I think it is a perfect place to drink.
TRL: Favorite drink + Recipe
Old Fashioned but with a twist. In La Casita, we prepare it with rum and not bourbon.
– 2 parts Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva
– 2 dashes Bitters
– 1 splash water
– 1-2 tsp sugar/a sugar cube / or brown sugar
– ice , cubed
Add the sugar cube/granulated sugar and the bitter (we produce our brand that is known as Tepuy Bitter) to a rocks glass with a single ice cube, then stir the mix until the ice cube has melted enough to dissolve the sugar. Add another 3 to 4 ice cubes and half of Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva then stir for around 60 seconds.
Top up the glass with more ice and add the rest of the rum, then stir for another 60 seconds.
For garnish, cut a piece of orange peel about the size of your thumb, hold the piece of orange peel over the glass and bend it to release some oil into the drink, then add it to the drink, stir a couple more times and serve. Delicious.
TRL: Why is it important to educate the rum consumer?
People need to know better the origin of the spirit they drink and enjoy. The more you know about your drink, the more you’ll enjoy it.
TRL: Any tips to train the palate and taste a good premium rum?
Enjoy and taste slow, concentrate in the aromas and taste. It is very important to do it (as a training) regularly in your house, with different kinds of products such as whiskies or gins first, and after a pair of sessions get into the rum so you can notice the difference and complexity of rum. I tell you, rum is very structured and very much fun. Repeat as pleased.
Premium rums are sophisticated, try to taste it neat, in a fat cup so the smell can get right up to your nose, being careful with the intensity of aromas. Once you manage and identify different smells, tastes, and sensations in the tongue, the next step would be to create pairings with chocolate or cigars and good music to complete a nice experience.
TRL: How can rum contribute to improving the crisis in some countries?
Rum is a very big and solid industry, it requires many people to produce it on a very big scale. If every rum country organizes and invests in this industry, it could represent a very important income for that economy. In Venezuela right now it Is a very important item.
TRL: Is the commitment to sustainable development the key to success for the permanence of the rum industry in the world? Why?
Of course, it is. Producing rum is a very interesting process in which raw material comes from the land, so, if the production process can guarantee sustainability to protect the places that you need to obtain raw material, it is keeping you in business. To produce rum it is necessary to take care of your waste and its transformation, of the communities near your production area, the environment, and the natural sources like water. Being sustainable, nowadays, is the main characteristic of a rum brand and a rum industry.
TRL: Who would like to meet in the rum industry? What would you say to him/her?
I’d like to know a pirate, from ancient times and ask him questions during a tasting of that raw and barbaric rum….and in the industry, I think that I know two of the greatest persons, our rum masters in Diplomático Mr. Tito Cordero and Mr. Nelson Hernández.
TRL: What are your next goals in the rum industry?
To become a specialist in creating sensory experiences and to collaborate in the development of a unique rum.
TRL: Plans you have when you leave the rum industry.
To work in voiceover and dubbing, and play drums while drinking rum.
TRL: Why is the role of the bartender important in the rum industry?
The bartender is a key for the rum and spirit industry. They are the ones who face a consumer and, for me, they should manage not only the information about a rum bottle, they should also know about the history and processes of that rum so when he/she offers a drink with a specific brand, they can argue that creation. They’re experienced retailers.
TRL: What is your advice for new generations in the rum industry?
Fill with passion everything you do in the industry. No matter if you’re in an office or working in the fermentation area, or marketing…everything you do, fill it with passion, and I promise, you won’t feel that you’re working….you’ll be sharing your passion.
Enjoy DUSA, Diplomático Rum and Miguel Monsalve at:
Try to get a well lit shot from the front of the rum label
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