Swillin' the Rum for Doug's Birthday
We are always looking for fun activities to do and see while we are travelling and lucky for us, the Bonampak Rum Distillery is right here in Chiapas. We took a break from the boatyard and scheduled a tour with our friends, Scott and Tami, to celebrate Doug's birthday. When setting up the tour, I was told that we would have an English speaking tour guide, little did we know it would be the 3rd generation owner and CEO himself!
This amazing, four-hour tour, was way more than your typical tour...it was truly a Master Class in rum making, which ended with a rum tasting. We gained a plethora of knowledge from Eduardo, who has so much passion for what he does. It is a true art of what takes place at his distillery.
Established in 1948, the distillery is located at an old sugar mill near Tapachula, Chiapas. Sitting near the Pacific Ocean, the humid and tropical climate, makes for the perfect place to distill rum. Bonampak is named after the ancient Mayan archaeological site in Chiapas and the brand holds deep meaning in ancient Mayan art and religion.
Sugarcane, which is the main ingredient in rum, was brought to Mexico by Spanish settlers in the 16th century and it is now growing here in Tapachula. Bonampak sustainably uses local products including organic coffee beans and Chiapas oak barrels in the rum making process. They also use a blend of pot-distilled cane juice and column-distilled molasses when making their products.
After gaining lots of knowledge and asking many questions, we toured the distillery grounds. Traces of the old sugar mill can be found throughout the property, but the jungle is slowly claiming it. Eduardo has future plans for the area, incorporating a new classroom and tasting room, while still keeping the history of the location alive.
This location distills many different rums and while we were there, they were bottling the famous Deadhead Rum. Because of the odd shaped bottle the crew hand fills, labels, and boxes these bottles. It's a tedious process and they take a 10 minute break every hour to keep themselves on their game.
The last step of the tour was the tasting and it did not disappoint! The initial testing started with seven different rums, however Eduardo kept bringing out other bottles to try. It was quite the experience. As Eduardo says: "In life, be like our Bonampak Blanco Rum: adaptable, versatile, and pleasant; but also strong and memorable."