Jassil, the first woman to become Maestra Ronera for Brugal and the youngest Master of Rum in the industry, grew up listening to her family tell the story of Ron Brugal. She has always known that she was a part of his legacy. When she realized that she could make a career in rum, she became fascinated with the industry. With a skilled nose and refined palate, Jassil began acting on her fascination and training as a “Maestra Ronera”. (Master of Rum)
In a recent interview, we asked her about continuing the legacy for Brugal Rum, and Jassil said, “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. It has also given me the opportunity to honor and be part of the legacy of the Brugal brand.”
“At the same time,” continued Jassil. “It’s difficult and intimidating to combine tradition and innovation because it’s a big responsibility. It requires originality and confidence to take risks while respecting the history of “the process…” It’s a welcome challenge because I’m doing something I love.”
Creating a product with positive international reception also feeds into Jassil’s love for her craft. “I have been able to create great products that people love and admire globally, and have been able to represent my country, Dominican Republic, with indescribable pride,” said Jassil.
After creating Brugal 1888, Jassil has another accomplishment of which to be proud. The current Maestros Roneros, including Jassil, created Brugal 1888 in honor of their ancestor’s innovation and long-established goal to create quality rum. The rum benefits from the skills and expertise passed down through five generations of the Brugal family Maestros Roneros.
“There are secrets that are to this day still kept in the hands of the family rum masters,” teased Jassil.
Brugal 1888 Doblemente Añejado is a rum that is produced in the Dominican Republic. It is created by combining the full flavors of bourbon and sherry casks through a double-aging process. The double-aging technique, though usually reserved for high-end, single malts, allows consumers to sip Brugal 1888. The smooth, balanced rum also has notes of vanilla, red fruits, and toffee intertwined with cocoa and natural oak spice. Finally, a long-lasting aftertaste leaves a desirable hint of honey that is both elegant and divine.
Brugal 1888 inspires consumers to reimagine their favorite stirred, spirit-forward cocktail. They can discover a Rum Negroni or Old-fashioned with a memorable and distinct taste. Or rum enthusiasts can enjoy the spirit neat to stimulate their senses and witness how the rum evolves in the glass.
According to Brugal’s website, Don Andres Brugal Montaner had one idea when he moved to the Dominican Republic. He dreamed of perfecting the art of rum-making. In 1888, Don actualized that dream by creating the Brugal company and thus the Brugal legend.
Five generations and nearly 130 years later, the Brugal Family continues to craft the $40 rum. Only family members become Maestro Ronero. Jassil Villanueva Quintana and Gustavo Ortega Zeller currently hold the honor of living out their family legacy.
Jassil, what do you enjoy the most from all the processes as Maestra Ronera?
As a Maestra Ronera, I am involved in all aspects of the rum making process but most of my focus and work is within the Ageing and Formulation of Brugal. Quality cask and wood is so important for the development of Brugal rum’s flavor so overseeing this and inspecting quality is a key part of my role that I really enjoy. Also leading the development of new products and trying to create new flavors through the combinations of casks and blends is a really rewarding part of the role.
How do you differ from other Master Rum Makers? What qualities should a successful Maestra Ronera possess?
Maestros Roneros is the name given to Brugal’s Master Rum Makers, every rum master should have as a member of the Brugal family.
To be a Brugal Maestro Ronero independently for being a member of the family we need to have sensory skills, a deep knowledge of the products based on the development of the senses, as well as an excellent gustative capacity to define the mixtures in the elaboration of the rums. It is an art that requires great talent, dedication and passion for the world of rum.
What do you think are the new challenges into creating new spirits?
One of the challenges for new generations in the rum industry is to keep the spirit of innovation and creativity that characterizes our industry alive and to continue sharing a passion and appreciation for the craft of rum making with the world.
In the case of Brugal, the 5th generation of Brugal Maestros Roneros continue to work on developing new products for the years to come. The best contribution we can make is to add our own personal touch and continue to serve as role models and advocates for rum and the generations to come. That is the most important legacy we will leave.
Where do you see the Rum industry today and in the future?
I believe the Rum Industry is permanently in search, and attentive to the emergence of new business opportunities, and tries to foresee the changes that lie ahead. Helping us with the knowledge, experience, capacity and common sense necessary to make good decisions is what anyone needs today and, in the future, to continue making this spirits category full of innovation where brands such as Brugal offer a unique involvement to consumers by adapting the experiences and profiles of rums to the new trends.
What’s coming up for Brugal, anything you can share with us?
There are a few exciting things planned over the next few months, but you’ll have to wait and see!
For more information about Brugal 1888, visit their website at Brugal-rum.com and follow their journey on Instagram (@brugal1888rum). You may also find updates on Twitter @ronburgal_es , Facebook Ronbrugalrd, and Youtube Brugal Rum USA
*Images credit Brugal 1888*