Interview with Jaiker Soto Bravo Master Blender @ Destileria Serrallés

Jaiker Soto Bravo
Master Blender @ Destileria Serrallés

1) Who is Jaiker Soto Bravo?

Chemical engineer, with 15 years of experience in the operation of rum production plants, specializing in fermentation, distillation, aging, formulation, blending, sensory evaluation, research, new products development and quality assurance. He has worked for major rum production companies in South and Central America holding positions in all production process that has allowed him to train as a master blender in the rum industry. Similarly, he has worked as an engineering consultant in rum manufacturing processes in Costa Rica and El Salvador, and has participated as a speaker and judge at international conferences and tasting rums competitions in Colombia and Mexico. He is currently the master blender of Destileria Serralles, which gives his expertise, passion and love for the work in the development and assembly of exceptional rums that are the hallmark of Don Q.

 

2) Biggest achievement you personally feel you have accomplish for the rum industry.

Participate in the development and formulation of new commemorative products as Reserva de la Familia Serrallés (150th Anniversary) and Single Barrel 2005 for the Don Q brand as a references in the rum market in the super and ultra-premium segments

 

3) What made you fall in love with rum and when did it happen?

Around 2003, at the beginning of my professional career working for a sugar mill as a production engineer, I had the opportunity to visit a rum distillery in Venezuela, walking through the sugar cane fields, tasting the sweet juice, knowing the fermentation, distillation process and alcohol production, aging and final blending, there it all started. Later, I became a process engineer in this distillery.

4) What is that thing that makes you want to continue in the rum industry?

Definitely, is the passion and the art to perfect the rum production process, raising the category to a higher level and locate Don Q in global markets as a rum recognized for its quality, tradition and respect for the heritage, more than 150 years perfecting the rum blending.

5) Favorite Rum Drink + Recipe?

Gran Añejo Manhattan

Don Q Gran Añejo – 2 oz
Club Soda – Splash
Angostura Bitters – Two Dashes
Maraschino Cherry – One
Sweet Vermouth – 1 oz

Add crushed ice and club soda to a cocktail glass and set aside. Add Don Q Gran Añejo, vermouth, bitters and ice to a mixing glass. Stir until well chilled. Discard ice and club soda from cocktail glass. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

 

6) Where do you see the rum industry today and in the next 5 years?

The rum industry has great potential, and it’s on an upward spiral where brands are betting on a premium market, with best finished rums, more refined, more aged, using end terminations in cognac, port, sherry barrels, among others, looking for more sophisticated blendings. The industry will continue to grow for the next 5 years, conquering more consumers in the five continents, and above all, raising its category to extraordinary levels.

7) Share some (2-3) of your mentors and how they have help you. 

Don Nestor Ortega and Don Oscar Queris, for their knowledge contribution in the process of elaboration of rum, aging techniques, blending, and of course, the development of sensory skills.

8) What 3-5 things do you have in your bucket list for the next 12 months?

  1. To spend one week in the Rum Cruise around the Caribbean
  2. To visit the Scottish Highlands and whiskey production
  3. To visit Chile, the wineyards and wine cellars.

9) Any last words?

Making rum is an interesting combination of science with the soul and imagination of the master blender and the result is inspiring. The rum has improved over time, in sensory profile and structure, to become in a distillate, today in the XXI century, that has been able to conquer the most demanding palates, worldwide.

10) How can people learn more about you? Website? Social Media Page?

Social media networks
Facebook: Jaiker Soto
Twitter: @jaiker.soto

Author: Fede

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