From the vast cane fields of Las Cabras de Pesé come the most exquisite molasses,
which together with the traditional ageing system in carefully selected barrels made
of American White Oak, give rise to Ron Calero:
a new jewel of the rum industry in Panama.
a benevolent businessman
with a passion for rum.
In the early 1900s, as the Panama Canal transitioned from French to American hands, a period of political unrest gripped the young Republic of Panama. It was 1904, a time when many European residents, including French citizens, were compelled to leave the isthmus.
Amidst this backdrop, Don Jorge, the offspring of a European father and a Latin American mother, emerged as a living testament to a blend of two vibrant cultures. His life, deeply interwoven with Panama’s diverse mosaic, molded him into a man of unique character and heritage. He viewed himself not merely as a citizen of Panama but as a cultural mestizo, passionately connected to the land and its people.
By the age of twenty-one, Don Jorge had resolved to root his life permanently in Panama, drawn irresistibly to the enchanting world of rum. The Caribbean barrels that landed on the isthmus opened the doors to clandestine gatherings where social barriers dissolved. In these covert assemblies, the bourgeois, creole, and workers mingled as equals, united by the spirit of rum.
At twenty-five, Don Jorge’s ambitions led him to establish a humble rum distillery in Cabras de Pesé. His vision was to master the craft of rum-making, blending the artisanal skills honed in the Panama Canal Zone with a quest to create an elixir worthy of the gods. His approach was inclusive and revolutionary, inviting individuals from all walks of life to partake in his tastings, symbolizing a divine hand guiding his endeavor.
CALERO, the rum birthed from Don Jorge’s distillery, was a harmonious fusion of European finesse and the vibrancy of the New World. It was more than a drink; it was a representation of Don Jorge himself, a testament to the beauty of cultural synthesis. In tribute to the men who built the Panama Canal and shared in his dream, he named his creation Ron Calero.
As CALERO gained local acclaim, whispers of a secretive group, led by Don Jorge, began to circulate. This circle would meet to taste and refine various rum blends, searching for perfection. Rumors suggested that this was no ordinary rum; it was, perhaps, the finest ever produced in the region.
However, Don Jorge’s inclusive approach to his “Secret Tastings of the Caleros” or “Las Catas Secretas de los Caleros” in Spanish, stirred controversy among high society, who frowned upon the mingling of diverse races and social classes. These gatherings, revered for their spirit of unity, became cloaked in secrecy, a necessity in an era where such assemblies were forbidden.
Today, these legendary tastings, known simply as “Las Catas Secretas” de Ron Calero, have achieved mythical status among rum connoisseurs. They symbolize not just the pursuit of the perfect rum but also a defiance of societal norms, a celebration of diversity, and the enduring legacy of Don Jorge’s vision. Sipping Ron Calero is more than a pleasure; it’s a reminder of the power of collaboration and community, a tribute to those who strive for something greater than themselves.
In honour of the men who worked together to build the great Panama Canal, and who laughed and drank with him, Don Jorge came to name his rum Ron Calero
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RON CALERO VARIETY
Ron Calero 21 Y.O.
Aged in American White Oak barrels for 21 years, and then expertly blended using a recipe perfected by Don Jorge and his Caleros during the building of the Panama Canal.