interview with salome aleman - cuban rum blender

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this is from the excellent rum lab site (well, i think they are excellent as occasionally the post stuff i have done - not that one ever gets paid...)

Rum Connoisseur
Interview of The Week



Master Blender at Ron Santa Cruz


1. Who is Salomé Alemán?

I was born in Havana, Cuba. I am a Chemical Engineer in Food, graduated from the University of Technical Sciences (CUJAE) in 1988. When I finished my studies, I started working in Ronera Santa Cruz, the largest rum factory in the country, located in Santa Cruz del Norte, 50 km from the capital. It belongs to the Cuba Ron S.A. Corporation.

During the work training process, I was working in different positions in the different areas of the factory as part of my initial preparation: alcohol and liquor distillery, rum and liquor manufacturing area, aging places and others. I took different courses such as training of auditors, management techniques, diploma in foreign trade and others.

In 2010, I was invited to join the Movement of Masters of Cuban Rum in the category of Aspiring Masters. After several years of preparation, I was recognized as Master of Rum in 2016, becoming the first woman to with this title in Cuba.


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

The greatest achievement I have had is having been recognized as Master of Rum after many years of job in the rum industry. This for me constitutes the highest professional recognition that a technician dedicated to the world of spirits can have. This position allows me to work in many technological aspects of the processes that lead to the production of rums, normative, cultural and historical. This profession contributes to the training of technical personnel working in this industry. These aspects leave a mark in the result of the work that is carried out in the factory where I work and in the sustainability of the Cuban rum productions.


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

There are loves that are carried inside and do not know until they bloom, this happens when there are favorable conditions as was my case. I came to this industry without intending to, it was my destiny, I thought I was only 2 years old, which is the time established when we linked to work after completing university studies, but I stayed. I work in a beautiful place facing the sea, in a factory full of history and prestige where the aromas of the process catch you and no longer allow you to leave.


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

The rum industry is exciting; it has all the processes that an engineer of my profile has studied, which allows a better understanding and delivery. It is an interesting and complex type of work where the results are long-term and you are committing to tasks and their projects. In the end, you always want to do more, it is as if you do not reach your life to do everything you dream, the beauty for me is to prepare people to continue your work and keep working to pay tribute to Cuban rum.


5. Favorite Drink

My preferences in drinks depend on the occasion, the time and place where I am. I prefer the Extra Aged Rum Maximum Havana Club. In the case of Cocktail, I prefer a President or a Daiquiri preferably strawberry.


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

We are in a healthy moment in the rum industry, it is conducive to its growth. The Havana Club brand is the leader; it is present in 120 countries with good sales levels. The rest of the brands that we produce in Cuba Ron like Santiago de Cuba, Cubay, Perla del Norte, also make their way in different markets, we work very hard on these issues.

Despite this, we are not satisfied or confident, we are alert on issues such as technological surveillance and innovations, all aimed at strengthening and improving the quality of our rums. The roads go by; to enhance what we have already achieved. We prepare ourselves in the necessary investments to comply with the commitments we already have for the coming years and for the development of new products.


7. What do you think needs to happen to grow the premium category of rum?

To grow in this category, we must follow the strategy outlined in the presentation of innovative products technologically speaking and that at the same time have an attractive design to the consumer.

We must promote very competitive rums able to pair and establish a good harmony with the excellent cigar vitolas, since they are two genuine products whose aromas and the pleasure they bring to the palate of those who consume it, refer in full to our cultural traditions and our Cuban culture.


8. Which rum would you recommend a person that:

  • Sipping a premium rum for the 1st time: Firstly, drink it in a pleasant atmosphere with time, first to enjoy the smell and blend with the aromas that come out, then try it to slowly discover the flavors of a good aging and enjoy it to the fullest.
  • Likes Scotch Whisky or Bourbon: for the whiskeys, despite their differences, I would propose an Extra Dry rum from the Santiago de Cuba brand.
  • Likes Gin or Vodka: I would propose rums golden, an aged 3 years of the Havana Club brand or a Carta Blanca Extra Viejo of brand Cubay.
  • Likes Cognac: I recommend ann Aged rum from the Cubay brand.


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

In my training as Rum Master, I have been able to prepare myself with the rest of the Cuban Masters, with whom I always have moments of meeting and common tasks that allow us to exchange and learn. I have had a lot of influence from the First Master of Rum Juan Carlos González, with whom I work directly and with the also First Master of Rum and leader of the Movement, José Navarro Campa.


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

For the next 12 months I want first of all a lot of health for myself and also for family and friends. I hope that all the work projects that I am working on will develop satisfactorily and that the environmental conditions will improve with the help of everyone so that we can enjoy a clean and pleasant planet.

11. Any last words?

I am very grateful for the opportunity to present a little of our work about Cuban rum and its perspectives in the market.


12. How can people learn more about you? Website? Social Media Page

I do not usually write in a personal way on social networks, but on the website of Cuba Ron ( there is always updated information about the events we develop and the teachers present. We are also present in the social networks of our rum brands:


- @CubaRonS.A.

- @RonSantiagodeCubaOficial

- @RonCubayCuba

- @RonPerladelNorteOficial


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