Master Blender at Zacapa in Guatemala
Lorena Vásquez Ampié is the Master Blender of Zacapa Rum and is a woman at the top of her field. For Vásquez, being a Master Blender is not a profession but a way of life. She considers herself as having one of the greatest jobs in the world and has devoted her entire career to Zacapa.
Nicaraguan by birth, after she finished her degree in chemistry, food technology and business administration, Vásquez married a Guatemalan and moved to his home country. Learning from the bottom up, she started working in the Zacapa Quality Control Department, where she developed her innate sensitivity to scents and flavors. Passionate about the art of crafting ultra-premium spirits and is driven in her quest for perfection, her career progressed rapidly. Today, she is one of a small number of female Master Blenders in the world.
Vásquez is largely credited for making Zacapa the distinguished, high-quality spirit it is today. As Master Blender, she oversees the blending and barrel aging process of Zacapa, always staying true to her quest for perfection, impeccable judgment and passion for spirits. Her most famous decision while serving as Master Blender was choosing Zacapa's aging facility, in the "Highlands." At 7,500 feet above the sea, this home allows Zacapa to age at just the right pace, giving the spirit its exceptionally deep aroma, full color and rich flavor.
During her nearly 30 year tenure with the company, Vásquez also improved the complex Sistema Solera aging process, which is a dynamic barrel-aging process based on the sherry Solera system. Rums aged for different lengths of time are continually blended and then subsequently stored in barrels to continue the maturing process. Vásquez selects American whiskey, sherry, Pedro Ximenez and French Oak barrels for the aging process and personally oversees each stage of blending, ensuring consistency and unparalleled quality.
Vásquez prefers to serve Zacapa 23 neat or on the rocks as an aperitif or with a great meal. She regards Zacapa XO, which should be enjoyed neat at room temperature, as more sophisticated with a special personality, and it makes an excellent digestif. Vásquez says, "As I have a true passion for barrel-aged spirits and I am a perfectionist at heart, nothing gives me greater pleasure than meeting those who appreciate and enjoy Zacapa."