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Our Story

Un Espíritu Dos Culturas:
One Spirit Two Cultures

Dos Maderas not only combines the best of two aging methods on opposite sides of the globe, but also brings two cultures together. On the one hand is the rum producing heritage of Barbados and Guyana in the Caribbean, and on the other is the rich sherry tradition of Jerez in Spain, and specifically that of the historical bodega Williams & Humbert. Awarded with the National Architecture Prize, Williams & Humbert is the largest Bodega in Europe under a single roof and contains over 60,000 American oak casks for aging sherry and brandy.

This sherry bodega was founded in 1877, and is now run by the Medina family, who have been in the wine business since the 1960s.

 

Williams & Humbert are internationally known for their Dry Sack Sherry and Gran Duque D’Alba, but in the 2000s the family decided to diversify. Like all of their other products, the new rum they envisioned would be something special.

“We wanted to create something of exceptional quality, that was very different”

International marketing manager Gonzalo Medina says: “So we decided to start with rum from the Caribbean. You can find rum elsewhere, but there’s a romance and history of rum production in the Caribbean.”

Un Espíritu Dos Culturas: One Spirit Two Cultures

Dos Maderas story not only combines the best of two aging methods on opposite sides of the globe, but also brings two cultures together. On the one hand is the rum producing heritage of Barbados and Guyana in the Caribbean, and on the other is the rich sherry tradition of Jerez in Spain, and specifically that of the historical bodega Williams & Humbert. This sherry bodega was founded in 1877, and is now run by the Medina family, who have been in the wine business since the 1960s.

Williams & Humbert are internationally known for their Dry Sack Sherry and Gran Duque D’Alba, but in the 2000s the family decided to diversify. Like all of their other products, the new rum they envisioned would be something special.

“We wanted to create something of exceptional quality, that was very different”

International marketing manager Gonzalo Medina says: “So we decided to start with rum from the Caribbean. You can find rum elsewhere, but there’s a romance and history of rum production in the Caribbean.”

“There is a significant commitment that Williams & Humbert is making to Dos Maderas rums, always based on the perfect harmony of origin between the Caribbean and Jerez, and the quality par excellence.”

“There is a significant commitment that Williams & Humbert is making to Dos Maderas rums, always based on the perfect harmony of origin between the Caribbean and Jerez, and the quality par excellence.”

Dos Maderas Story - Familia Medina

The Medina family set out to bring something unique to these rums – their generations of expertise when it comes to aging sherry and brandy in Jerez. “Our bodega is different to others, with climatic conditions and architecture that’s very particular to us, and that makes the difference,” says Gonzalo.

 

The family’s main intention was to connect Dos Maderas with the sherry-producing traditions of Spain.

As a result, these unique rums are aged using the region’s criadera and solera system. Through the use of this traditional aging process, not only do the rums gain the flavors and complexity of Palo Cortado and Pedro Ximénez sherries, but are infused with the rich history of Jerez, and the knowledge passed down over generations of the Medina family.

The Medina family set out to bring something unique to these rums – their generations of expertise when it comes to ageing sherry and brandy in Jerez. “Our bodega is different to others, with climatic conditions and architecture that’s very particular to us, and that makes the difference,” says Gonzalo.

 

The family’s main intention was to connect Dos Maderas with the sherry-producing traditions of Spain.

As a result, these unique rums are aged using the region’s criadera and solera system. Through the use of this traditional ageing process, not only do the rums gain the flavors and complexity of Palo Cortado and Pedro Ximénez sherries, but are infused with the rich history of Jerez, and the knowledge passed down over generations of the Medina family.

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Q: When did you discover that you wanted to work and specialize in wines and spirits?

 

A: In 1993, just after finishing my third year of Chemical Sciences, I had to decide whether to continue with a more theoretical topic, Fundamental Chemistry, or something more lively like Industrial Fermentations and Oenology. I relied on the advice given to me by my Professor, Carmelo García Barroso, a person who has played a fundamental role in the Sherry region and has been of great importance in my studies. 

 

While at a specialized tasting at the University, he also explored the multitude of nuances in rum, noting that the “aromatic intensity and harmony of rum’s floral, spicy, and toasted wood fragrances” are the key to good quality. His favorite rum cocktail is the Hurricane due to “the perfect harmony achieved between Dos Maderas Rum, fruit, and citrus.” 

Master Blender

Juan José Mesa

Dos Maderas Master Blender Juan José Mesa’s background is in winemaking, in fact, he was the president of the Andalusian Association of Oenologists for 10 years. However, there was a time when Juan José’s University of Cádiz journey would have led to a different field of expertise. After attaining a PhD in Chemical Sciences with a doctoral thesis about the veil of Flor (yeasts) in fino wines, he continued to lecture there on Microbiology and Analytical Chemistry. At a decisive moment, he chose to stay in Jerez instead of going to Seville to study Industrial Chemistry and graduated attaining the added distinction of the Exceptional Graduation Prize in Oenology. 

As the Head Oenologist and Technical Director of significant wineries in Málaga and the Sherry Region, he spent 20 years mastering the art of winemaking. In October 2022, he joined our Williams & Humbert sherry family as Technical Director and Winemaker and now we are proud to have him take on the Master Blender role.

 

Juan José Mesa’s interests are as varied as his roles at the bodega. “For pairing with Dos Maderas rums and Gran Duque de Alba brandies, products with so much essence and soul, I couldn’t choose better, than passionate music, straight from the heart, depending on the moment, whether it’s Miles Davis jazz or a Bulería from Romerito de Jerez.” But also, he is no stranger to the qualities of a good mystery pairing (any book by Agatha Christie, for example) where the final resolution is preceded by good investigative planning.”

Q: When did you discover that you wanted to work and specialize in wines and spirits?

A: In 1993, just after finishing my third year of Chemical Sciences, I had to decide whether to continue with a more theoretical topic, Fundamental Chemistry, or something more lively like Industrial Fermentations and Oenology. I relied on the advice given to me by my Professor, Carmelo García Barroso, a person who has played a fundamental role in the Sherry region and has been of great importance in my studies. 

 

While at a specialized tasting at the University, he also explored the multitude of nuances in rum, noting that the “aromatic intensity and harmony of rum’s floral, spicy, and toasted wood fragrances” are the key to good quality. His favorite rum cocktail is the Hurricane due to “the perfect harmony achieved between Dos Maderas Rum, fruit, and citrus.” 

Master Blender

Juan José Mesa

Dos Maderas Master Blender Juan José Mesa’s background is in winemaking, in fact, he was the president of the Andalusian Association of Oenologists for 10 years. However, there was a time when Juan José’s University of Cádiz journey would have led to a different field of expertise. After attaining a PhD in Chemical Sciences with a doctoral thesis about the veil of Flor (yeasts) in fino wines, he continued to lecture there on Microbiology and Analytical Chemistry. At a decisive moment, he chose to stay in Jerez instead of going to Seville to study Industrial Chemistry and graduated attaining the added distinction of the Exceptional Graduation Prize in Oenology. 

As the Head Oenologist and Technical Director of significant wineries in Málaga and the Sherry Region, he spent 20 years mastering the art of winemaking. In October 2022, he joined our Williams & Humbert sherry family as Technical Director and Winemaker and now we are proud to have him take on the Master Blender role.

 

Juan José Mesa’s interests are as varied as his roles at the bodega. “For pairing with Dos Maderas rums and Gran Duque de Alba brandies, products with so much essence and soul, I couldn’t choose better, than passionate music, straight from the heart, depending on the moment, whether it’s Miles Davis jazz or a Bulería from Romerito de Jerez.” But also, he is no stranger to the qualities of a good mystery pairing (any book by Agatha Christie, for example) where the final resolution is preceded by good investigative planning.”

Master Blender

Juan José Mesa

Dos Maderas Master Blender Juan José Mesa’s background is in winemaking, in fact, he was the president of the Andalusian Association of Oenologists for 10 years. However, there was a time when Juan José’s University of Cádiz journey would have led to a different field of expertise. After attaining a PhD in Chemical Sciences with a doctoral thesis about the veil of Flor (yeasts) in fino wines, he continued to lecture there on Microbiology and Analytical Chemistry. At a decisive moment, he chose to stay in Jerez instead of going to Seville to study Industrial Chemistry and graduated attaining the added distinction of the Exceptional Graduation Prize in Oenology. 

Q: When did you discover that you wanted to work and specialize in wines and spirits?

A: In 1993, just after finishing my third year of Chemical Sciences, I had to decide whether to continue with a more theoretical topic, Fundamental Chemistry, or something more lively like Industrial Fermentations and Oenology. I relied on the advice given to me by my Professor, Carmelo García Barroso, a person who has played a fundamental role in the Sherry region and has been of great importance in my studies. 

 

While at a specialized tasting at the University, he also explored the multitude of nuances in rum, noting that the “aromatic intensity and harmony of rum’s floral, spicy, and toasted wood fragrances” are the key to good quality. His favorite rum cocktail is the Hurricane due to “the perfect harmony achieved between Dos Maderas Rum, fruit, and citrus.” 

As the Head Oenologist and Technical Director of significant wineries in Málaga and the Sherry Region, he spent 20 years mastering the art of winemaking. In October 2022, he joined our Williams & Humbert sherry family as Technical Director and Winemaker and now we are proud to have him take on the Master Blender role.

 

Juan José Mesa’s interests are as varied as his roles at the bodega. “For pairing with Dos Maderas rums and Gran Duque de Alba brandies, products with so much essence and soul, I couldn’t choose better, than passionate music, straight from the heart, depending on the moment, whether it’s Miles Davis jazz or a Bulería from Romerito de Jerez.” But also, he is no stranger to the qualities of a good mystery pairing (any book by Agatha Christie, for example) where the final resolution is preceded by good investigative planning.”

Sustainability

Since the launch of their Dos Maderas rum range, Williams & Humbert have wanted to play their part in conserving the environment of the beautiful Caribbean region where their rums are produced. So, Dos Maderas Luxus, Williams & Humbert’s luxury rum, began a collaboration with ICAPO (the Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative) in 2014. This organisation works to safeguard the survival of the Hawksbill turtle, one of the most endangered turtles on the planet. At that time, it was estimated that there were fewer than 500 nesting female in the entire Eastern Pacific. 
Dos Maderas Story - Sustainability

The survival of this species is essential for the conservation of coral reefs and it is a vital player in maintaining balance in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. For this reason, part of the proceeds from this range of rum went towards Hawksbill turtle conservation and their shell was then proudly displayed on the label of Dos Maderas rum.

 

The funds were given specifically to an area in Barbados, which, alongside Guyana, is one of the birthplaces of Dos Maderas rums, and where conservationists have noticed an increase in the number of nests and breeding females. It’s a hopeful sign towards ensuring the survival of this species which has seen a decline due to direct human activity such as fishing bycatch and pollution, poaching eggs from nesting sites and using the shell to create artisanal products, frames for glasses, combs, and other objects. The low rate of nesting turtles in this stretch of the Pacific means that, without immediate action, this species would be close to extinction.
Dos Maderas Luxus and ICAPO collaborated between 2014 and 2017. In 2017, Dos Maderas Luxus began a new phase to conserve endangered turtles by collaborating with Sos Nicaragua, a social enterprise that puts people and the environment at the heart of its business model. Dedicated to the principles of community tourism, solidarity economy and sustainable development, Sos Nicaragua supports conservation projects throughout Nicaragua, from monitoring endangered sea turtle species to environmental education programmes and activities that conserve biodiversity and enhance local lives.


In 2018, Luxus, alongside Sos Nicaragua and SEE Turtles, took part in the Billion Baby Turtles campaign. This campaign protected important nesting beaches and ensured that baby turtles made it into the water thanks to local residents that were hired to patrol the beaches. The Billion Baby Turtles campaign has saved more than one million endangered turtles to date. Through the activities organised by SEE Turtles, over 500 volunteers participated in more than 4000 conservation patrols and over 10 000 students have been trained in conservation. Alongside the Billion Baby Turtle programme, the organisation also launched the Too Rare to Wear campaign to raise awareness among tourists and put an end to the trading of items made from tortoiseshell obtained illegally from these species.


Dos Maderas Luxus continued to collaborate with Sos Nicaragua in 2018 and 2019. The donations made by the brand, from part of the profits from this range of rum, went towards an incentive programme through which local families are remunerated in exchange for collecting and delivering the turtle eggs they find. Unfortunately, turtle eggs are often sold on the black market and this situation is exacerbated by the extreme deprivation of families living in these coastal areas who resort to this practice. The eggs that are delivered hatch after 55-60 days, leading to the birth of new turtles as well as improving scientific knowledge with each turtle reported.

From 2018 to 2019, 50 local families benefited from these funds which led to the protection of 100 nests, saving 9000 turtles.


The campaign launched in 2019 by Bodegas Williams & Humbert with its Dos Maderas Luxus rum for the conservation of endangered turtles and the environment in general has led the brand to be included in The Dozen, the annual list of the best initiatives of wine and spirit brands around the world by renowned magazine Drinks International.


In 2020, despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic, the conservation work continued alongside the turtle adoption programme, protecting 100 nests and releasing 7000 turtles. For the first time, this was all achieved without the presence of international volunteers due to the restrictions imposed by Covid-19 regulations. What’s more, a group of leatherback sea turtles, a critically endangered species that hasn’t appeared on these beaches for many years, has also been protected.


In 2021, Sos Nicaragua opened a new centre and turtle hatchery in Isla Los Brasiles. The centre is preparing to receive national and international volunteers again. The donations from Dos Maderas Luxus go to the sea turtle conservation project in Isla Los Brasiles (the incentive programme through which turtle nests are protected through local egg collectors is still ongoing) and are also used to fund the coastal clean-up campaign Costas Nicas Limpias. Through this campaign, locals help clean up plastic and thus reduce one of the main threats for sea turtles.


In 2022, the funding increased significantly. As well as the proceeds donated from the sale of Dos Maderas Luxus, Bodegas Williams & Humbert made a large donation that allowed the hatchery to be extended and the protection of 30% more nests than in 2021. With this donation, Sos Nicaragua has been able to hire a local biologist to participate in the conservation programmes, expand the camp centre’s facilities, increasing its capacity for more participants, and crucially, install a solar power system at the centre, providing the facilities with light and making a definite difference to the lives of those who work and volunteer there.