Copalli Rum from Heirloom Clones Organically Grown on a Single Estate in Belize

We usually only review wines, but Copalli makes its rum using many of the attributes of super premium wine—estate grown, organically cultivated, special clones pressed soon after harvest, carefully processed using state of the art techniques, and aged in oak casks. Future plans are to make a mango eau de vie, a single varietal sugar cane rum, and a whisky from Mayan black corn. All profits from Copalli rum go to educational and environmental activities that benefit the local population in southern Belize.  We review their excellent rums below.  

Copalli makes single estate rum from certified organic sugar cane fields in Southern Belize near Punta Gorda. Copalli is not only sustainable and organic, it supports rainforest preservation, local education, and support of the local community.  Its rums are made from organically grown sugar cane grown on the estate from heirloom varieties. It’s the first certified organic farm in Belize.  The Copal estate is also home to the luxury eco-resort Copal Tree Lodge.   

Established in 2018, Copalli is a project of Anya Ferald and Todd Robinson. Born on a Bavarian farm and growing up in Palo Alto where her father was a Stanford University professor, Anya Fernald is an agricultural entrepreneur.  After graduating from Weslyean University, she began her work with small cheesemakers in Sicily and at Slow Food International in Bra. After several years in Italy she returned to California, started Oakland’s Eat Real Festival, and teamed up with Todd Robinson to create the Belcampo Meat Co., which humanely raises animals and markets its meat products in its California restaurants; a New York addition was inaugurated at Hudson Yards in March of this year, just before the coronavirus shutdown.  

In addition to owning the estate ranch that grows the cattle and other animals for the Belcampo Meat Co, Todd Robinson has been involved with conservation and community development efforts in Southern Beliize over the last two decades. He built Copal Tree Distillery and donated it in trust for the benefit of the local people. All profits are dedicated to grants for educational and environmental activities.  The estate also includes 22 thousand acres of protected rainforest. 

Copalli White Belize Rum ($29)  Showing tropical fruit and light floral notes on the nose, the Copalli White Rum is an excellent base for making classic Daiquiri or other fruity rum drinks. By itself, it has a soft palate with nuances of mint and lemon. Made from organic sugar cane crushed within two hours of its harvesting; 25% pot still and 75% column still aged in stainless steel for 6 months. 84 Proof.

Copalli Barrel Rested Belize Rum ($35)  Offering more complex aromas and flavors than the Copalli White, this barrel aged rum shows effusive, tangy aromas of caramel  and leather that carry over to the palate with the addition of tobacco and baking spice nuances. It’s smooth and creamy enough to drink neat like an ultra-premium whisky. 100% copper pot still distillation made from fresh-pressed cane juice and aged in American oak bourbon barrels. 88 Proof.

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