Gabriela Ayala, Master Blender, the soul of Cihuatán (Salvador)

On the occasion of International Women’s Rights Day, Rumporter focuses on some of the women who are making rum today. Today, focus on Cihuatán (Salvador)

Gabriela Ayala, Master Blender, the soul of Cihuatán (Salvador)

What is your background before taking your position as Cihuatán Master Blender?
What does it consist of (your position)?

Since I was a little girl, I knew that chemistry was my passion. I always dreamed of spending my days in a laboratory, which is why I studied Chemical Engineering at the University of El Salvador, specializing in food.

I was lucky enough to start my professional career in the Salvadoran sugar industry, dedicating 8 years to executing different projects for food product development and implementation of management systems in food plants. This led me to pursue a Master’s degree in Business Administration and a specialization in Project Management.
When the opportunity arose to work for Ron Cihuatán, I had all the necessary experience to execute the project.

I joined the team as the Production Manager, and my main goal was to produce the first ever bottle of Cihuatán Rum, handcrafted by Salvadoran hands.

Over time, my initial technical-chemical vision transformed into a complete admiration for the development of aromas and flavors in the rum-making process, leading me to want to deepen my knowledge in this fascinating world.

Years later, Licorera Cihuatán decided to appoint me as their Master Blender, fulfilling my childhood dream of spending my days in a laboratory conducting experiments, only with the incredible twist of seeking to create sensory experiences through the aroma and taste of a good rum.

Is the world of rum becoming more and more open to women?

I believe that the answer is yes, and this is thanks to the merit of great female Master Blenders such as Joy Spence, Lorena Vázquez, Carmen López de Bastidas, among many others. These women seized the opportunities to develop their technical capacity and experience, demonstrating that the passion for making a good rum is not a matter of gender.

Are you tired of being asked questions about the fact that you are a woman in the world of rum?

Wow, what a great question! Honestly, it doesn’t tire me at all. On the contrary, I live in a country where being an independent and professional woman already implies breaking paradigms. Therefore, I consider it my duty to share with girls and women all the positive and pleasant experiences I’ve had by not limiting myself because of my gender.

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