There are a few things that make Ron Zacapa XO Rum unique. First, Ron Zacapa rums are produced using sugarcane honey (fresh sugarcane juice is condensed and filtered) instead of the traditional molasses. Second, the rums are distilled at sea-level but they are aged in the town of Quetzaltenango at an elevation of 7544 feet. Thirdly, this rum is aged in a solera system using a variety of barrels ranging in age from 6-23 years utilizing ex-bourbon, ex-oloroso sherry, and ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. The rum is then finished in ex-cognac barrels for an additional year. Note, the term "XO" is meaningless in the rum world, but is a hint/reminder that cognac barrels were used. This limited-release Zacapa XO Solera Gran Reserva Especial (in a stylish flat decanter) won Gold in the Super-Premium category at the International Rum Festival for several years after its release in 2000, and was given the Platinum award for the Super-Premium category in 2002.