Even a winding road has a straightforward destination
Janet Diaz-Bonilla always dreamt of telling her story. As an award-winning screenwriter and director, and a creative, the first natural step was to write a screenplay amply titled, La Marielita. After writing the first few drafts, something more significant and impactful had emerged. The cathartic process of writing her story stimulated her entrepreneurial spirit, which she credits her grandfather with inadvertently awakening. Now, as the first Cuban-American woman founder of a rum brand, this creative process holds personal and profound meaning.
Our brand is a story about perseverance and freedom at its core; strength and growth as its catalyst. When the time came to decide on a direction for creating La Marielita Rum, the path Janet chose led her to Panama; a place she had never visited, but has since fallen in love with its culture, its people and its essence. In Panama she met world-renowned Cuban Maestro Ronero, Francisco José “Don Pancho” Fernández Pérez. The opportunity of collaborating with one of the world’s most gifted and respected Master Blenders happened very organically, and has been one of the most rewarding experiences about this journey. What has materialized from the origins that unite Don Pancho and Janet is a collaboration of precise sensorial intuition and extraordinary talent that create a distinctly unique bouquet of aromatic flavors.
When the time came to create our label art, the direction was always clear. As a world-renowned Cuban American Artist, Mr. Humberto Benitez shares our founder’s roots and also embodies what defines our Cuban heritage.
Through his widely acclaimed paintings, Mr. Benitez has consistently stayed true to his humble beginnings despite his undeniable global success. It was vital to collaborate on our label art with someone who understood our shared history and the importance of illustrating an image that encompassed the sentiments and authenticity of our brand’s story.
“Every color represented on the label artwork has profound meaning and an emotional connection to my story. The dark blue sky: the stormy night we experienced during our seventeen-hour voyage across the Florida Straits. The vivid moon: my father remembers an intense emergence of light emitting from the sky the night we sailed; even though we could not see a physical moon because of the powerful storm, it was as if God was shining a bright flashlight to guide our way. The brown sailboat: the sailboat we were assigned, Little Micky I, was wooden. The deep blueish/greenish water: I had been clutching my favorite doll, which my grandmother had given me to keep me company on our journey. Right before we boarded the vessel, a guard brutally snatched her from my arms and slammed her on the ground. Her dress was a deep aqua color. The yellow of La Marielita’s classic Rumbera dress: the color of our patron saint, La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre. The books that are all around her: I’m a writer. Finally, the white mast that surrounds her: this represents protection from the Virgin Mary, I find this element to be the most beautiful aspect of the piece.”