The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2016

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Page 92 of 124

92  /  the tasting panel  /  december 2016 RUM Old School Style DON PANCHO ORIGENES F rancisco "Don Pancho" Fernandez is, quite simply, the most respected rum expert in the world. Instrumental in running the Cuban rum industry for decades, his expertise in rum production is widely respected. After mod- ernizing the rum industry in Cuba, Don Pancho relocated to Panama in the early 1990s, where he produced rums under multiple brand names. Rum was—and still is—his passion. But never before had he put his own name on a rum—until now. After acquiring Panama's historic Las Cabras Distillery in 2000 with partner Carlos Esquivel, Don Pancho continued to produce super-premium rums made with estate-grown, hand-harvested sugar cane in the Cuban tradition. He was biding his time, watching, waiting and smelling, as the barrels of rum that he had been aging in Panama since the 1980s started showing some intriguing flavors and aromas. He realized it was an opportunity to produce a blended, aged rum under his own name; his own personal expression of aged rum. A skilled distiller, time-honored methods, estate-grown, hand-harvested sugarcane and proprietary yeast all contribute to the unique flavor profile of Don Pancho Origenes rums. The rums—distilled in copper column stills and aged in Panama's tropical climate—are true age-dated, meaning the youngest rum in the 8-Year Old is eight years old, and the same for the 18 and 30 Year Olds. Don Pancho Origenes offers three expressions (an 8 Year Old, 18 Year Old and a 30 Year Old), that set the bar high for rum in terms of maturity, quality and taste. The 8 Year is uncommonly smooth for rum of its age, with aromatic scents of vanilla and butterscotch. It is an excellent accent for cocktails and can be enjoyed on the rocks or neat. The 18 Year has a brilliant, polished cherry wood color that radiates depth and golden copper hues from various perspectives and an elegant nose with delicate aromas of sweet tea, honey, moist dates and figs. The exquisite mouthfeel fades gently, exposing dried fruits and refined notes of bourbon and overripe plums. This is a very smooth rum with a rewarding finish that confirms the long years of aging in American oak bourbon barrels. The 30 Year is an espe- cially prized release, with only 2,000 bottles available worldwide. This expression has a very complex nose with wood, bourbon, orange peel, apricots, raisins and other dried fruits. Full bodied with a dry, creamy texture, its rich flavors of fudge, figs, and caramel combine harmoniously with all the fruits from the nose plus a subtle nutty quality to create an extremely complex long finish. It is best enjoyed on its own, sipped on ice or neat. Don Pancho Rum is imported from Panama by Terlato Distell Artisan Spirits, a division of Terlato Wines International, a family- owned business based in Chicago that traces its roots back to 1983. Francisco "Don Pancho" Fernandez. by Izzy Watson

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