The Tasting Panel magazine

January / February 2018

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Page 101 of 124

january/february 2018  /  the tasting panel  /  101 january/february 2018 /  the tasting panel  / 101 RON ABUELO CONNECTS CULTURES FOR ITS FINISH COLLECTION by Jesse Hom-Dawson RUM Rum Around by Jesse Hom-Dawson B eer and spirits have often melded with fellow members of the beverage world in their methods of production, with beer aged in bourbon casks, bourbon aged in Sherry casks, and so on. Experimenting with these combina- tions presents seemingly infinite possibilities, and Panamanian rum producer Ron Abuelo is taking the concept to the next level with its high-end, globally-influenced Finish Collection. Released internationally in 2016 and in the U.S. last year, the collection features three rums (all SRP $75) aged for 15 years that are then rested in three different casks: the French-inspired Napoleon, aged in Cognac casks; the Spanish Oloroso, aged in Sherry casks; and the Portuguese Tawny, aged in Port casks. Although each expression has its own distinct identity, they all have what Varela calls a "strong Abuelo personality." "These are all sipping rums coming from the same single estate rum, but they're transformed through their different finish," he adds. "We spent a long time experimenting with finishes, but we settled on these three because of the unique character each cask provides." The rums rest for a year at around 40% ABV instead of the typical 60%, and each cask is only used once, as reusing them would make it impossible to duplicate the first cask use's flavor. "Although of course you can enjoy each rum individu- ally, it's wonderful to try all three in a tasting to compare flavor notes," Varela explains. Ron Abuelo is also putting a focus on gastronomy by recommending culinary pairings for each rum. Start by pairing something light like ceviche to carry the citrus notes of the Oloroso, which also has a mineral dryness from the Sherry. Match up the Napoleon—which has more ripe, fruity flavors and toasted oak from the Cognac cask—with a robust entrée; finally, the rich Tawny, full of red fruit with a velvety palate, can effortlessly accompany a chocolate dessert. "I think it's really exciting what we're doing for aged rum," Varela enthuses. "People from all over the world are loving our product, and we're 90 percent of domestic spirits business in Panama. We're always trying to establish ourselves in a crowded spirits market, and Ron Abuelo is really putting Panamanian rum on the map."

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