Come take a free cruise through the Panama Canal this Thursday as we taste some of the country's most studiously and methodically produced sipping rum. We'd wax eloquent about it in our words, but ours might not do it justice. So grab a glass, fill it up, and get excited for what you'll be sipping to kick of a 3-day weekend.
Panamá-Pacific Rum is a Spanish-style, molasses-derived rum made at the Ingenio San Carlos distillery in Panama. Production of their rum begins deep in the country’s interior, in the Provencia de Herrera region, where they harvest their sugarcane only during its optimal maturity, between the months of January and May. Once harvested, they extract the sugarcane’s juices at their most vibrant, within a short twelve-hour window in order to retain their bright, fresh sweetness.
The extracted cane juices are then evaporated into a rich, delicious molasses, to which they add their own proprietary yeasts in order to ferment the sugars over two days into a low-alcohol molasses mash which will then be strengthened through distillation. In keeping with early rum production traditions originally applied in Cuba, they then distill the molasses in their historic Coffey copper column still to a slightly lower proof than is normally achieved in other distilleries, creating their rum’s signature richer, fuller flavor and character.
After distillation, they rest the fresh cane spirit in Kentucky bourbon casks initially for three years. Samples of that young rum are then carefully reviewed to determine integrity for a potentially longer aging regimen. Those rum selections deemed worthy of an extended maturation are then transferred into exhausted Tennessee whiskey barrels, whose oak flavors are more depleted, for a gentle imparting of vanilla, caramel and butterscotch notes without over-dominating our balanced cane and molasses essence. During this long aging, the rum rests in horizontally-stacked casks until optimal flavors are attained.
Panama’s year-round hot and humid climate of an average 95° F is the perfect environment for their rum. They bottle no rum until it has entirely achieved the stated age. Panamá-Pacific’s age statement reflects the youngest rum in the blend, not just a portion of it.
Panamá-Pacific 9 Year Rum, $27.50
Big notes of vanilla, caramel and butterscotch but not so strong that they overwhelm the balanced cane and molasses essence.
Panamá-Pacific 23 Year Rum, $54.50
Aromas of ripe butter, subtle flan caramel custard and white raisin above dried fruit and spices. The palate opens with sweet caramel that quickly gives way to charred wet wood, with white raisin close behind before subtle coconut husk and banana leading to nice long buttery woody notes that linger in the long finish.