Alma de Bohemio Gran Reserva 15 Year Old

Bohemio 15 Bottle-OK

Product of:  Panama 
Aged: 15 Years

Price: $29 
Alcohol: 40% ABV
Context:  
Premium Aged Rum
RG Rating: 7.5
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Tasting Notes
The color of polished copper, plus 15 years of aging in old oak barrels, sets high expectations for a tasting experience, and Bohemio’s oldest rum delivers.  Bohemio 15 Gran Reservais moderately complex, as the prolonged aging has produced well-meshed aromas of caramelized banana and the peel, mango, dried currants, cranberries and caramel, all accelerated with a little alcohol bite and considerable oak, plus oak’s associated vanilla and mild char and paraffin.  A medium weight body delivers an oaky, waxy, butterscotch candy and honey tasting rum with spices milder than you might expect after 15 years in oak. Most of the fruitiness sensed in the aromas fades away when tasting, replaced by mildly sweet caramel flavor for easy sipping.  The finish is medium long and semi-sweet.

Anecdotes 
Bohemio overhauled their rums a few years ago.  Please don’t confuse the Panamanian products with the earlier versions from the Dominican republic. Most of that rum was sold in Europe.  According to Bohemio’s Fernando Salomon Jr., “due to the [DR] distiller not giving us a superior quality product, we went on to find a new distiller and that is where we found a brilliant rum master” in Panama. There, Bohemio’s principal,  Señor Fernando Salomon, discovered Francisco “Don Pancho” Fernandez, Master Blender and the genius behind such outstanding rums as Panamonte, Panama Red and Zafra Master Reserve.  Salomon Jr. confided to the Rum Gallery: “We have been working with Don Pancho for about five years. It took us three years to develop the packaging and reach the character of Rum that we were happy with to go to market. We wanted an aged rum that Is smooth without an overwhelming bite, but without adding sugar for sweet flavor like other brands.”  Success.

 Alma de Bohemio essentially translates to Bohemian Soul. The name is an homage to the fictitious character “El Bohemio” who personifies “La Vida Bohemia,” of living in pursuit of intellectual curiosity and search for understanding, and usually, but not necessarily, poor.  Quoting a passage from the mid-19th century play “Scenes de la vie de boheme” by Henri Murger, the overbox for Bohemio 15 year old states a guiding ethos:  “The Bohemian does not possess anything and lives from what it has.  Hope is its religion, faith itself, its code; charity seems to be its budget. … Alma de Bohemio rum makers are inspired by this lifestyle of intellectual enrichment and are committed to produce products that authentically represent this art of rum making.”  Ah yes, Bohemio 15 might be just the perfect rum for sipping while contemplating life’s many joys without getting worked up over the World’s complexities.  Perhaps most of us need more of that relaxed approach to our days.

Opinion
Bohemio rum is aged in mature oak barrels that have been used for decades by the rum’s producer.   By bottling time, the harsher tannins are mostly dissolved out of the wood, making the prolonged aging a process of refining and slowly smoothing Bohemio 15 year old rum, rather than adding forward complexity to it as might happen with newer barrels.  In any case, the result is an approachable, very smooth rum sipping rum that’s easy on the senses and a pleasure to sip neat or mixing in delicious rum cocktails.  For the price. Bohemio 15 year old is a real bargain among gently aged rums.

Reviewed: June 2012 at The Rum Gallery.

© Dave Russell 2017