Don Pancho Origenes 8 

Don Pancho Origenes 8 Blk-RG1

Product of:  Panama
Aged:  8 years
Price: $37 (approximate)
Alcohol: 40% ABV
Context: Premium Aged Rum 
RG Rating: 9

Tasting Notes 
Extremely Smooth.  
Age declarations and dark color don’t necessarily add up to anything in the rum world, but darn it, Don Pancho’s Origenes 8 YO makes for a singularly beautiful rum in my glass.  Its unadulterated dark amber color speaks of wood and time.  Savor the moment by swirling gently and observe its long legs forming then running slowly in your glass.  

My first exposure to Don Pancho’s 8 year old rum occurred a full year ahead of its public announcement in a private setting with el Maestro.  He poured the prototype rum from a common lab bottle, said nothing about its age, then watched for a facial expression to reveal my opinion.  I smiled. 

Fast forward to March 2014 in Panama, where he again poured me a glass but revealed it as his latest rum, an eight year old product. This time the pressure was on.  I took my time with several practiced sips.  Don Pancho patiently asked my impressions of his latest masterpiece. 

Master Blender Don Pancho and Business Maven Carlos Equivel are the talent behind Origenes rum.  Gentlemen, Salud!

I answered that Origenes 8 “…achieves the perfect aromatic balance of caramel, maple sugar and oaken vanilla that elude many barrel aged expressions from anywhere.  Harmonious wood-aged rum flavors warm my tongue, bringing some banana fruitiness and a tongue-coating sensation reminiscent of oily macadamia nuts that enhance the medium-weight body.  The finish adds a slight white pepper complexity to this exceptional eight year old rum.”  

Pancho’s reply?  He simply shook his head and said: “None of those things are in the rum.  It’s rum, and it just tastes like rum.”  Indeed it does.  Perfect.

Señor Francisco “Don Pancho” Fernandez has been making rum for for five decades. His most recent efforts have gone into notable, yet private label rums, including Zafra, Panamonte and Panama Red, Ron De Jeremy, Bohemio, and most recently the excellent Debonaire portfolio.  Maestro Ronero Fernandez began his career in Cuba with Havana Club, then in Panama with Varela Hermanos crafting the beautiful Abuelo rums, and he has consulted for distilleries all over the world.  

Game over as Carlos  Esquivel lays his cards on the table with Origenes 8

After many decades perfecting the art of making, aging and blending rum, Don Pancho has made a rum to suit himself, personally selecting barrel-aged rums from his private collection, then blending them to perfection to make this exquisite rum. In his own words Don Pancho says: “ Origenes is crafted for the true lovers of rum.  This rum does not follow any current trends in the market.  It is true to the Cuban tradition.”  Don Pancho is a man of the highest work ethic; possessing consummate skill and a passion for perfection.  Above all he’s a Gentleman.  

Packaging is understated yet elegant. The tall bottle stands like an iconic statue, and its eight facets approximate a precious jewel.   The back label states simply:  “Don Pancho Origenes 8 is what rum should be.  No compromises.  Just one man and one vision.”  Fair enough.

Don Pancho Origenes 8 YO was distilled at Ingenio San Carlos in Pese, Panama.  You can see a photo tour of the impressive distillery by clicking here.

Don Pancho Origenes 8 YO is one of the finest eight year old rums I have ever had the pleasure of sipping.  Referring to the photo above of Don Pancho's business partner, PILSA CEO Carlos Esquivel G, who's gesture seems to imply;  "What more needs to be said?"

En Español, Origenes means “The Beginning”.  Consider yourself fortunate to sip a rum produced by one who dedicated five decades of his life to producing some of the World’s finest rums.  Yet, Origenes is just the latest chapter in the history book of rum written by Don Pancho.    

Reviewed:  April 2013 at a private tasting in Miami, and again in March 2014 at Don Pancho’s office in Panama. 

© Dave Russell 2017