Extremely Smooth. Release Panama Red into your favorite sipping glass and you notice the attractive burnt orange mahogany color, with fetching traces of fine sediment indicating spicey flavor, and some long you betcha legs. But the beauty is more than skin deep, as a sweet alcohol bouquet is immediately followed by aromas of oaken vanilla, apricot, cinnamon and dry leather. The initial taste is sweet on entry, while spicy hints of cinnamon and clove give a warm temperature. A jammy texture reminiscent of dark cherry is supported by a buxom full-body before the honey-like finish ends medium long and dry on the lips. Panama Red truly is a sultry lady in a bottle.
Panama Red is a blend of five year old rums from different batches, some aged in 220 liter casks and others in 500 liter casks. Named after a legendary redheaded bar owner in Panama popular with sailors in the 1940’s, the name is perhaps more marketing cliché than necessary, but make no mistake: Panama Red rum is the real deal. And Panama Red’s mystery continues into the rum - she must have been a Gemini. The 54% ABV alone is enough to tell you this is an overproof rum. But the other half half of her story is the delicious spice – Panama Red apparently wore two hats. Bold, flavorful, smooth, with a distinguished pedigree, Panama Red delivers in spades for any rum application.
The prolific talent we know affectionately as “Don Pancho”, more formally called Francisco Fernandez, has given us another winner, this time in an overproof spiced rum. Add Panama Red to his list of accomplishments, which already includes Zafra and a long history as Master Distiller/Blender at Abuelo. Don Pancho began by learning the ways of Carta Blanca, which in his time was the foundation of Cuban rums, and he worked for Cuban Beverage Industry (Havana Club, Matusalem, and many more) through 40 years as a trainee, Sales Director, Masterblender and General Manager. I wouldn’t have predicted that Don Pancho would have created Panama Red, but thankfully he has, and delivered one of the worlds best overproof/spiced rums. Sip it, serve it on the rocks of mix it, you can take Panama Red anywhere good taste is welcome.
Reviewed: October 2011 at he Rum Gallery, USA