Panamonte

Panamonte Bottle Etching

Product of:  Panama
Aged:
  25 years
Price:
 $400
Alcohol:
 40% ABV
Context:
 Premium Aged Rum
RG Rating: 10

Tasting Notes
Extremely Smooth.  Panamonte’s color is luminescent, it is jewel-like, the reddish brown hue of finely polished Brazilian Cherry wood – the ultimate color of barrel aged rum, with no artificial dyes added.  Look at it and you smile.  Crack the seal, unscrew that heavy wooden topper, and a sweet frangipani floral genie of a bouquet escapes.  In your favorite sipping glass, the aromas reveal themselves in orderly groups.  There’s caramelized sugar, candied dates, figs and dried plum; baking spices and pastry made from heavy dough; wood and old leather; tree-ripened bananas, smells like the inside of an aging barrel in the best of ways, no alcohol pungency to attack your nose, allowing long repeated sniffing sessions.  The medium weight body has a firm texture, similar to the way the skin of ripe black cherries protects and supports the sweet fruit inside.  But here, there’s an airy quality that allows the flavors to dance on your tongue, bringing tastes so well integrated and consistent with the bouquet and aromas that clinically analyzing them is a fools’ errand, and quite misses the point.  The ultimate joy here is to give in to the pleasure of refined wholeness.  That is what defines Panamonte XXV from beginning through to its delicate, lingering fairy-like semi-sweet alcohol tugging finish.

Panamonte & Box

Anecdotes
The prolific talent we know affectionately as “Don Pancho”, more formally called Francisco Fernandez Perez, has delivered to the rum lovers of the world yet another winner, this time it’s an exceptionally old, exquisite 25 year old molasses-based rum.  Jim Wasson, CEO of Panamonte Brands, teamed with Don Pancho to create Panamonte after their successful collaboration on Panama Red.  Don Pancho’s list of accomplishments also includes the wonderful 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, Master blender and General Manager.  

Jim Wasson shares the same good taste in packaging as Larry Warren, the architect/owner of St. Nicholas Abbey.  While these are two unique, world-class rums made in completely different styles, their creators are equally fastidious perfectionists who let their rum results speak for them.  Both use essentially the same elegant bottle for their rums, taking full advantage of it’s slab sides as if it were a broad canvas for displaying their logo’s.  Etched on the Panamonte XXV bottle is a thriving coconut palm, and a a heavy wooden screw cap seal the rum inside.  

Panamonte Label

Opinion
As I sit here on January 8, 2012 watching a full  moon rise into a red sky, I’ve been sniffing Panamonte XXV for 30 minutes trying to  comprehend as many of its beautiful aromas as my nasal palate allows, and I am humbled.  I can’t decide which aspect of Panamonte XXV appeals the most to me.  Is it the exquisite flavor, or its rarity/age/pedigree or the classy presentation case and etched bottle?   It is more than all of the above of course.  The whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts.  

Certainly, I expected Don Pancho to make a fantastic rum after sampling the fine results of his prior collaboration with Jim Wasson and PILSA.  And yet I was pleasantly surprised by Panamonte XXV.  I was half-expecting a treacly, oaky, musty rum heavy on the sweet.  Instead comes this ethereal, delicate yet fathoms deep nectar, and I’m having difficulty resisting sip after another sip.  I give in:  Thank you Don Pancho, Carlos Esquivel, and Mr. Wasson, you have surpassed all my expectations and given rum lovers a perfect rum.  From no on, there are two kinds of rum aficionados: those who have tried Panamonte XXV, and everyone else.

Reviewed: January 2012 at the Rum Gallery, USA

© Dave Russell 2017