Rum Journal: An Ultra-Rare Rum from Panama

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The search for lost rums has gotten a bit out of hand. 

There’s been so much attention, to the point of obsession, over finding rare bottlings of now-defunct distilleries that it’s begun to obscure the magnificent quality of the many distilleries that are actually still, well, making rum. 

Indeed — even a company like Velier, whose Luca Gargano first found fame in the rum world with his discovery of old Caroni barrels — is doing its best work with active, modern distilleries in the Caribbean. 

Why expend such effort to find rums that no longer exist when you can find a producer that’s making extraordinary rum year in, year out? 

Which brings us, naturally, to an extraordinary rum that hasn’t been made for at least a decade, the last bottles of which are now available. 

It’s called Panamonte, and some years ago it was an industry-shaker in Panama: an ultra-premium rum by Don Pancho, the Cuban rum master who had taken his talents across the Caribbean Basin, first putting his name behind the eponymous Don Pancho and then on the small-batch Panamonte Reserva XXV.

Set in a rather beautiful carafe with a wooden knob, adorned with a palm tree, it’s the sort of bottle with an instant sense of ceremony. 

The rum itself has a 25-year age statement, with aging exclusively in ex-bourbon barrels. 

So what’s it like? 

The aroma has notes of citrus peel, dried mango and carambola. 

The flavor profile is marked by brown sugar; cane stalk; white pepper; a hint of sage; cedar; caramel and cardamom. 

It’s a superbly balanced rum, a nod to Pancho’s skill; the finish is unlike any other Panamanian rum, not dry or chalky but floral and captivating; it’s a journey that goes on and on. 

This is the best Panamanian rum you can buy, a masterwork, one that exemplifies the best in Panamanian rum-making but also takes it to a new dimension. 

Yes, the lost rum obsession is a bit much. 

But every once in a while, there’s one that’s worth finding. 

Rum Journal Review: 96 Points 

For more on how to obtain Panamonte, contact SDS Imports at sdsentllc@hotmail.com.