If only all 18 year olds were as complex, subtle, and lovely as this one….
Notes: This rum was one of the latest creations in a long line of rums created, distilled, and blended by Don Francisco Fernandez after he left Cuba after being the Master Distiller and Blender of Havana Club rum for almost 40 years. One of the few people in the world to be accorded the title Maestro Ronero and an industry legend, this was one of his latest products in Panama where he is now based. He was instrumental in modernizing Cuba’s rum industry in the 1970s. After Cuba’s national brand was acquired, The new owners wanted to do a lot of, shall we say modifications, to the rum, and he was unwilling to compromise both his standards and the rum. He relocated to Panama, where, in the 1990s, he discovered a neglected distillery in the Herrera region, which he built into the Las Cabras Distillery, one of the most important and revered in the world. This is an eighteen-year-old rum is the middle part of the Origenes series of rum which also include 8-Year-Old and 30-Year-Old expressions of Rums and are exemplary examples of the artistry of Don Pancho, and possibly his ultimate expressions of his art and passion.
The sugarcane for Origenes which is a very specific kind and only harvested after a long maturation is hand-cut which is a very labor-intensive and dangerous process compared to running a large combine up and down a field scooping up whatever is in front of it. Origenes also uses a strain of yeast Don Pancho developed specifically for this rum ( he also has a degree in microbiology by the way on top of his many other accomplishments).
Origenes is like Don Pancho – Authentic, uncompromising, a rum-like it was meant to be experienced. No additives, no colorings, no solera system. No Compromises, the way a rum should be, and the only way Don Pancho would put his name on it.
While Don Pancho has produced luxury rums for other clients, it is only in the last year that he believed the quality of his aged rums merited putting his own name on them. Don Pancho dates his rums by the age of the youngest rum in the blend, and he personally selects each barrel from his own prized collection, collected over many years.
The Las Cabras distillery was transformed by Don Pancho into one of the great rum distilleries in the world. Located in the Herrera region of Panama, it is set amongst the vast (600,00 hectares) sugarcane estates used to produce Don Pancho Origenes rum. Please check our adventure section for both photos and videos of our tour of the distillery and region.
Originally almost in ruins when he found it, The Los Cabras distillery has at its heart the sister still to the legendary Pennsylvania Michters copper column still that produced both Michters Whiskey ( in its original form in Pennsylvania – not the water Kentucky productions) and the equally if not more well-regarded Hirsch 16 and 20-Year-Old Whiskey (which was produced at Michters and bottled years after the distillery shut down). This is the last known functioning still from this maker in the world and produces (with the help of Don Pancho) some of the best rums in the world.
Appearance: Lovely deep bronze, Baltic Amber on swirling it leaves a thin even coat, but unlike the 8-year-old it does not break up into tears or droplets, but rather legs and a descending meniscus line that thickens at the top edge as it slides down to rejoin the rest of the rum
First Impression: Leather, cane honey, Medjool dates, Grecian figs, Vietnamese cinnamon, allspice, barrel char, vanilla, beeswax, saffron
Taste: Subtle and complex at the same time. With some initial sweetness on entry, it grows up and dries up to a lovely seem dry complexity with dried dark fruits, allspice, cinnamon, leather, vanilla, oak wood char, with a drying, slightly woody and leather fade with suggestions of sweetness and alkali of cane to a lingering finish of pemmican and spice. Subtle, complex, and deeply nuanced.
Drinks: This rum really should be appreciated in a proper tasting glass to fully appreciate its complexity and subtlety. That being said Origines 18 makes an outstanding El Presidente, Palmetto, or Cino cocktail.
Bottle: Can’t comment as we only received a small sample bottle that looks nothing like the real, full size, bottle ( of which we have only seen pictures)
Other: This is not just an 18-year-old rum The Youngest of the rums in the blend is 18 years old, some are far older
Final Thoughts: At $90 a bottle for an 18-year-old spirit this is an outstanding buy given the quality and complexity of the spirit. this is a lovely addition to any rum lover’s collection. It would also be a great bottle for someone who is a bourbon lover to try. It has the complexity of an aged bourbon but a touch sweeter, earthier, and may change your mind about how you think about rums.
A minimal website in terms of much consumer information, but an excellent resource for sourcing rum. Also shows some of their other brands.
More informative and up to date about what is going on and Don Panchos and exploits