One of the best aged white rums out there at present.
Back in April of 2014 I had the privilege of visiting Don “Pancho ” Francisco Fernandez in Panama and did an extensive tour of his distillery and cane fields. One of the rums I got to sample was the Selvarey White Rum ( along with the Selvarey Cacao). At the time we were sworn to secrecy about the rum and its origins ( Especially the involvement of Bruno Mars who wanted the rum to sell on its merits, not his fame). Now that the rum and Mr. Mars involvement has been revealed to the world we can discuss it here. The name Selvarey (roughly translated) means “King of the Jungle” and is an homage to the Master Francisco Fernandez whose name is legend in rum circles
Notes: Does not use any chemical additives, adjuncts, or any other shortcuts. Made in Pesé in the Herrera Province– Panama’s premier sugarcane region from sugar cane raised and tended on their own property and hand-harvested ( this allows much closer quality control and less detritus in the cane crushing and processing than mechanical harvesting). Hand harvesting is an arduous and labor-intensive process that is only used of their rums – many companies do not do this. The sugar cane juice is then fermented with a proprietary yeast and distilled in one of their antique copper column stills ( the same stills as were used at the legendary Michters Distillery of Pennsylvania till it closed in 1990). the rum is then aged five years then filtered off for final resting and bottling.
Appearance: Very slight oil/sap yellow color to it – a subtle sign of aging but also of filtering that was not done to death and removing good flavors for the sake of a whiter shade of pale unlike a lot of aged white rums. On swirling leaves a very light edge lines that goes to droplets and legs on retreat
First Impression: Vanilla custards, citrus, grass, and stones, hints of gentle spice notes
Taste: Vanilla custard, creaminess with a lemony citrus note to it. Smooth creamy slightly oily entry with a sap-like mouthfeel with a bit more sweetness than I would personally like but charming.Finishes on a slightly drier, almost vanilla ash-like note with a nice lingering slightly vanilla finish.
Drinks: A much more mellow alternative to a standard white rum in most drinks with a depth of complexity and smoothness that will wow any rum drinker. Sweetness and vanilla notes make for a great combination with colas, ginger, or with cherries – either the fruits or liqueurs. Both the White Selvarey and Selvarey Cacao worked well with Sprecher Cream Soda as a Cream Fizz also. An outstanding alternative to vodka in many drinks with much more flavor.
Bottle: Tapered Cylindrical clear glass with a slightly heavy decanter-like bottom giving it some nice heft and balance. Gently sloped side goes up to a nicely thick lip to give you a good grip. The long neck is topped by an aping pong ball sized natural and an embossed gold-colored antitamper ribbon Front of bottle has an inset medallion with a gold outline of a toucan l. Altogether a distinctive and easy-to-spot bottle on a shelf, be it in a bar or at your home.
Other: Unlike a number of other rum companies whose labor practices have been exposed and excoriated over the past few years, this company pays at least minimum, requires breaks, and provides fresh food and water to their workers who only work a 4-hour shift.
Final Thoughts: Well done and quite a buy at the price. Most aged rums are not as good and cost more money.
A fairly easy to navigate and well laid out website with a fair amount of information and drinks recipes