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Renegade Panama Don José 1997

Review: Renegade Rum Panama (Don Jose) 1997  (96.5 pts)
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted October, 2009

Renegade Panama 1997

This Rum was distilled at the Don Jose Distillery in Panama, aged for the first initial ten years in Panama;  and then shipped to Scotland for finishing in a Port pipe at the Bruichladdich Distillery.


Probably the nicest Rum decanter I have seen.  The look includes a high density cork which gives a nice ‘pop’ when I open the bottle, and I love the decadence that is implied.

IN THE GLASS (9.5/10)

In the glass we sense an awesome aroma with oriental spices, and brown sugar. A mild fruity aroma like cherries sits at the very back of the nose.  This is extremely complex yet the differing smells act in unison complimenting rather than devouring the rum. I could sit and smell this all day!

IN THE MOUTH (58.0/60)

The flavour is really nice. However, I have found that this rum really changes a lot based upon what you have eaten and what the weather is like. On hot days it really cannot be beat, but there have been times when I notice the balance between the spice and the sweetness is just barely off.  I think this is the result of the port enhancement which gives the rum extreme depth of flavour but also adds one more element to go awry. What I like most about this Renegade is the way the Rum flavours of molasses and caramel are in the forefront. The Port is really an enhancement not a competing element. The main flavours are light brown sugar,  oriental 7 spice mixture, and sweet cherries!

IN THE THROAT (14.5/15)

So nice! There is a real flair to this rum in the exit.  It is very unique and yet completely in balance.  The finish is only slightly oily or buttery giving the rum a nice clean crisp landing.

The AFTERBURN (9.5/10)

I always want a second glass.

If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.


My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score as follows:

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)


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