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Rum Nation Panama 21 Years

Review: Rum Nation Panama (Aged 21 years)   92/100
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted September 16,2012

Rum Nation has recently invaded my home Province of Alberta with a very interesting assortment of aged rums from the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. The man behind this invasion is Fabio Rossi, who began his life in the spirits trade as a Oenologist (one who has studied winemaking). After his studies, Mr. Rossi left the wine business and started up a whisky company in Edinburgh (Wilson and Morgan) acting as an independent bottler of Single Malt Scotch Whisky. His interest turned to rum and in 1999 Fabio Rossi founded Rum Nation. His company is headquartered in Italy; but Fabio purchases select rums from various distillers in the Caribbean and the Americas. As a result Rum Nation provides a rather unique assortment of rare limited edition rum bottlings.

One such Bottling is the Rum Nation Panama 21 Years.

According to the front of the bottle (translation provided by Fabio Rossi):

” Rum Nation Panama 21 years is a blend created from the expert hands of Don Francisco (Pancho) Fernández, Master Blender born in Cuba, with 40 years of experience in production of aged rums in central and south America. Rum Nation Panama 21 years is made from sugar cane molasses, distilled in continuous column and aged in American oak barrels (Quercus alba) for 21 years in Panama.”

In The Bottle 4.5/5

As you can see from the picture to the left, the Rum Nation, Panama 21 Year Old arrives in a very nice vessel. I like the masculine shape of the bottle which holds true to the bartenders creed of being a container which is easy to grab from the shelf, easy to hold, and most important, easy to pour into the bar glass. I also, of course, like the solid cork topper. Not shown in the picture is the attractive display box which houses the bottle. I think the overall impact of the presentation is very pleasing.

In the Glass 9.5/10

As I pour the rum into the glass, the rum begins to send rich scents and aromas upwards. Dry fruit in the form of raisins, dates, and prunes are rising which seems to hint at a sherry influence although I have learned that these sherry-like accent are very typical for Panamanian Rums. Dark caramel, baking spices, walnuts and rich oak notes all build up as the glass sits. I also notice a flamboyance in the air as tropical fruit, canned apricots, orange marmalade and the rich aroma of pipe tobacco have also reached up into the breezes above the glass. There may even be a hint of decadent dark chocolate in the air. I am very pleased with my first impression.

In the Mouth 55/60

The rum leads out with the flavours of sweet candied fruit (apricot and peaches) and oak spices. I can also taste rich caramel and molasses which are mingled in nicely with underlying leather and tobacco flavours. Raisins, dates, prunes and chocolate give the rum a nice smokiness. Although the rum has apparently never seen the inside of a sherry cask, I cannot deny that sherry-like flavours abound in the taste profile.

As the glass sits, baking spices build up alongside the oak spices, I notice vanilla, cinnamon and cloves joining in as well as some nice spicy orange peel and marmalade. This is a very nice rum with a good balance between the sweet and the spice.

In the Throat 13.5/15

The finish contains dabbles of dry fruit, candied oak,and baking spices. Orange peel and cinnamon gently heat the palate and the back of the throat, while and brown sugar and vanilla provide a smooth landing.

Afterburn 9.5/10

The Rum Nation Panama 21 Year Old is really nice! It has a complex flavour profile full of oak spice, tobacco, canned fruit and dry fruit. Everything seems to work together with no single element stealing the show. If this is an example of the care which Rum Nation is taking in selecting the rum for their limited edition bottlings, then I think they are on to something very good!

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


Each review contains a rating or score out of 100 and these scores can be interpreted using the following scale:

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)


2 Responses to “Rum Nation Panama 21 Years”

  1. One of my favourite rums, for sure…wish it could have been stronger, is all. Something this smooth and supple could benefit from maybe 43% or so.

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