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Pampero Seleccion 1938 (Rum)

Review: Ron Pampero Seleccion 1938   80.5/100
A Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on December 3, 2009

In 1938, a distillery in Venezuela was established called Industrias Pampero, C.A.. This distillery is said to be the first distillery in Venezuela to set the high standards for which Venezuelan Rum is now famous for. Their flagship rum,  Pampero Seleccion 1938 is a rum which unfortunately is unavailable any longer where I live in Alberta, because Diageo, the spirits conglomerate which currently owns the rights to the Pampero brand outside of Venezuela, has chosen not to market this rum in my locale. The way it was explained to me is that boutique brands such as Pampero, regardless of how well-regarded they may be, just don’t sell well enough in my market to warrant the effort.

I found what I believe was one of the last bottles for sale in Edmonton about two years ago and now, two years later, I cannot find the rum anywhere in the Province. Sadly, it seems the entire family of Pampero rums will be absent from Alberta shelves for quite a while. I did however review the bottle I found, and here is that review:

In the Bottle 4/5

We have a typical flagon style bottle with a metal twist cap topper.   Although I like the labeling,  I am somewhat disappointed in the presentation.  The twist cap is sure to evaporate rum over time especially as the metal will expand and contract at a different rate from the glass.  I also was intrigued by the story on the back label but the type was of a style and font that made it very difficult for me to read.

In the Glass 8/10

The rum looks dark and rich with red streaks.  The glass smells of nutmeg and roasted hazelnut. A very faint cigar and leather aroma lies under a dark caramel molasses and is very inviting. There is a very small medicinal quality to the nose indicating a younger spirit than I was expecting.

In my Mouth 49/60

A certain rough bitter quality sits amongst the various flavours in the mouth. The feel on the tongue is slightly oily.  I taste roasted nuts and dark almost burnt caramel. I would have to guess that the bulk of the rum in this blend is quite young, as I taste very little oak in the flavour profile. The spiciness is pungent like allspice and nutmeg, with a little vanilla but very little sweetness. I have the impression of an attempt to create a brash spirit, but for me there is a definite lack of balance. The overall spirit lacks enough sweetness to soothe the bitterness.

In the Throat 11.5/15

The finish is long; but the bitter quality I noted in the taste is the predominant feel in the throat. I would call this leathery and bittersweet. A buttery feel in the throat contradicts the leathery taste.

The Afterburn 8/10

This rum has its moments when I really enjoy it.  I found an appeal in its youthfulness.  It was a stellar mixer with cola and with lime suggesting to me that for cocktails requiring a dark rum this would be an ideal choice. But as a sipper I found myself almost always wanting just a little more depth of flavour and a hint of something sweeter in my mouth.

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


Suggested Recipe

In choosing a cocktail for this rum I needed to find a good flavour combination for the bittersweet and pungent flavour I taste in the Pampero 1938.  I chose to mix with pineapple and orange juice as I thought they provided a nice fruity base to mix the rum with.

The Selection Cocktail

1 1/2 oz Pampero Seleccion 1938
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1 1/2 oz Orange Juice
1 teaspoon of sugar syrup or Grenadine
Lime Slice

Fill a Collins glass with chipped ice
Add the first four ingredients one at a time pouring slowly over the ice
Garnish with a slice of lime
Stir, serve and Enjoy!


You may (loosely) interpret the scores 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)

2 Responses to “Pampero Seleccion 1938 (Rum)”

  1. Josh Miller said

    Thanks for the review, Chip! I quite enjoy the Aniversario (totally agree with your score of 90) but I have yet to even see the 1938. Based on your post and a look at Diageo’s Web site, it looks like I won’t be seeing it down here in California any time soon either. They only list the Blanco, Especial (gold) and Aniversario. Cheers

    • It’s nice that we agree on the Anniversario Josh, the rum is very nice and complex. I just wish I could get another bottle up here. 😦


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