For more than half a century, Francisco Jose Fernandez (affectionately known as Don Pancho) has crafted rums distilled via a method that is unique to his native Cuba. Using only molasses, these rums are batch fermented, column distilled, and aged for a minimum of three years in first-fill American oak barrels that once held bourbon or American whiskey. Decades after Don Pancho learned—and later improved—the craft of rum-making in his native country, he moved to Panama, where he continues the tradition.
Don Pancho created rums that were certain to please most consumers, but now the 79-year-old has shifted his attention to crafting a series of aged rums with his own taste in mind. These premium rums recently hit the market under the label Don Pancho Origenes.
The rum-maker’s intent with Origenes, which includes an 18-year premium Panamanian rum ($90) and a 30-year rare Panamanian rum ($425), was to reproduce the flavor profiles he enjoyed decades ago in Cuba. They are blends of the most exceptional casks in his private collection, selected for their high-quality bourbon notes, among other factors.
As one might expect, both expressions are pleasingly sweet, with a richness and roundness that reflects their age. The 18-year delivers crisp fruit notes wrapped in a blanket of light brown sugar and offers a long finish accented by flavors of vanilla and a hint of oaky spiciness. The 30-year, on the other hand, is deeper and darker, both in flavor and appearance, and introduces caramel aromas that transition to notes of toffee and figs on the palate.
For more information, visit origenesdonpancho.com