Grander Panama Rum Aged 12 Years

Grander Panama Rum Aged 12 Years rum review by the fat rum pirateGrander Panama Rum Aged 12 Years. I haven’t reviewed a great deal of Panamanian (should we just call it Panama?) rum recently. To be honest it is not a country whose rum excites me nowadays.

Unfortunately (and as my Hydrometer tests support) you can never quite rely on what you might be getting in your bottle. From mythical distilleries to very loud protestations that any additives have been used by ageing Master Blenders – despite scientific evidence to show otherwise. I never quite trust what I might be getting in a bottle of Panama rum.

That is not to say that Panama rum is particularly bad per se. It’s light Spanish/Latin style is approachable and easy drinking. It’s just not terrible exciting and I find most of it quite homogenised. The reality is most of it comes out of the same huge alcohol plant, so that is perhaps to be expected.

However, there are times when I see something which piques my interest.

Grander Panama Rum has been around for a few years now. The first sounds I heard about Grander came from the US. Now I find the US appreciation of rum and spirits etc to be slightly more, shall we say “positive” than that of a European audience. Much of the reviews, I saw of this product came from “Spirits” Reviewers rather than dedicated Rum Experts or Enthusiasts.

That said what rely got me interested in trying Grander Panama Rum was a combination their claims of “no additives” and a largely positive review from Ivar de Laat over at Rum Revelations, who rarely has anything good to say about “Spanish” style rums. He didn’t rave over this but he seemed to feel it was solid enough.

Grander Panama Rum Aged 12 Years is produced at Las Cabras Distillery, which is often termed as “Don Pancho’s” distillery. You can read the back story on this here.

Las Cabras Distillery produces rum from locally grown sugar cane molasses. Fermentation takes place using a proprietory yeast strain. Fermentation lasts between 24 and 72 hours. Grander rums are produced on a 4 column multi still. This still(s) can produced light to heavy marques of rum.Grander Panama Rum Aged 12 Years rum review by the fat rum pirateGrander Panama Rum Aged 12 Years rum review by the fat rum pirate

Ageing of Grander Panama Rum Aged 12 Years takes place in ex-bourbon barrels some of which have been noted as being “sherry seasoned”. The Grander website notes that some of these barrels previously held Sherry. For more information on Sherry Seasoned casks please read here. I am assuming that the casks were seasoned rather than had sherry age/mature in them.

The Grander Rum website is quite good and has a fair amount of information on it. A lot of which I have used in this review. Should you wish to read a bit more about Grander then please check it out here.

In the UK distribution of Grander Panama Rum is currently handled by Gravity Drinks, who I’ll be honest have some pretty questionable products in their portfolio. As a result this is now quite readily available here in the UK. Familiar stockists such as Master of Malt and Amazon currently have it for sale. A 70cl bottle of this normally costs around £40 – Amazon have it for £34.99 (but only have one in stock) and MoM are offering free delivery. Grander Panama rum Aged 12 Years comes in a 70cl bottle. It is bottled at 45% ABV.

Presentation wise – this is nicely presented. Sleek modern 3/4 size bottle with a short neck and very chunky wooden topped cork stopper. It’s quite “understated” for this kind of rum and has information on the rear label rather than fairy tales. It has “The Ultimate Catch” embossed on the front label and has Grander down each side of the bottle.

Grander Panama Rum Aged 12 Years rum review by the fat rum pirateSo lets move on and see how this one pans out.

In the glass Grander Panama Rum Aged 12 Years is quite light for a 12 year old spirit. Especially one which has been tropically aged. This suggests to me that no caramel colouring has been added. As the producers have been more than clear about!

This is refreshing. The nose is quite light but has a nice hit of alcohol and oak spices. Again I’m not getting any suggestion of additions to this. Baking spices, sweet shortcrust pastry and some butter biscuits. A nice burst of vanilla and some honey.

It’s light but at the same time has a decent amount of complexity. Nicely balanced and quite inviting.

Sipped the rum has a bit of bite to it – a good hit spicy oak and bourbon esque notes alongside a bit more “booze” than you might normally encounter from a Panama rum. To be fair not many commercial bottlings go above 43% ABV.

The initial entry has a honey-ed sweetness, which moves into the mid palate which delivers more of the oak and barrel influence. It’s clean and crisp and goes down very easily.

The mid palate sees a little of the “sherry seasoning” which adds an extra bit of spice. Not the sweetness I was expecting. This is more of perfumed note which I have to say works really well and is quite distinctive.

There are notes of pecan, peanut brittle and some vanilla as we move into the finish.

Grander Panama Rum Aged 12 Years rum review by the fat rum pirateThe finish is fairly short and has a bitter edge to it – a lot of wood spice and some dark chocolate. Cocoa nibs and a decent bit of heat as fades out. It fades a little quickly though. Quicker than I would have liked. It does leave behind quite a bit of heat though. More than I was expecting.

All in all this is a light nicely balanced “ron”. The fact is tastes and has a mouthfeel which suggests no additives is always a bonus. It is certainly not “confected” in anyway I can detect.

I’ve quite enjoyed my time with the bottle (some time I should have perhaps spent removing the HMRC sticker before taking photos……) and I certainly wouldn’t refuse a glass of this if offered.

One of those solid 7/10 bottles.

As David Lee Roth might say “Panama” RIP Eddie Van Halen.








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