Rum Nation Panama 18 Year Old – 2014

Rum Nation Panama 18 Rum Review by the fat rum pirateRum Nation are an Italian Independent bottler headed up by Fabio Rossi.  It was formed in 1999 and has the tagline Single Domaine Rum.

In keeping with many Independent bottlers Rum Nation do not give specific information on the distillery and or still.  In most instances you just get the country of origin.

This rum was released in 2014, unlike the 2015 and 2016 release it is not marked as an solera rum.  So this is a rum which should be wholly at least 18 years old………

It is likely that this rum hails from the Don Jose Distillery in Panama – home of Ron Abuelo.  As far as I am aware all rum made in Panama is produced on a column still.  My previous experience of an aged Panama Rum was also a Independent bottling by Mezan.  I’ll be very happy with this if it matches that rum!

A bottle will set you back around £55 (it is still available online) and it comes in a very nice cut out card sleeve with the Rum Nation logo and a little information on the brand.  The bottle is a nice stubby style bottle with a nice cork enclosure.  The distinctive thing about the Rum Nation bottlings is that each has a picture of a stamp from the country of origin.  A kind of homage to Fabio’s stamp collecting grandfather.  It is bottled at 40% ABV.

When poured the rum is rich golden brown (almost suspiciously so). The nose is very gentle and there is little by way of any alcohol burn.  It is very wine/cognac like and reminiscent equally of Ron Abuelo and Barbancourt rums.

It is however, notably sweeter than Barbancourt and you quickly get past the wine like notes into rich raisins and prunes.  There are some notes of oak ageing and a slightly spicy note, but not a great deal.

Rum Nation Panama 18 Year Old 2014 review by the fat rum pirate

Sipping the rum you get an initial rush of sweetness.  Strong sugary notes, a little toffee and hints of liquorice.  These quickly give way to what can only be described as a slightly peculiar almost red wine like note mixed with oak chips.  There is even an almost soapy note. Which is actually slightly more pleasant than it sounds.

The finish is quite long and overall quite pleasant and warming.  It’s very light,  buttery and easy to drink.

The rum has a couple of off notes. It is almost vinegary at times and the soapiness is a little odd.  It has 23 g/L of “additives” – which may not all be entirely down to Rum Nation as Don Jose Distillery are noted as adding sugar (or something) to their rums.

The additives certainly do smooth out this rum.  A little too much for me.  I would much rather taste the distillate as is – even with the rougher edges.  I don’t expect when sipping rum to get Bailey’s after all!

I’ve read the notes on the Rum Nation website and to be honest I agree with very little of them.  It is nowhere as near as complex as they are trying to make out.

The rum sadly has a little bit of the Ron Millonario feel to it.  Admittedly it is much better, buts its still disappointing.  For £55-60, which is how much this retails for I could be well on the way to owning a bottle of both Barbancourt 5 Star and a Mezan Panama.

Whilst this doesn’t hit the depths of the atrocious Ron Millonario XO it is still pretty disappointing for an 18 year old rum of any origin.  It’s a direction I think Rum Nation do themselves a dis-service by heading in.

Bang average and vastly overrated.

2 stars





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