Brand: Grander, Single Barrel series
Origin: Las Cabras, Herrera, Panama (picked by Germantown Village Wine & Spirits)
Age: 13 years
Finish: ex-Bourbon & ex-Speyside Scotch
Grander Panama Rum is one of the more exciting brands in the rum world today. The American brand, owned by Kentuckian Dan DeHart, sources its rum from the esteemed Las Cabras Distillery in Panama, where esteemed master blender Francisco “Don Pancho” Fernandez works with the rest of the team to bring truly single origin, unadulterated rum to life.
Aside from working with rum distilling royalty, Grander is at the forefront of innovation when it comes to barrel maturation. DeHart is not happy with simply releasing ex-Bourbon-finished rum like everyone else; he is pushing the limits of what we can do to fully appreciate the beauty of rum. Some recent barrel types that Grander has (or will soon be) released include wheated bourbon, Islay peated scotch, toasted oak, California madeira, and tequila, to name just a few.
The bottle we'll be reviewing today comes from barrel P16-SS21, which is an ex-Speyside scotch cask that aged rum for 1 year, which had previously aged in an ex-Bourbon cask for 12 years. This 127 proof, 13 year old barrel was picked by local liquor store Germantown Village Wine & Spirits in Germantown, TN, in the Memphis metropolitan area; this is their first rum barrel pick, so I'm excited to bring you this review of their selection.
Golden brown, medium viscosity, medium clarity
Orange peel, wet clay, crystalline sugar, vanilla
Intense charred oak, light smoke, malt whisky, cinnamon
Long and hot, but not too overpowering; vanilla, oak char, and scotch whisky fade into a drawn-out, tannic and bitter dark chocolate laden trail
If you're looking to introduce your whisk(e)y friends to rum, you may not find a better companion than the Grander Speyside Single Barrel. This is a 3-punch knockout of malt whisky, vanilla, and heat, thanks to the generally lighter style of rum that comes out of Panama, as well as the strength of the Speyside whisky cask the rum finished maturing in.
Like most Grander rums that I've had the pleasure of trying, the Speyside barrel is a nice golden brown, with some orange tinges. It sports a medium viscosity and clarity.
On the nose, you get a nice orange peel, the minerality of wet clay, sugar crystals, and a nice vanilla note. I can really detect the strength and barrel maturation from the nose alone.
The palate offers a onslaught of vanilla, charred oak, a light smokey element, cinnamon, and the undeniable grainy note of malt whisky. (I hesitate to use the exact name of a different spirit, but that's pretty much what the palate leads me towards) Remember, this rum aged in ex-Bourbon barrels for 12 years, and spent (only) 1 year in ex-Speyside scotch barrels; it's quite incredible how much of the barrel this rum takes away.
The finish is long and hot, and again reiterates the bourbon and whisky notes of vanilla and charred oak, trailing off into tannic, bitter dark chocolate. This has the characteristics of whisk(e)y finishes that seem to migrate from the back palate up to the roof of my mouth as it goes.
This bottle was one of my first forays into a rum whose maturation provided such a strong influence. With all respect due to the team at Grander, Las Cabras, and Germantown Village, this bottle is just hairs away from being undetectably rum or whisky. I don't think this is a bad thing, as it shows the versatility of rum, and offers a stepping stone for others to try this category when they may typically prefer whisky.
For me, the intensity, scotch aromatics and flavors, and the novel experience compared to most of my other bottles means that this one is placed in a pretty high regard. It's also a great store pick, and you don't typically see a lot of scotch-matured rum available, so to have a store in a typically bourbon-centric market invest in a unique barrel of rum is pretty special.
I would recommend trying the Speyside Single Barrel picked by Germantown Village Wine & Spirits if you can find them on the shelf still; it is a really exciting bottle that has plenty to offer.
Where to Buy
- Germantown Village Wine & Spirits (Germantown, TN)