Brand: Transcontinental Rum Line
Origin: Unknown, Panama
Age: 11 years
Transcontinental Rum Line (TCRL) makes a return today, as we take a first look at a bottle from the collections' core lineup.
Unlike the FORT single barrel from Hampden (or should we say "HD"…) that we previously reviewed, the core lineup of TCRL's releases are blends from a single origin. Countries well-known for rum production like Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana, and Panama are joined by those with lesser-known but growing rum profiles, such as Fiji, Australia, Guadeloupe, and Mauritius.
The rums sourced for TCRL bottlings spend time being tropically aged at their origin, and are further aged in Europe at one of several rum wholesaler warehouses. Thus, these rums are truly trans-continental! The labels and packaging boxes these bottles are sold in provide some additional information about the rum, particularly the share of time spent aging in tropical or continental climates.
Panama 2011 was released in 2020, alongside other releases like Australia 2013 and Jamaica WP 2015. They were the first time I saw TCRL bottles in Memphis after finding positive posts on /r/rum, and I eventually got the Panama and Australia releases.
Distilled at an unknown Panamanian distillery, Panama 2011 was distilled in 2011 and aged for 7 years in an ex-Bourbon cask in Panama. It was later transferred to Europe for an additional 2 years of aging, before being bottled in 2020 at a strength of 43.4% ABV, without any additives.
Gold, high clarity, low viscosity
Dried tropical fruits, oak, vanilla, tobacco leaves, butterscotch
Fermented grapes, dried pineapple, plums, butterscotch, molasses
Medium, oaky, balanced; dried fruits, orange sherbert, oak, molasses
Panama 2011 is a great example of an unadulterated, flavorful, yet nuanced light-bodied rum. I say light-bodied, but it sits right on the line of having a more "standard" amount of depth/complexity, whatever "standard" means in the rum world. The dried fruit notes– as alluded to on the back label– are a nice quality, while the under-proof strength allows the more subtle flavors to be present without being overpowered by heat.
This rum is a nice golden color, with high clarity and low viscosity in my glass.
On the nose, I get notes of dried tropical fruits, oak, vanilla, tobacco leaves, and some butterscotch. The specific tropical fruits on display are difficult to point out, but perhaps banana, mango, and coconut, if I had to give an answer. If you concentrate, this nose is similar to a traditional tropical trail mix with banana chips, dried mango, and coconut flakes. Lovely nose!
The palate of Panama 2011 offers fermented rapes, dried pineapple, and plums as far as the fruit notes go, while butterscotch and molasses also make an appearance. The overture of the palate reminds me of a Jamaican rum– like the LROK marque from Hampden, which in turn has some brandy-like grape notes. Dried pineapple and juicy plums follow up, with some sweet butterscotch and earthy molasses wrapping things up. It's not the most complex palate, but it certainly is a solid sipping experience.
The finish is medium length, oaky, but balanced, with notes of dried fruits, molasses, and eventually orange sherbert. Due to the lower proof, the finish is very well constructed, and allows the flavors to fully settle before completion.
While perhaps not the most exciting rum out there, or even the most exciting of the TCRL 2020 releases, Panama 2011 is a solid sipper. The lighter body and proof lend this bottle to be a great introduction to those beginning their rum journey, while still showing some depth and character. I look forward to trying future Panama releases from this IB, and seeing how it compares to this bottle.