Having been involved in owning bars, restaurants and nightclubs in Cirencester — a market town northwest of London — for many years, Richard was looking for an alternative to rums he was serving from large brands that had strayed from their origins. Continue reading
Don Pancho Fernandez’s brand of Origenes luxury rum from Panama is now being distributed across the Unites States by the artisan spirits division of Terlato Wines.
Don Pancho Origenes rums are produced in Panama by the legendary Cuban master rum blender Francisco “Don Pancho” Fernandez, who is globally recognized as one of the most experienced and respected rum blenders in the world. The brand marks Don Pancho’s first rum under his own name. The contents of each bottle reflect a lifetime of expertise and vision.
After learning the distilling craft from his father, Master Distiller Don Ramon Corrales Fernandez, Don Pancho was instrumental in modernizing Cuba’s rum industry in the 1970s.
The Panamanian Connection
After a global conglomerate acquired Cuba’s national brand, he relocated to Panama, where, in the 1990s, he discovered a neglected distillery in the Herrera region of Panama, which he built, with business partner Carlos Esquivel, into the Las Cabras Distillery.
At Las Cabras Don Pancho produced super-premium rums made with estate-grown, hand-harvested sugar cane in the Cuban tradition for many brands, while he watched and waited as the barrels of rum that he had been aging in Panama since the 1980s started showing some intriguing flavors and aromas. He soon realized that there was an opportunity to produce a blended aged rum under his own name — one that would be his own personal expression of aged rum.
Don Pancho Origenes is Born
Crafted in the classic “Cuban style,” Don Pancho Origenes rums are made with molasses from hand-harvested sugar cane and a proprietary yeast, are distilled in copper column stills and then aged in American Oak bourbon barrels of uniform size. Each barrel is hand selected by Don Pancho from his own private collection spanning decades. Renowned for his exacting standards, Don Pancho true-age-dates his rums by the age of the youngest rum in the blend, meaning the youngest rum in the 8-Year Old is 8 years old, and the same for the 18 and 30 year olds.
The 8-year is aromatic with hints of butterscotch and vanilla. Particularly smooth for its age, this rum makes for a perfect accent to cocktails or can be enjoyed neat or on the rocks. The suggested retail price is $40.
The 18-year is characterized by a beautiful, cherry wood color. Filled with delicate aromas of sweet tea, honey, moist dates and figs, this rum is smooth with a rewarding finish. The elegant mouth-feel fades gently to expose dried fruits and notes of bourbon due to many years aging in American oak bourbon barrels. Additionally, the 18-year recently won the Gold Medal at the Berlin Rum Festival, the only rum to earn a perfect 100 out of 100 points by noted rum expert Robert Burr in a blind tasting. The suggested retail price is $90.
The 30-year is the most exclusive and luxurious of the series, with only 2,000 bottles available worldwide and 600 in the United States. This expression has a complex nose with wood, bourbon, orange peel and apricots. Remarkably creamy and full-bodied, its rich flavors of fudge and caramel melt into the fruity nose with a complex, long finish. Best enjoyed on its own, neat. The suggested retail price is $425.
“With Don Pancho Origenes, Don Pancho created the kind of artisan rum that he had always envisioned making. We instantly knew that Terlato’s Artisan Spirits division was the perfect place to build our brand in the marketplace,” said Carlos Esquivel, executive director of Don Pancho Origenes. “After decades of experience producing some of the world’s finest rums, we are excited to work with the Terlato family as we release such a high quality series of rum expressions for the first time under Don Pancho’s name.”
Don Pancho Origenes is imported from Panama by the Artisan Spirits division of Terlato Wines, the leading marketer of luxury wines in the United States, with a 20 percent market share of wines $20 and up in the U.S. The exceptional quality of the Terlato portfolio is underscored by more 90+ scores from leading wine publications than any other wine company.
From Master Distiller Bryan Davis of Lost Spirits near Monterey, California, the new Cuban Style 151 overproof rum delivers a complex and delightful palate of flavors lead by butterscotch and vanilla notes.
Using Grade A confection quality molasses, this spirit features banana added to the yeast starter for enhanced nitrogen content during fermentation. A relatively short fermentation period at cooler temperatures delivers more subtlety during this initial process than Lost Spirits’ rich and robust Navy Style Rum.
The distillation method isolates the desired cut with high rectification to separate the more robust flavors often found in the tails. Toasted American Oak barrels impart a mild enhancement without overwhelming the subtle flavor profile. The master distiller’s goal was to keep this 151 proof rum quite sippable and smooth in spite of the high alcohol content.
Initial aromas of pound cake, rich butter and hard candy lead to warm cinnamon, vanilla bean and dry dates with an earthy vegetal note before big cedar and white oak. On the palate, a small sip is big in the mouth but not hot, revealing butterscotch, fresh bread dough and vanilla wafer with molasses glaze. The complex flavor profile evolves into pepper and grassy cane before finishing with tobacco and a hint of cassia bark well into the pleasant dry finish.
Once again, Lost Spirits Distillery delivers a very interesting rum expression that challenges the norm, arousing the interest of rum enthusiasts and challenging the notion that old aged rums are always the most intriguing examples within the wide category of rum.
Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum and Polynesian Inspired Rum have recently been recognized with awards of outstanding achievement. At the 2014 RumXP International Tasting Competition held during the 2014 Miami Rum Renaissance Festival in Miami, the Navy Style Rum won a Best In Class Award and gained a lot of attention around the globe.
This 75.5 abv overproof spirit sells for $37 and is available in limited areas of distribution.
Citrus Distillers, a small artisan distillery in Florida, operated by Dustin Skartved, is appealing to aspiring liquor brands and private labels by offering a complete solution to those wishing to initiate their own brand of spirits.
The facility includes three custom copper and stainless steel stills and a temperature controlled fermentation lab. The maturation section features various types of oak barrels, French barrels, Cypress and many other tank technologies.
Dustin Skartved is the master distiller at Citrus Distillers of Riviera Beach Florida, an artisan still operation creating custom spirits for private labels.
Offering to help start-ups build their brand of whiskey, rum, vodka or gin, Citrus Distillers offers payment plans and set prices — as little as $3,500 to get started, plus $4.30 per bottle. Premium and Ultra Grade spirits are priced at a higher rate.
The process of developing a unique recipe and producing the liquid might take as little as 30 days, but typically takes three to six months to develop a brand — taking great care with recipe testing and dealing with licensing issues.
Dustin Skartved is the master distiller at Citrus Distillers. His stated philosophy is to use quality products and processes in every step of the project, beginning with fermentation and distilling test recipes, graphic label design, licensing and label registration and bottling.
Dustin advises that marketing could be considered a critical part of this process and offers to help new entrepreneurs with product placement.
This master distiller believes the most important step is a proper fermentation. “The big difference in our fermentation process is the local ingredients like sugar cane, corn, honey and sweet Florida molasses,” said Dustin. “Our fermentation cycle takes 7 to 8 days, longer than most — and we use low ABV formulas to make our rum and other brands much smoother, with more flavor. A quick fermentation produces too many foul flavors. We’re in no rush.”
Among the private label brands working with Citrus Distillers are Arnolds Classic Vodka, Jello Fever pre-made jelly shots, Still No. 3 Whiskey and High Society Rum.
Another of the unique products produced at his distillation facility is Canes & Grains Citrus Flavored Rum, a dark, rich and robust spirit that evokes the style of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum from Bermuda, with an added element of orange zest. It’s a smooth rum that goes well with ginger beer to make a refreshing rum-and-ginger mixed drink.
Citrus Distillers also offers their own Distillers University classes with instruction ranging from calculating the perfect wash to distilling, bottling, marketing, licensing and spirit tastings.