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Selvarey Rum

Selvarey Rum


By Robert Plotkin

The rum capital of the world is located 4 hours outside of Panama City. It is there in the jungles of the Herrera region that you'll find the Las Cabras Distillery. Originally built in 1919, it is the home of the internationally acclaimed Maestro Ronero, Don Francisco "Pancho" Fernandez, former Cuban Minster of Rum and 35-year veteran of Havana Club. It's an accepted fact in the spirit world that no one knows more about handcrafting world-class rum than Don Pancho.

In support of this claim I offer as evidence the altogether sensational Selvarey Rums. They are made from sugar cane cultivated in the nutrient-rich soil of the fields surrounding the distillery. After harvesting, the cane is rendered into molasses and allowed to slowly ferment in open vats using naturally occurring yeast. The fermented wash is then distilled in the Las Cabras' copper column stills, which were built in Cincinnati in 1922. After the rum exits the still, it is aged in charred, American white oak barrels.

Selvarey White is created from a blend of three- and five-year old rums. When Don Pancho determines the desired flavor profile has been achieved, the rum is carbon filtered to remove the oak-induced color while leaving its vibrant character intact. It is rendered to proof using mountain spring water and bottled at 40% alcohol (80 proof).

Here's a rum deserving of five-star treatment and being sipped neat or with a single cube. It has pristine clarity, a lovely hint of oak color and a sexy, curvaceous body. An unmistakable sign you're in the presence of greatness is the rum's bouquet, an enticing ensemble that includes cherries, plums, vanilla, cinnamon and toffee. The aromatics alone make Selvarey White well worth the price of admission. Its mild entry quickly fills the mouth with the flavors of vanilla, citrus zest, caramel, honey and baking spice. The finish is long, spicy warm and slightly herbaceous. In the final analysis, the rum may be too good to share with the in-laws.

The soon-to-be-indispensible Selvarey Cacao is a luxurious, five-year old rum infused with Panamanian chocolate. Guaranteed you'll be enthralled with it after your first sip. The 70-proof rum has a dark golden/amber hue, a velvety, medium-weight body and the irresistible aromas of cacao, caramel, vanilla, cinnamon and nougat. The aromatics do an excellent job preparing the palate for the joys to come. Its entry raises little heat as it quickly bathes the palate with the flavors of coffee, dark chocolate, toffee, cloves and baking spice. The lingering fade is silky smooth and flavorful.

The Spanish word "Selvarey" loosely translates to "king of the jungle," which pays homage to Don Pancho having literally carved his distillery and cane fields out of the jungle.

Selvarey Rums are sophisticated spirits and perfect entrées to the growing trend of sipping aged rum neat after a fine dinner.