There is a mystique surrounding Cuban rum that few other spirits enjoy. The lion's share of the credit belongs to one man, Maestro Ronero Don Francisco "Pancho" Fernandez. For 35 years Fernandez was the former Cuban Minster of Rum and the mastermind behind the brand, Havana Club. After leaving Cuba, Don Pancho headed to the jungles of Panama. There he set up shop about 4 hours outside of Panama City and became director and master blender at Consorcio Licorero Nacional. It's accepted as fact in the spirit world that no one knows more about handcrafting world-class rum than Don Pancho.
One of Don Pancho's spirited masterpieces is the altogether sensational YOLO Silver Rum. They are made from sugar cane cultivated in the nutrient-rich 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 copper column stills and bottled at 40% alcohol (80 proof).
YOLO Silver is a vivacious, character-rich rum. It has ideal clarity, a velvety, medium-weight body and a generous bouquet of fresh cane. Its aromatic signature is enormously inviting. The rum generates minimal heat on the palate as it quickly expands, filling the mouth with the lavish flavors of cocoa, citrus, tropical fruit and black cherries. The finish is long and spicy warm.
Fans of barrel-aged rums will be seriously impressed with YOLO Gold Rum, which is matured for 10 years in charred, American white oak. The rum has the dark, amber/brown look of brewed coffee, a silky, medium-weight body and the wafting aromas of vanilla, caramel and toffee. Its entry onto the palate generates little heat as it bathes the mouth with a skillfully balanced array of oak-induced flavors, all of which persist an impressively long time. This rum is an ideal brand to serve neat in a snifter after a fabulous meal. It drinks like fine brandy.
The name YOLO is an acronym standing for "You Only Live Once," which is undeniably sound advice. The phrase strongly suggests that we live in the moment and relish all that life holds in store for us. These Panamanian gems deliver that message perfectly.