Another 2 rums selected by The Nectar. I think by now it’s become abundantly clear that I get most of my latest rums for reviewing from the kind people at The Nectar. Just to be clear, I’m not getting paid by them. The only thing I receive is their samples free of charge.
Here’s a link to the other 2 rums from this year’s selection (here and here). On paper this is the lesser tasting session. With Belize and Panama being not as respected as Barbados and Martinique. This due to the “lighter” and “smoother” flavour types these countries produce. Something which is preferable for novice rum drinkers, but quickly seem to industrial and uninteresting for the more adapt drinker. This may or may not be deserved, I’ll leave it in the middle for the moment. I’ll try to dive deeper in both countries at a later time, for now though I’ll just go purely for taste.
The Nectar was born in 2006. The creation of 2 whisky-lovers Jan Broekmans and Mario Groteklaes, the company was founded as a passion project, especially to bottle great, fun and tasty tipples. Passion projects as companies or independent bottlers are always a good idea, this ensures the first goal of the company is to bottle the best possible product out there; profit often takes a second place and this is something to be applauded.
The Belize 2007 13y was produced at the Travellers distillery, which actually does have a positive reputation for being a solid and stand-up distillery. It was then aged partially in the tropics and continentally for 13 years, after which it was bottled at a firm sturdy 62.6% ABV.
The Panama was distilled in an undisclosed distillery. Since there are (according to Wikipedia) 48 rum producers in the country, I’m not even going to begin guessing which one the liquid originated from. This mysterious rum was then, just like the Belize partly aged tropically and continentally. After 14 years it was finally bottled at 55.3% ABV, which is an ABV that you don’t see often from Panamese rum.
Let’s dive in.
Belize 2007 13y (62.6%)
Lots of chocolate and orange. Big alcoholic punch. Chocolate pastries and bread. Slight woody tannins, other than that pretty straightforward. the high ABV probably numbs most subtler scents. After a while, some dirtier and heavier notes come through, the slightest bit of tar and petrol. But this is a very fleeting note
The alcohol is there, in a very present and spicy way. The first sip hit the ground running, an alcoholic fueled chocolate cake is probably the best way to describe it. As I taste a hot spicy mix of cake, chocolate and orange.
Some sharper ethanol notes are recognizable, but hardly distinguishable. They’re in the background like the CBR (cosmic background radiation), always there, but it’s not disruptive.
Otherwise, this is a very nice rum. A full palate of vanilla, some good woody spice combined with the filling alcoholic spice, tobacco. This all makes for a filling and hot palate
The finish mellows this hot attack on the weaker palates off. A nice bit of oak, tobacco and chocolate finishes this drink of. It hardly burns in the throat and leaves you wondering what happened to that heat from the nose and taste.
Overall, pretty good rum. Nice full palate with all the flavours one would want from a rum. The ABV could stand to be a bit lower on this as it really takes some getting used to and this might put some people off. This being said, if you can handle this type of ABV, and like a nice naturally sweet and oaky rum. This is a good option
Panama 2006 14 y (55.3%)
Very light, jenever or Irish Whiskey are probably the closest things comparably. Apple and pear. The nose then evolves to some cloves and star anise.
I really have to dig deep, since the nose is so light.
This continues in the Irish whiskey lines. A tiny amount of spiciness from the ABV, and very abscent of big flavours, nothing like the full and sometimes sweet rums most people know. Also not like the bombastic fruit bouquet of Jamaican rums. But light: grapes, apples, pears and a bit of kiwi along with some oaky spices makes this an excellent rum for the European palate, more prone towards the aforementioned spirits.
Finish is nothing too special. An average length with mainly the spice and apple stick around. The rum fades away as you’d expect of a rum that is light like this one is.
Not a bad rum, there’s only nothing special that can be said about this rum. It’s very light on the palate without being sharp, the relatively high ABV is hardly noticeable. It’s a pretty forgettable rum.
The Belize obviously had more going for it, simply a better, more interesting rum. A well-balanced rum, with its main problem being the ever-present alcholic sharpness which is detrimental for the general experience. Had this rum been at a somewhat lower ABV, it would’ve been better.
The Panama was rather flat and didn’t have much of anything. It wasn’t a bad rum, it didn’t have enough character to become bad or good. The rum is about as light as I’d dare to go in the rum-world. a big letdown (the rumors about Panama were true in this case).
Belize 13y (62.6%)
Panama 14y (55.3%)