Rum Review : Macnair’s Exploration Rum Series

After yet another incredibly long intermezzo I’m back. Yes I’m a very inconsistent poster and unbelievably lazy at times (extended times at that). BUT! I just received some samples to review, so here we go again.

The samples I received came from Glenallachie, a Scottish whisky distillery. No stress I’m not going to be reviewing whiskies, there are enough whisky reviewers in the world (plenty of rum reviewers too, but I don’t care about that). The samples they’ve sent me are of the new endeavor of Master Blender Bobby Macnair: The Exploration series.

Macnair is trying his hand at masterblending rum with his experience as a whisky man. For his inaugural series Macnair chose to limit himself to one country: Panama. Now, I haven’t been too wild about rum from Panama. I like it okay, it just doesn’t really give me goosebumps or anything of the sort.

Quick rundown on some specs: both the 7 (unpeated) and 15 have been aged in a combination of red wine, virgin oak and ex bourbon casks. The peaed 7 has had an American oak and ex-peated scotch whisky cask treatment.


7Y

Colour:

I’ll use the colours mentioned on the little brochure that was given to me, as they are simply beautiful. This one is ‘Burnished Bronze’

Nose:

Fresh, fruity and a bit sharp in the beginning. A very kind nose with tropical fruits, hints of mango, some coconut and stonefruits. A gentle layer of milk chocolate makes this feel like a summer-y fruit-chocolate pie. In the beginning there is a slight spiciness. This fades away quite quickly, leaving you with a pleasant though very average nose. Very forgettable nose

Taste:

Warmer and sweeter than the nose suggests, there’s more spice and some added fruits. Bananas, mangos and oranges. This combines well with the still-present milk chocolate and some caramel. Hough it’s all a bit flat flavour-wise. I do notice a certain thickness about the rum in the mouth, so perhaps it’s sweetened? Not sure though.

Finish:

There’s a duality about this finish. On the one hand there’s a bit of a spiciness, on the other hand, my lips are kind of sticky… yet another clue for sugar.

All things considered, it’s nice but too kind. If the price is right this can be a pretty little tipple to casually enjoy with friends, you just don’t have to invite the biggest rumheads.


7Y Peated

Colour:

This one they call ‘Sunset Gold’. How romantic

Nose:

This is something weird, the peat is instantly recognizable and has a bit of weird effect on the rum. It feels like a rather sharp and light smoke of a menthol cigarette, instead of a heavier cigar. Any scent from the rum has quite literally gone up in smoke. I’d really think this is a peated Speysider if I didn’t know better.

Taste:

The palate is also overloaded with peat. Some inkling of rum can be found, but one has to dig incredibly deep to find it. This is not really what I’m looking for in rum, nor do I hope anyone is.

Peat works incredibly well in Whisky, it supports the flavours of the Barley and it simply fits. After all, what grows together, goes together. Peat and barley are something for the continent. Peat and sugarcane is just a combination that doesn’t do it for me, at least not in this configuration. Perhaps in a heavier rum with a more characteristic palate the peat would work better. But even then, I wouldn’t like to combine this overdone smokiness with what could be a good rum.

This is not a good match. I like my rums to have character, this however is no doing anything for the name of rum or peat for that matter.

Finish:

The smoke flavours stay for a longer time than I care for. Otherwise there isn’t much to it. I think someone better check the distillery before they burn it all down with peat.


15Y

I kid you not. I had to wait 30 minutes and a pint of water for the flavour of the previous rum to subside enough to be able to taste this one properly.

Colour:

Here they combined both, giving us ‘Golden Bronze’. Whether it’s due to lack of creativity or because they may just have a dart board with sexy words for brown on it and they per chance hit these particular words a couple of times, I wouldn’t know… But it sound good though, like you’d describe someone who’s been sunbathing in California for 2 weeks

Nose:

Fatter and heavier than the 7, which also makes it smell somewhat sweeter and less ethanol-y. The fruitiness made way for more of the milk chocolate and woody vanilla. Some nuttiness is also present. Much more pleasing nose. Some tropical and juicy fruits are detectable on the secondary nose

Taste:

Warm, gentle, light spice. Very similar to the 7 year old, but doubling down on the sugar-y and woody notes. 46% is a good ABV for this one, giving it just enough power to be interesting. It has a bit of a barbadian/ St-Lucia style body. Very nice this one

Finish:

Medium-long with a lovely aftertaste. The Spiciness is gone and I’m left with orange, pastry, chocolate and hints of caramel. All wonderfully balanced.


Conclusion:

The unpeated 7 isn’t bad, its just not something I would buy. It’s a bit too sharp on the nose and forgettable on the palate.

The peated 7 is just wrong. Good for Macnair’s to try and experiment across spirits. But please don’t do it anymore. It’s not because peat works really well in some whiskies it’s guaranteed to work with rum . and definitely with rum from Panama.

The 15 however is very nice. Warm and chocolate-y nose. Very accessible yet still interesting palate and a well-timed and pleasant finish. A nice daily sipper.

Overall this was an interesting experience, mainly because I’ve now tried a peated rum… unfortunately. The other 2 rums were nice, but not something I’ll be giving a lot of attention to or give a very high rating. They’re not bad but also nothing that’ll make your eyes pop and astonish you.

Macnair’s 7 (unpeated): 5/10

Macnair’s 7 (peated): 2/10

Macnair’s 15: 6.5/10

Rum Review : Daily drams 2021 Panama & Belize

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%)

Colour:

Golden orange

Nose:

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

Taste:

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

Finish:

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%)

Colour:

Golden yellow

Nose:

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.

Taste:

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:

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%)

6.5/10

Panama 14y (55.3%)

4/10