Jim Wasson is an American expat living in the Boquete area, who has come a long way from his days in the hospitality industry. His company, Panamonte Brands, is responsible for taking rum from, “nice with Coke or fruit juice,” to a plane that any spirit would wish to aspire.
Panamonte Reserva XXV is an award-winning 25-year-old rum that is in limited supply. It sells for approximately $450.00 a bottle. The bottle itself has become a collectors’ item. But the contents far outshines the vessel in which it is contained.
Panamonte ` XXV isn’t a drink. It’s an experience, beginning with a strong but compelling aroma. Your nose might catch wisps of vanilla,, tobacco and something slightly sweet and fruity. The first sip will leave you waiting for that familiar alcohol kick, but it never quite gets there. The rum slips smoothly from your lips to your tongue, then makes its way down, leaving a warm sensation.
The flavor is only slightly oaky with notes of chocolate, tobacco and soft hints of ripe fruit. The finish is smooth as satin, like a deluxe spa treatment for your taste buds. It’s easy to see why the Panamonte Brands trademark is “The Smoothest Rum on Earth.”
Wasson advises drinking Panamonte Reserva XXV with a single ice cube. As it cools, the rum opens up, creating an even more complex harmony of flavor.
In 2009, seeing a market for an affordable but good overproof rum, Wasson began distilling Panama Red. That turned out to have been a wise move. Panama Red received gold medals in the overproof category everywhere it competed: Miami, Madrid, and most recently, the World Spirits Competition in San Francisco.
Sadly, Panamonte Reserva XXV and Panama Red are currently only available in parts of Canada and the United States. According to Wasson, though, both should be available in Panama in the near future.