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Selvarey white and cacao rums from Panama

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From the central regions of Panama -- via Hollywood, California -- Selvarey rums present outstanding profiles designed to be delightful and accessible to the growing legions of rum enthusiasts in the United States. Based on the Spanish translation of Jungle King (Selva Rey) these fine aged spirits are crafted by a master distiller and blender of great renown -- a king of rum in his own right.

Selvarey White Rum offers a medium viscosity, suggesting it's been well aged (up to five years) and filtered to remove most of the color. The nose reveals subtle hints of vanilla and mineral water with soft sweetness, buttered toast and a touch of fresh cane. The palate finds a delicate balance of grassy cane, vanilla and spices leading to a medium dry finish. At 80 proof, this is an exceptional white rum for fine cocktails and plays well as a sipper.

The cacao rum is most surprising. Before you can assume this flavored rum might rely on a gimmick or chintzy flavor agent layered on a cheap rum substrate, think again. Here is a well-crafted five year old Bourbon cask blend with a hauntingly familiar infusion of cocoa that will trigger a comfort food memory from your past.

This is one of the few flavored rums that drinks like a sipping rum. While your palate expects sweetness, Selvarey Cacao rum delivers a rich aged rum profile at 70 proof with a highly compatible chocolate note that delights the senses, leading to a warm, medium dry finish. On the rocks, Selvarey Cacao rum opens up with accentuated tones of creamy vanilla and toasted oak, again without the expected sweetness.

Master Blender Don Pancho Fernandez took two decades to perfect his method for successfully infusing a fine aged rum with cacao. You might well agree the results were worth waiting for when you sample this delightful spirit.

Selvarey rums are created by Don Pancho in Panama using his antique copper stills. The rums are bottled and imported by Pacific Plate Spirits of California. The suggested list price of the white rum is $24.99 for the 750ml bottle; $28.99 for the cacao.

Robert Burr is the National Rum Examiner. He publishes Rob's Rum Guide and hosts the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival and Rum Renaissance Caribbean Cruise, in addition to organizing the International Rum Expert Panel (RumXP).

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