Review: Mezan Chiriqui

Mezan came to be in 2012 and market themselves as “unaltered” and “untouched” meaning that all the rums they bottle are free of any additives such as caramel colouring or sweeteners. They do not produce rum, but they source rum from various other producers which usually aged both in the tropical and continental climates.

They have 3 collections, the permanent, the vintage and the single cask one with Mezan Chiriqui being part of the permanent range alongside their Mezan XO as continuous releases. The offering is named after the Chiriqui province located in the west of Panama bordering Costa Rica, as the distillate itself is of Panamanian origin. The label features tropical plants and is inspired by indigenous Panamanian art, giving it a “spicy” vibe – as someone described it to me the other day.

Some press releases online say that the rum is molasses based and it comes from a distillery in Panama that cultivates its own sugar cane and cultivates its own yeast, and while no distillery names are actually given, I will make an educated guess and assume it was made at Varela Hermanos – I might be wrong though.

So molasses based, multi-column distilled and aged for an unspecified amount of time in second-fill American white oak and finished in former Portugese Moscatel Casks. Bottled at 40% ABV without any adulteration or chill-filtering.

On the nose feels rich and spicy. Ground coffee, caramel, sweet chilli, wood spices and dusty cardboard. Floral honey, saffron, ginger and a slight mineral note. Some milk chocolate and cayenne pepper as well. Seems fairly complex for a multi-column spirit so far.

On the palate is pretty light. Vanilla, black coffee, cayenne pepper, nutmeg and ginger beer. Cocoa powder, caramel and a faded grassy note. Honey, red apples, plums, cinnamon and some oak influence. It isn’t as full and rich as the nose promised. The finish is short to medium with black pepper and caramel.

A bit of spice, a bit of sweetness, a bit of wood and a bit of fruit. Not a stand-out offering, it’s pretty light-bodied, dare I even say a bit boring. Not bad, but I had better rum from Panama, although for just £32 could be a decent dram for people who enjoy the likes of Havana 7.

Mezan Chiriqui score:
Flavour/taste: 46/70
Value for money: 14/15
Transparency/purity: 14/15
Overall: 74/100


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