The GlenAllachie Distillers Company, led by industry veteran Billy Walker launched the very first rum trough their MacNair’s Spirit House. According to Billy Walker “Rum was an exciting prospect as, in a similar vein to whisky, it allows for greater scope of innovation and experimentation, particularly in regard to maturation.”
MacNair’s Spirit House was founded in order to pick and experiment with various spirits especially through ageing and blending in order to release unique small batch offerings. Billy Walker has almost 50 years of experience in the whisky industry and apparently now he’s looking to expand the use of his expertise in dealing with sugar cane distillates.
Their first rum range, dubbed MacNair’s Exploration Rum, hails from Panama and is comprised of two 7 years old and one 15 year old. I will be comparing the two 7 years old as I, very much sadly, broke the sample of the 15 year old one. The only difference between these rums are the casks used for the secondary maturation, one of them being finished in virgin oak, red wine and ex-Bourbon casks and the other, as the name suggests, finished in casks that previously held peated whiskies distilled by GlenAllachie.
So molasses based, column still distilled, aged in ex-Bourbon casks in Panama and then moved to The GlenAllachie Distillery in Speyside to undergo a secondary ageing for more than 2 years using ex-Bourbon, virgin oak and red wine casks, respectively ex-Peated Scotch casks. Bottled at 46% ABV without any additions or chill filtering, with the first one being limited to 3500 bottles released and the peated one having only 2400 out in the wild.
MacNair’s 7 Years Old Panama
On the nose feels fruity and woody. Red apples, blackberries, port, white grapes and ripe peaches. Burnt matches, charred oak, pink pepper, ginger ale and Luxardo cherries. Hints of peppermint and vanilla. It has a bourbon-ish profile.
On the palate it’s quite spicy. Dark chocolate, black pepper, cinnamon and a slight minerality. Raisins, sour cherries and sponge cake. Caramel, vanilla and cayenne pepper. There’s an enjoyable port note that follows throughout the tasting experience. Stone fruits, walnuts and charred oak. The finish is long with cacao nibs and biscuits.
This was very enjoyable, doesn’t happen often that I praise a Panamanian rum, but this is great and the casks influences really did their job by adding layers of flavours.
MacNair’s 7 Years Old Peated Panama
On the nose, besides the peat, it’s also pretty nutty. Roasted peanuts, walnuts, apple pie, barbeque smoke, cocoa butter and vanilla. Ground black pepper, black coffee, lemon zest and plums. The peat cask influence doesn’t seem to overpower the rum, but it is pretty obvious. Biscuits and a hint of smoked bacon.
On the palate it’s the pretty much the same as the nose. Peanut butter, smoked almonds, barbeque smoke and caramel. Melon, peaches, honey and black pepper. Cappuccino, milk chocolate and blackberries. The finish is long with peat smoke and peach yogurt.
Also really good, the peat cask adds really nutty flavours to the rum while not overpowering it with smoky notes.
Both rums are great, even if they are a little pricey (£42 for the 7 year and £46 for the 7 year peated), I was impressed how complex they are and you can almost literally taste the casks used in the maturation. My favourite was the 7 year old finished in the ex-Bourbon, virgin and red wine casks, I really enjoyed the fruity and spicy notes. The peated is also good, but my taste buds are not made for smokey flavour profiles unfortunately. Now I really wonder how that 15 year old would’ve tasted…
MacNair’s 7 Years Old Panama score:
Value for money: 14/15
MacNair’s 7 Years Old Peated Panama score:
Value for money: 12/15