When you combine Dan DeHart’s Kentucky roots, his love for bourbon, and his relocation to Florida, you get Grander Panama Rum — a rum that’s distilled like a whiskey. DeHart always wanted to open a micro-distillery and envisioned a rum that was additive free and more suited to sipping than dumping in a blender. In his research, he found that most companies use sugar and coloring in their production and that the rums without additives didn’t have the taste he wanted.
The pieces fell into place when Dehart found San Carlos Distillery, owned by Alcoholes y Rones de Panama. F.J. Fernandez, one of the distillers, had been aging rum in barrels that previously held bourbon. The two teamed up and created a rum that was a blend of 8-year-old barrels and bottled at 90 proof. They named the rum Grander—after a Florida fishermen’s term for the elusive 1,000+ marlins. The rum is made from hand-harvested sugarcane in Panama, which is then turned into molasses with in-house developed yeast. The molasses is distilled in copper plated column stills and aged for eight years in oak bourbon barrels sourced from Kentucky. And, like DeHart always dreamed, there are no additives.
The final product has a spicy, oaky nose with hints of sweet vanilla. The taste is rich and oaky with hints of dried fruit, bourbon, and nutmeg with a mellow finish. Grander Panama Rum is currently available at select bars and retailers in Florida and Kentucky, but we hope distribution will spread so that we can get a taste of this unique spirit.