When it comes to spirits, rum is by far the biggest “undiscovered” category. There are so many exceptional rums being produced around the world, and consumers have access to only a very small fraction of them. Increasingly, we’re seeing businesses pop up focused on bringing some of this quality rum to store shelves. Some of these rum companies act like curators, like Plantation Rum, buying rum from a variety of locales, aging them, and then bottling them under the Plantation brand. Others, like Parce Rum, work with an individual distiller or blenders to create a rum customized for their brand.
As with many merchant spirits, the story behind Parce is a little convoluted. While it’s considered a “Colombian rum”, Parce is actually distilled in Panama by Varela Hermanos at the Destilería Don José. It is shipped to Armenia, Colombia for aging, blending, and bottling. The company has begun some small scale distillation in Colombia, and intends to transition its operations over the next few years. Origin story aside, what’s more important is what’s in the bottle.
Parce 8 Year Old Colombian Rum (40%, $40) – dark gold in color, this rum has a notably sweet nose with brown sugar, caramel, toffee, cocoa powder, and fig. These sweet notes are well counterbalanced with an oak spice which is tightly integrated in the nose.
The entry for Parce 8 Year Old Rum is expressive, with brown sugar, dried cherry, vanilla, and oak. As we move towards the midpalate, we get a little sense of some added sugar. It’s not egregious, but it’s there and has a minor impact on the mouthfeel, which is otherwise solid.
In the midpalate the oak becomes more pronounced and is joined by black pepper and clove. The midpalate is much spicier than you’d expect from the nose, and it helps create a nice journey from the sweet opening to a solidly spicy midpalate. In the midpalate a distinct cocoa powder note emerges that’s quite pleasant and lingers through the finish beyond the spice.
Parce has done a good job with their 8 year old rum creating an flavor experience that’s affable but not singular. The sweet nose draws you in, and then on the palate you’re given a nice mix of flavors with a solid balance of sweet and spice. The finish is the real star, though, and the cocoa powder note is a really nice conclusion to really enjoyable rum. 87 points.
Parce 12 Year Old Colombian Rum (40%, $60) – medium amber in color, the nose for the Parce 12 year old rum is a lot less effusive than the 8 year old. This isn’t a bad thing, as it invites exploration, which is rewarded with some nice aromas of toasted marshmallow, caramel, molasses, walnut, and soft oak.
The entry for the Parce 12 year old rum is also much softer and less effusive than the 8 year old rum. It opens with vanilla extract, brown sugar, and molasses. The entry is a little understated, which could have been an issue were it not for the remarkable turn the rum takes in the midpalate.
In the midpalate the Parce 12 really unfolds – it’s almost a “ta-da” after the understated opening. Here is a wonderful mix of the sweet notes from the opening including the brown sugar and molasses, along with allspice, oak, and black pepper. What’s really entrancing in the midpalate is the morphing of the molasses note from the opening. Here the molasses intensifies and you get both the sweet part of its character along with the more funky and charred elements.
After it’s presented this molasses symphony, the midpalate turns spicy with black pepper, oak, and clove. It’s a solid turn towards an excellent presentation of spice. The integration between the spice notes and the underlining sweet notes is spot on, and the subtle funk and char from the molasses serving as a bridge between the two.
The finish for Parce 12 Year Rum is long, spicy, and slightly dry. It maintains both the black pepper and oak spice from the midpalate with the sweet and dark notes from the molasses.
Parce 12 Year Rum has tremendous crossover potential, and its flavor experience, including its stellar sweet and spicy finish, should definitely appeal to American Whiskey drinkers. 92 points.
Parce has done an excellent job of delivering two solid rums to the American market. Both these rums do a good job of balancing sweet and spice, and both these rums have something special to say on the finish. The most exciting thing about Parce Rum is that it shows the kind of gems which exist out there in the Rum market. With rums like these, it won’t be long before more drinkers catch on to the fact that Rum is indeed one of the the greatest undiscovered spirt category.