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Yolo Rum
Panama, USA

Yolo Rum – Worth Drinking More Than Once

Yolo – You Only Live Once.

Could there be a more fitting acronym/adage for our style of uncommon travel and/or the prevailing times in which we live?

Have the dessert. Buy the dress. Take the trip. Tomorrow’s not promised to anyone, so might as well live it up in the time we’ve got, right?

At the 2015 Miami Rum Renaissance Festival, I discovered a rum that in name posits itself as the tipple of choice for just such devil may care revelry.

Yolo Rum has roots in Panama, the brand among the latest popular expressions produced by Cuban master ronero, Don Pancho, he of Origenes, Selvarey, and Panamonte fame, to name a few. His name on the bottle is its own mark of quality. The look of the Yolo brand owners, though, gave me more than a little pause.

Panama hats, brightly-colored shirts festooned with all manner of tropical flowers, and an overall air of tiki made me a little nervous. Yes, this was a festival event, the kind where suppliers often go over-the-top to espouse their brand image. This motley crew from Denver, though, was putting forth an image so counter to the authentic West Indies we strive to celebrate that I almost gave Yolo a pass.

Good thing I didn’t.

Back then, Yolo Rum offered two expressions: Gold and Silver. (They launched a new Clear version earlier this year that I’ve yet to try.) The Silver could be nice for mixing, though it’s fairly nondescript; almost like vodka.

Yolo Gold, on the other hand, was worth sampling more than once for me.

Yolo Gold, Gold Medal Winner, 2015 Miami Rum Renaissance Festival
Yolo Gold, Gold Medal Winner, 2015 Miami Rum Renaissance Festival | SBPR

Like a lot of the rums coming out of Central America these days, Yolo Gold sits decidedly on the sweet side of flavor spectrum. It’s not so much as you can feel the cavities boring into your teeth as you consume it, as is the case with this super-sweet rum, but I could see how Yolo Gold might be a bit much for those super-sensitive to sweets.

Aged 10 years, Yolo Gold is plenty smooth for sipping, with a nice finish that’s heavy on the vanilla with very little burn. It’s solid, bordering on sophisticated, which, of course, very much flies in the face of the brand image embodied by the Denver crew.

After getting to know them a little over a few sips of Gold, I came to understand that their fashion, such as it was, was more about fun in the spirit of yolo than anything else.

Rum is typically fun, yes, but don’t let Yolo Gold fool you… She’s classier than she seems.


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