Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Friday, April 26, 2013

Something about My Friend: Francisco "Don Pancho" Fernandez

Francisco "Don Pancho" Fernandez Perez.
    It is an honor to be able to call Don Pancho my friend.   This is a gentleman that has put his entire life into the betterment of rum as a category and the making of ultra premium rums.   His career spans some fifty years beginning in Cuba and today the pride on Panama's rum industry.

     His career began working with his father a wine and spirit merchant.   Don Pancho earned a degree in Microbiology in Cuba, but like so many of us, found that his passion for rum directed his life to follow a different path.  He was the drive behind the  creation of some of the finest rums in the world.   Working with Don Ramon Fernandez Corrales as a mentor, he learned the "Carta Blanca" method as a basis of creating aged rums used throughout the world today.  
He is also credited with the modernization of the Cuban rum industry while working for notable distilleries like Havana Club and Matusalem.   Known as the "Minister of Cuban Rum" and the "Director of the Cuban Beverage Industry", he was responsible for the training of the master blenders for distilleries around the world today.     He is also well versed in the art of whiskey, vodka and wines making as well.   The training of the "Maestros Roneros" in Cuba and the rest of the world owe the vast experience and passion of Don Pancho for the excellent rums that come from Cuba and many other places these days.  After 50 years of making rum and many international awards he is still in the prime of his creativity.


Olli Hietalahti, Don Pancho Fernandez and Carlos Esquivel
     After leaving Cuba he went to work for Verela Hermanos (Abuelo Rum) in the early 90's.  He became the Master Blender for Varela Hermanos, having a very big influence on the company's rum quality.   There he became very well known and an influence on the growth of the brand.  He also was reunited with his old friend Carlos Esquivel. 

     The discovery of an old distillery sitting in disrepair  just a few miles from the Valera Hermanos Distillery in Las Cabras de Pese, Herrera.    The renovation into one of the best distilleries of the world.  Today they are producing rum for 6 brands.   The latest of which is Don Pancho's own "Origenes Rums".   With names like Zafra, Panama Red, Panamonte, Debonaire, Casa Brava and Bohemio being made at PILSA with the watchful skills of Don Pancho and his long time friend and associate Carlos Esquivel the Las Cabras Distillery and Francisco "Don Pancho" Fernandez are only beginning to hit their stride and setting the standards for quality rums. ;o)