Recently, I had the chance to sit down and experience a range of expressions of a rum I’ve seen becoming more and more embraced by the bartenders here in the UK. Flor de Caña, from Nicaragua, is perhaps a rum you’ve never had yourself, but I’m sure the packaging of the bottles are recognisable. Either way, lets dive in and check it all out.
Flor de Caña started life at the San Antonio Sugar Mill in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua back in 1890. The site of the first distillery, the company was founded by Francisco Alfredo Pellas, a name that is still attached to the company today by the fifth generation of the Pellas family. It wasn’t until 1937 though that Flor de Caña was formed, a separate entity within the distillery Compañía Licorera de Nicaragua, and had the ethos of producing and marketing rum. Once 1950 hit, Casa Pellas, which was founded by Don Carlos Francisco Pellas Vivas, began the commercial distribution of the Slow-Aged™ Rum in Nicaragua, showing off Flor de Caña to the masses of South America by 1959 and rallied by the release of Flor de Caña Añejo Clásico 5.
After some modernization of the distillery in 1963, the brand became internationally recognised for its consistency and profile, earning Compañía Licorera de Nicaragua to be the first rum producer in the world to obtain ISO 9000 certification of quality. The company has since earned environmentally friendly ISO 14000, HCAAP and Kosher certifications too. At the turn of the century, Rum Marketing International (RUMMI) Ltd. was founded in Miami, Florida to oversee the international expansion of Compañía Licorera de Nicaragua’s products, essentially taking Flor de Caña worldwide (it’s now available in over 50 countries). In celebration of the new Millennium too, Flor de Caña Centenario 21 Commemorative Edition was introduced.
I mentioned above about the Slow-Aged™ Rum method. Essentially this is a term that Flor de Caña is proud of as it sums up the natural elements to its ageing process for all of its expressions. Natural temperature and ventilation across all of its warehouses, whether new or old buildings, are consistently the same and never modernized (no air-conditioning for example). With the tropical climate, there is a higher risk of rum evaporation within the ex bourbon barrels, effectively known as The Angel’s Share. Flor de Caña see this as how nature intended, so they leave it be, despite losing a little more than in the maturation process than most rum producers would like.
So how does this natural effect fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on the core range –
Flor de Caña 4yr Extra Dry – 40%
Soft upon the nose, with light leather, coconut and vanilla notes coming through. Very light on the palate, soft with a thick texture of natural coconut flesh and vanilla, offering a short finish.
Flor de Caña 7yr – 40%
Honey notes on the nose, with caramel and light aromas of nut present. Very thin upon the palate, rather mellow, with a dry spice and a warm finish.
Flor de Caña 12yr – 40%
Honey, toffee and fudge notes combine on the nose, with clotted cream and soft stoned fruits present too. Thick cream texture on the palate, with butter and almond flavours offering a dry, lingering finish.
Flor de Caña 18yr – 40%
Rich, sweet fudge notes on the nose, with dark cocoa and fresh spice following. The palate enjoys a soft texture of coffee, caramel, treacle and tobacco, leaving a lively yet dry finish.
Flor de Caña 25yr – 40%
Soft spice, fudge and toffee flavours on the nose, with slight oak and almond aromas following. Coffee, raisin and prune flavours blend well on the palate, with slight maraschino cherry and dark chocolate kicks on the long finish.
Some fantastic expressions here, with the 12yr and 25yr the standouts for myself. But how about combining with other ingredients? Try one of these –
60 ml Flor de Caña Gran Reserva 7yr
25 ml Dubonnet Rouge
10 ml Benedictine
10 ml Cointreau
Stir all the ingredients within a mixing glass full of ice. Once chilled, pour into a wine glass and serve with a twist off orange peel.
An alternative serve to your usual rum cocktails, and one to try at home with the winter nights rolling in. Pick up a bottle for your cabinet, and look out for the expressions in your local bar as bartenders start to embrace the South American styles of rum!
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