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Flor de Caña Gran Reserve 7-Year-Old Rum

Flor de Caña Gran Reserve
7-Year-Old Rum


By Robert Plotkin

Flor de Caña Gran Reserve 7-Year-Old Rum possesses every characteristic necessary to ignite the collective imagination. No learning curve necessary here. The rum is imported from an exotic locale, available in 8 different expressions, and most importantly, it's phenomenally delicious.

Introduced in 1937, Flor de Caña (Spanish for "sugarcane flower") has grown into the bestselling brand of rum in Central America. It's made at the family-owned Compañia Licorera de Nicaragua in Chichigalpa—about 120km from Managua. Flor de Caña rums are handcrafted from estate-grown sugar cane, which is rendered down into high-grade molasses and distilled in continuous stills.

An essential distinction between Flor de Caña and other brands of rum occurs after distillation. Ironically, it involves the distillery doing things exactly as they have been since 1893. The rum is aged in charred American white oak barrels used previously to age bourbon. The casks are stored in barrelhouses that are purposely without air conditioning, electrical ventilation or humidifiers. The often oppressive climate in Nicaragua creates a most advantageous environment in which to mature rum. Spirits mellow more rapidly in the heat and humidity than they do in the cool temperate weather in, say, Ireland or the Scottish highlands.

Another difference is that Flor de Caña does not blend rums of various ages together or use additives to accelerate maturation. Each marque is aged for the exact amount of time stated on its label.

Among the key performers in the range is Flor de Caña Gran Reserve, a 7-year-old rum that well deserves its global reputation for excellence. It has a dark amber/mahogany hue, a voluptuous body and a generous, semisweet bouquet of vanilla, caramel and molasses. The aromatics alone are worth the price of admission. The rum has a gentle entry that quickly fills the mouth with a balanced offering of plums, roasted almonds and pure dark chocolate with a hint of smoky oak. The finish is long and satisfying.

Flor de Caña Extra Dry 4-Year-Old Gold Rum perennially makes the list of best spirit values. It's an exceptional rum marketed at a modest price. It has an enticing golden hue, an oily medium-weight body and spicy chocolate aromas. The soft entry quickly bathes the palate with vanilla, caramel, dark chocolate and citrus flavors. It finishes long, dry and flavorful.

Flor de Caña Extra Dry 4-Year-Old White Rum is equally brilliant. The rum is barrel aged for 4 years and then filtered prior to bottling to remove its oak-induced color. The crystal clear rum has a lightweight body and a wafting floral and baking spice bouquet. The rum's clarity and lavish array of flavors make it an inspired choice for use in cocktails and tall drinks.

Award-winning Flor de Caña Centenario 12-Year-Old is a blend of continuous-distilled rums aged in small charred American oak barrels for a minimum of 12 years. The red/amber rum has an oily, medium-weight body and a generous bouquet of spice, caramel and toasted oak. Its gently warming palate is saturated with the bakery-like flavors of almonds, molasses, caramel and chocolate. The extended finish is smooth and luxurious.

The flagship of the range is the ultra-sophisticated Flor de Caña Centenario 18-Year-Old. Described by the distillery as a more intense and complex version of the 12-Year-Old Centenario, the copper colored rum has a voluptuous body and an alluring semisweet bouquet. It quickly fills the mouth with the long lasting flavors of dark chocolate, caramel, vanilla and roasted nuts.

If you're a fan of skillfully crafted spirits and have yet to sample the rums of Flor de Caña, consider your education incomplete. Fortunately, you don't need an over-stuffed wallet or student loans to finish your schooling. Salud!