Flor de Caña (Añejo Clasico) 5 Year Old Rum
Review: Flor de Caña (Añejo Clasico) 5 Year Old Rum (85/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted January 09, 2014
Flor de Caña has a history of rum production which is dated to 1890 at the San Antonio Sugar Mill, in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua. The company was founded by Francisco Alfredo Pellas and today, over 120 years later, the company is led headed by the fifth generation of the Pellas family. It has grown to be not only one of Central America’s leading brands of rum, it is also one of the most recognized rum brands in the world. According to the company website, all of the Flor de Caña rum is produced from molasses which is made from sugar cane harvested in fields adjacent to the distillery in Chichigalpa. This molasses is fermented and then distilled five times in a continuous column still. The resulting distillate is laid down to age in small American white oak barrels in traditional aging warehouses built without air conditioning in an undisturbed environment.
The subject of this review, Flor de Caña 5 Year Old Rum, is meant for sipping over ice, or for enjoying in fine cocktails and mixed drinks. I was given a bottle for review by the local distributor, The Kirkwood Group, who distribute the Flor de Caña rums in Alberta.
In the Bottle 4.5/5
The Flor de Caña 5-year-old Black Label rum (and indeed the entire Flor de Caña line-up) has recently been given a face-lift with a new bottle, a slightly changed name, and a new label design. The medium tall bottleshown to the left is the bottle design which is being phased out. It was designed to allow the company to ship bottles more efficiently by packing more volume into a rectangular shipping case. As well as being ergonomic, this bottle was also designed to be functional. It fits easily on the bartender’s shelf, is easy to grab hold of, and is easy for that aforementioned bartender to pour into a glass or cocktail making the rum very accessible to the bar trade. The plastic cap is easy to open, and again those bartenders who want to pour drinks fast and furiously are kept happy.
The new bottle (see photo below and to the right) retains its rectangular shape, and thus has all the advantages of the old design; however, the new bottle and the new label have a more modern, sleek and sexy appearance. The words ‘Black Label‘ have been dropped in favour of the new branding ‘Añejo Clasico‘. The rum has not retained its definitive 5 year age statement.
I like the new design, it has a bit of a ‘wow’ factor and will look great on my rum shelf when the new bottles reach my market here in Alberta.
Note: According to my correspondence with the distillery, All the Flor de Caña Rums have maintained the same formula as used in the past. The company has made changes to the image and presentation, but have not made any changes to their rum’s flavour profiles.
In the Glass 8.5/10
When I poured a sample of the Flor de Caña 5 Year Old rum into my glass, I noted the rum displayed a slightly darkened gold colour with a pleasing butterscotch/caramel scent rising up firmly tainted with fine oak spices. When I tilt my glass and give the rum a slow twirl, the resulting sheen on the inside of my glass is slightly thickened, and it drops moderately sized, slow-moving legs back down into the rum.
As the glass sits, the caramel scents deepen and combine with that oak spice which brings a more defined toffee-like aroma into the breezes above the glass. There are also light baking spices present (primarily nutmeg and vanilla), some orange peel accents as well as a light nuttiness which resembles freshly crushed walnuts and pecans. I seem to recognize a light indication of corn whisky within the aroma, no doubt a remnant of the American oak bourbon barrels used to age the rum.
This is very a pleasant rum to nose; it is perhaps not as complex as the previously reviewed 7-year-old Flor de Caña; but as a rum meant for premium cocktails it appears to have a lot to offer.
In the Mouth 51/60
The rum is clean as it enters the mouth with a light bodied mouth-feel. The caramel notes I noticed when I nosed the glass have combined well with the oak spices giving this rum the lightly spicy flavour of butterscotch toffee. There are firm indications of vanilla as well as impressions of maple, nutmeg, orange peel and mushy banana. Some green tobacco, a touch of sandalwood, and the light bitterness of fresh walnut rounds out the flavour profile which remains pleasant, and (if I am honest with myself) seems to be begging me to mix with cola in a Cuba Libre’.
I gave into temptation quite easily, and the resulting bar drink was very tasty indeed! Although I had no trouble sipping the Flor De Caña 5 Year Old over ice, I enjoyed the Cuba Libre’ much more. The rum seems to be as advertised; it can be sipped over ice, or enjoyed in cocktails and mixed drinks.
In the Throat 12.5/15
The rum has a nice clean finish which baths the palate and tonsils in fine oak spice, but which also leaves nice trailing flavours of butterscotch toffee and light traces of vanilla to be enjoyed. The lingering spiciness is particularly appealing.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
The Flor de Caña 5 Year Old is a very pleasant indulgence. It seems to find that sweet spot between mixer and sipper which makes the spirit very versatile as an everyday rum. On those days when a sipping experience is wanted, a touch of ice is all that is required to bring enjoyment to the glass, and those days when a tall thirst quenching bar drink fits the mood, a Cuba Libre’ made with the 5-year-old rum is hard to beat.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
(the classic Rum and Coke recipe)
1 1/2 oz. light Flor de Caña 5 Year Old
4 to 6 oz Coca Cola
3 -4 Large Ice Cubes
Rub the rim of a standard rocks glass or highball glass with lime
Squeeze the lime over the glass to release some juice into the drink and fill with the glass with ice
Add Rum and fill with Coca Cola
Drop in the lime wedge and stir lightly
My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score as follows:
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)