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Review: Flor de Caña Centenario 18

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 7, 2016

fdc-18Flor 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.

Recently, the entire Flor de Caña line-up has received a make-over with splashy new bottle designs. Part of this redesign was the elimination of a definitive age statement upon the new labels. Correspondence with the company indicates that the Company wanted to modernize the bottle presentation; but they maintain that no changes to the flavour profile of their rums has occurred. Further persistence on my part has revealed however that the age profile of their rums has indeed changed. Coinciding with the bottle modernization was a new blending regimen. In the previous iteration of the Flor de Caña Centenario 18 Year Old Rum, the entire contents of the bottle were stated to be a minimum of 18 years old. The new bottling however, the Flor de Caña Centenario 18 is now blended to an average age of 18 years. It is a subtle, but meaningful difference which strongly implies that the brand is across the board is younger than it was before.

I decided that it would not be a bad idea to investigate the newest iteration, and I shall begin the review with a brand new bottle of Flor de Caña Centenario 18.

Here is a link to my first new Rum Review of 2016:

Review: Flor de Caña Centenario 18

“… This is a clean dry rum displaying a strong fine oak spice personality. This spicy personality is tempered slightly with mild indications of butterscotch accenting the oak spice. There is a lightly bitter flavour of poplar sap and tobacco keeping the mouth dry and heated. As I let the rum breathe the butterscotch sweetness grows slightly in intensity providing a nice foil for the dry spicy bitterness. I can taste a ribbon of orange peel and vanilla and a growing impression of marzipan …”

Please enjoy my review!


6 Responses to “Review: Flor de Caña Centenario 18”

  1. tendrella said

    Thank you for this review. I have been seriously exploring rums since the summer, and your reviews have been a great help. I just bought this today, along with my second bottle of Angostura 1919. Thanks for all your great info!

  2. Rob S. said

    I think that distillers and the public both tend to excessively fixate on age statements. The age of a rum isn’t necessarily indicative of its maturity, or its quality. I’d like to see more companies dispense with them altogether. I agree that Flor de Cana should just drop the numbers from the label.

    • Lance R. said

      I’m going to have to disagree with you here, Rob

      There’s a reason we “fixate” on age. The age of a rum IS indicative of its maturity. And it’s one of the few markers we as consumers have that allows us to buy something and be at least reasonably assured of some level of quality in the rum we are considering for the price.

      Take that away and what have you got to go on? Some arcane family formula? A fancy finishing regime? Different names for different blends (“Thunder 12 cane”, “Nicarita 5-blend” to make up just two) but which ultimately tell the consumer little or nothing?

      For what it’s worth I agree that that age is no true indicator of quality (I’ve tried some spectacular sub-ten-year-old rums)…but most of the time it is. And I’d rather have more information on the rum I’m buying, not less, especially when it impacts the price I pay and the knowledge of its provenance that I want.

      • Rob S. said

        I was more referring to misleading or vague age statements when I suggested dispensing with them, Lance. I’d really like to see a standard set where any age statement must denote the youngest rum in the blend (like most other rum consumers, I suppose). And I completely agree that more information and transparency is certainly not a bad thing. I appreciate when a company – like Cruzan, for example – provides a specific minimum age for the rums in a blend. I enjoy young rums, but I wouldn’t want to pay a premium price for them either.

        • One of the problems the consumer faces is that they do not know or understand the rules and regulations regarding age statements. (Nor should they be expected to.) The regulations in the USA state:

          If age is stated, it shall be substantially as follows: “__ years old”; the blank to be filled in with the age of the youngest distilled spirits in the product.

          Later in the regulations it states:

          … the use of the word “old” or other word denoting age, as part of the brand name, shall not be deemed to be an age representation

          Unfortunately this has led spirits companies to believe that as long as they do not use the exact guideline: “__ years old” the door is open to making any manner of vague claims which the consumer (unless they have taken the time to research the rules) have no reasonable ability to interpret. Hence “Solera Aged 12” in the consumer’s mind means a 12 year old spirit which has undergone some sort of exotic aging process. Unfortunately the statement has no meaning legally, and nothing in the bottle need be aged for any specific length of time.

          Whiskey companies contrary to what some believe engage in this type of practice too. The George Dickel Whisky which I referred to earlier, has a prominent number 12 on the neck of its bottle in exactly the same place than many other whisky companies place their age statements. Only if you read the fine print beside the lable is it clear that the number is just that, a number with no meaning at all with respect to age. They know that many people (especially someone who just wants to buy a nice gift for their wife or husband) will not read the fine print.

          The problems are exacerbated by retail merchants who ‘pretend’ that these are real age statements and prominently place a real age statement on the shelf under the bottle.

          The whole mess should be cleaned up.

          • Rob S. said

            My stepson purchased me a bottle of Matusalem Gran Reserva 15 for Christmas, when he couldn’t find the El Dorado 15. The store employee had suggested it to him as an alternative, so he was under the impression that it was a 15 year old rum. I’m certainly not complaining -the Matusalem is a very nice rum- but it serves to demonstrate how these small details can muddle things a bit.

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