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Appleton 12 Vs Flor De Cana 12 vs El Dorado 12

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 1, 2020

Last night I hosted a New Years Eve Celebration for my friends and family. Nothing too outrageous, just a nice get together with about 20 attendees, some new friends, and some old friends. Most of the night was just sitting around the table swapping stories and reminiscing and the only scheduled activities were the two separate tastings I hosted in my brand new Tasting room that I had built last year in my basement.

Participating in the tastings was completely optional, some of my guest were acting as designated drivers, and some just wanted to hang out and relax enjoying each others company rather than sitting down for a formal tasting. This meant that when we sat down for the Rum Tasting at 9:00, there were 9 of my friends who wanted to participate. (This actually worked out pretty well as I only had room around my tasting table for 10 people.)

New Year’s Eve Rum Tasting in the Rum Howler Tasting Room

I chose three of my favourite rums for the event, Appleton Estate Rare Blend 12 Year Old, Flor de Caña 12 Centenario, and El Dorado 12 Year Old. All three rums are pretty much the same age, and all three are in the same price range in my market (about 45 dollars per bottle). However, they are three very different rums.

Appleton Estate 12 Year Old is crafted in small batches. The rum produced from two different styles of rum, flavourful Jamaican Pot Still Rum, and a light column distilled rum. The rum is dry and full of flavour. This is also a true 12 Year Old spirit as the Appleton Estate website informs us that it all of the rums which make up this blend are each aged at least 12 years.

Sunset in the Nassau Valley home of Appleton Estate Rum

Flor de Caña 12 Centenario is a column distilled rum. This means it has a lighter body and flavour than a rum featuring pot distilled spirit in its blend. The number 12 on the label is representative of the average age of the rums in the blend with some variation in the actual age based upon blending to a consistent flavour profile. It is also somewhat sweeter than the Appleton Rum. It is not a sweet rum mind you, but there is some sweetness apparent in the flavour profile.

Flor de Caña 12 is part of the company’s Ultra Premium aged rum collection

El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve Rum is similar to the Appleton rum in that it has both Pot distilled rum and column distilled rum in its blend.Aged stocks (the youngest being no less than 12 years old) from the original Wooden Enmore Coffey still, the original metal Diamond Coffey still, as well as from the ancient Port Mourant double wooden pot still which was used to produce ‘navy’ rum for the English Admiralty are each used in the blending recipe.  However, the El Dorado Rum is quite a bit sweeter than either the Flor de Cana or the Appleton Rum.

That’s me in Guyana where I visited the El Dorado Rum facilities and learned about their wonderful rums.

Thus the line-up I chose gave each of my guests a different flavour profile and a different level of sweetness with each selection. My goal was to show everyone that rum in not a uniform spirit, and by tasting all three, and comparing the profiles each of them might find a style that suits them.

The results were (as I expected) quite varied, 5 of my guests selected the Flor de Caña 12 Centenario as their favourite, 3 chose the El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve and 2 chose the Appleton Estate Rare Blend 12 Year Old.

Interestingly enough, the 2 who chose the Appleton Rum were the 2 seasoned rum enthusiasts, or perhaps I should say, the two in the room who had the most experience with rum. Of the 3 who chose the El Dorado Rum, 2 of them were completely new to the spirit. The 5 who chose the Flor de Cana Rum represented a blend of both rum enthusiasts and persons who were not unfamiliar with the spirit but who might normally choose whisky instead.

With only 10 persons in the room it is hard to draw conclusions, but the trend I saw was that persons new to rum preferred the sweeter South American style, persons who might be whisky enthusiasts or part time rum enthusiasts preferred the lighter Central American style, and self avowed rum enthusiasts seemed to prefer the full flavoured dry Jamaican style.

These results are interesting although with such a small sample size they are hardly conclusive. Still I thought that sharing them was worthwhile.





5 Responses to “Appleton 12 Vs Flor De Cana 12 vs El Dorado 12”

  1. Chris Anderson said

    I just bought these three rums and I can relate to your findings. The El Dorado goes down without the burn of the Appleton and the Flor is somewhere in between, but with some added complexity compared to the El Dorado. I can see why seasoned rum drinkers would choose the Appleton, simply because the others might seem too “accessible”. I agree. The Appleton has some bite that the other two don’t.

    Love your blog, thanks for the post!

  2. radosuaf said

    An interesting read. I have to say, the more I taste, the more I lean towards more dry rums. While I found Zacapa 23 one of my favourites a few years ago, nowadays it’s just too sweet…

  3. Shane Fisher said

    This would be like a track day comparing Ferraris, Lamborghinis and McLarens. Great fun and no losers in the bunch. Nice story…..gatherings are a treat as much as the rum.

  4. Peter Castermans said

    Over the years I also evolved from Spanish style rums to English style rums. Appleton estate 12y became one of my favourites, the same for Mount Gay xo.
    A few weeks ago I tasted a Zacapa for the first time and I was disappointed. To honey dominated too much for me.
    I think I stick to those two above for a while supplemented with Diplomatico. Although it is a Spanish style rum I like it very much due to is richness of aroma and flavour.

  5. Jim Weaver said

    Your compared rum tasting was very interesting, I could drink in more of this type of messaging. Thanks Jim

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