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Flor de Caña 12 Centenario

Review: Flor de Caña 12 Centenario   (91.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
February 02, 2018

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.

Flor de Caña 12 is part of  the company’s Ultra Premium aged rum collection. 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. According to the folks at Flor de Caña this aged spirit is suitable for sipping as well as for cocktails.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

Flor de Caña 12 arrives in a squat rectangular (almost flask shape) bottle. This bottle is quite a step up from the medium tall rectangular bottle used for the rum’s in FDC’s premium and super premium collection which implies that there is a big jump in quality as we go from the Flor de Caña 7 to the Flor de Caña 12.

The label has nice pop both because of its great colour scheme with easy to read lettering and bold fonts s well as due to the irregular shape of the label which adds elegance to the presentation. The stylish bottle adds pop to my rum shelf and when I open the bottle for guests the corked topped closure adds even another layer of excitement to the occasion.

The only detriment is that the label design does not contain a definitive age statement. The label implies the rum is 12 years old, however this is (according to my sources at FDC) an averaged age for the rums in the blend not a statement regarding the youngest rum in the blend.

In the Glass 9/10

When poured into my glencairn, the rum displays itself as a copper coloured spirit. When I tilt and twirl my glass I see a slightly thickened liquid sheen on the inside which slowly releases a multitude of leglets which turn to midsized legs which run back down to the spirit at the bottom of the glass.

When I inspect the breezes above the glass I receive a nice mixture of rum-like caramel and butterscotch scents mingling with fine oak spice, orange peel and baking spices (vanilla and cinnamon with light impressions of cloves and nutmeg). The breezes above the glass are enriched by firm scents of crushed walnut shells and pecans, bits of cola and chocolate. A few raisins and bits of dry fruit seem to make their way into the warm collection of aromas as well. I find the nose inviting.

In the Mouth 55/60

The aromatic sensations in the breezes translate well through the palate as the rum demonstrates both balance and complexity as I sip it. I taste a nice mixture of treacle and caramel, flavours of oak and wood spice, an underlying presence of pecans and walnuts, and a very nice mixture of baking spices (vanilla, hints of cinnamon and clove, and bits of allspice). That orange peel I noticed in the air above the glass seems to have moved to a flavour impression of orange marmalade, and if you search for them, there are ample flavours of dark chocolate, espresso coffee and even cola which permeate the rum.

The rum is definitely a step up from the Flor de Caña 7 with the complexity and balance I would expect from a sipping rum. It is lightly on the dry side of the fence with a light oaken spiciness which puckers the mouth somewhat making it receptive to a second sip and then a third. When I add a drop of ice into my glass, the rum begins to ooze firmer dark chocolate and coffee flavours which is an added treat.

In the Throat 13.5/15

This is a medium bodied, column distilled rum, and the flavours within the rum linger for only a short while upon the palate before they vanish down the throat. This makes the exit clean and crisp, although traces of chocolate and baking spices seem to last just a little longer than the spice and caramel. There is no burn only a refreshing burst of oak spice after the rum is swallowed.

The Afterburn (9.5/10)

Flor de Caña 12 is one of those rums which gives us the best of both worlds. It is, on its own, a fine sipping rum which can be served with or without ice. Yet it also has such a reasonable price point in my locale (about $40.00/bottle) that you can with no guilt also mix high end cocktails or even serve it with a pinch of soda or cola depending upon your own personal preference.

It is a staple of my rum shelf, It should be a staple of yours.

If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.


Suggested Recipe:

The recipe I am presenting here is based loosely upon an old cocktail recipe I found in Leo Engels 1878 book, American and Other Drinks. In his book, Leo simply calls the recipe a Rum Cocktail.

1878 Rum Cocktail

1878 Rum Cocktail

2 oz Flor de Caña 12
2 dashes of Orange Curacao
1 dash of Bitters (Fees Whiskey Aged Cocktail Bitters)
2 dashes of Sugar Syrup
strip of Orange Peel

Fill a metal shaker 1/3 full of ice
Add 2 dashes of Orange Curacao and Sugar Syrup followed by a dash of Angostura Bitters
Add Aged FDC Rum
Shake and strain into a suitable glass
Add ice and a strip of orange peel

Enjoy Responsibly!

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


You may (loosely) interpret the scores 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.)


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