Flor de Caña 5 (Añejo Clasico)
Review: Flor de Caña 5 (Añejo Clasico) (84.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted September 06, 2015
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.
Last year, the entire Flor de Caña line-up received a make-over with splashy new bottle designs. Part of this redesign was the elimination of definitive age statements upon the new bottles and labels. Last year, when I corresponded with the company, they indicated that they wanted to modernize the bottle presentation; but it was maintained that no changes to the overall flavour profile of their rums has occurred.
In the Bottle 4/5
The Flor de Caña 5 (Añejo Clasico) arrives in a medium tall rectangular bottle. These bottles are designed to allow companies to ship bottles more efficiently by packing more volume into a rectangular shipping case. As well as being ergonomic, the bottle is 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 label as printed certainly seems to imply that the rum should be considered a 5-year-old spirit as its predecessor was. Printed on the label quite prominently is a large number 5 accompanied by the words ‘slow aged’. I find this rather deceptive (whether this deception was intended or not) as the label as printed does not conform to the current labeling standards required for it to be considered a definitive age statement for this rum (see What is Rum?). This means that although an age is implied by the label, there is no requirement that the implied age be the actual age of any of the rum in the bottle.
As well, the bottle closure is now a metallic pressed on cap rather than the plastic twist cap of the previous version of the rum. Pressed on metallic caps are inferior to plastic caps. They are subject to warping and easily lose their thread. Although I like the fresh look the new bottle and label bring forward, I feel the inferior closure and the undefined age statement make this presentation a step down from the previous bottle and label design.
In the Glass 8.5/10
When I poured a sample of the Flor de Caña 5 (Añejo Clasico) into my glass, I noted that the rum displayed the colour of a spirit which has just began that turn from amber towards copper. When I tilted my glass and gave it a slow twirl, the resulting sheen on the inside of my glass was slightly thickened, and the crest dropped thickened leglets which moved slowly back into the rum. The initial scents represent a pleasing caramel scent rising up tainted with bits of tobacco and fine oak spices.
As the glass sits, the caramel and oak spice combine bringing me indications of toffee and baking spices (primarily nutmeg and vanilla with hints of cinnamon). I noticed bits or orange peel and marmalade, as well as a ribbon of corn whisky. A light musty grassiness winds through the rum, and I also noticed vague nutty accents which reminded me of almond and walnut.
All in all, this is a pleasant rum to nose. It is perhaps a touch lighter than the previously reviewed age stated 5-year-old version of the rum (as that light grassiness would indicate); yet it is also perhaps a touch more complex as I seem to be able to glean more complex baking spices than my previous review indicated.
In the Mouth 51/60
The Flor de Caña 5 is a light bodied ‘Spanish style’ rum with a clean dry mouth-feel. There is a little bitterness at the front of the delivery, however this dry bitterness is quickly chased away by a light butterscotch and vanilla sweetness. Peppery wood spices and orange peel mingle with the butterscotch sweetness and I also taste a touch of almond rounding out the flavour. The complexity I found on the nose has not translating completely to the rum across the palate, nevertheless I find the rum quite pleasant. With an ice-cube added to the glass, it is an acceptable sipper.
Having said that, I would suggest that I would be much more inclined to treat the new Flor de Caña 5 as a high-end mixer. To that end I reached for some cola and some lime and mixed myself a Cuba Libre (see recipe below). The result was (as expected) delicious. Flor de Caña rums have always been among my favourites as rum and cola mixers and this rum is no different. I also decided to mix a daiquiri style cocktail (see recipe below). Again the results were very good, and in fact, I have come to the conclusion that this year’s bottle of Flor de Caña 5 is a slightly superior mixer than the 5 Year Old ‘age stated’ version I tried and reviewed last year. (See that review here.)
In the Throat 12.5/15
A touch of maple appears just after the rum is swallowed. The light rum has a relatively clean finish with traces of butterscotch and fine oak spice mingling with dry grassy tobacco. The oak spices and the dry grassiness works very well in daiquiri style cocktails.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
The Flor de Caña 5 (Añejo Clasico) is a pleasant aged rum. I noticed subtle changes between this version and the age stated version I sampled last year; however, I think it would be fair to say that these differences have not deterred my enjoyment. I certainly hope that this high quality is maintained going forward.
The Flor de Caña 5 (Añejo Clasico) is a good rum which works as a sipper over ice, but works better as a delicious cocktail mixer.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
2 oz Flor de Caña 5 (Añejo Clasico)
1/2 oz Orange Curacao
3/4 oz fresh Lime Juice
3/4 oz fresh Lemon Juice
1 oz sugar syrup (1:1 ratio)
Add the first five ingredients into a metal cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the sides of the shaker frost
Strain into a cocktail glass
Add a Lemon Slice for garnish
(the classic Rum and Coke recipe)
1 1/2 oz. light Flor de Caña 5 (Añejo Clasico)
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
Note: If you are interested in more cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more mixed drink recipes!
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)