Flor de Caña 7 Gran Reserva (No Age Statement)
Review: Flor de Caña 7 Gran Reserva (87/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted September 11, 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 they maintained that no changes to the flavour profile of their rums has occurred.
I recently obtained a bottle of their Flor de Caña 7 (Gran Reserva), and I have decided to how the rum has progressed.
In the Bottle 4/5
As indicated, the Flor de Caña 7 arrives in a medium tall rectangular bottle (see left). These bottles are designed to allow the spirits company to ship bottles more efficiently by packing more volume into a rectangular shipping case. As well as being ergonomic, this 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 new label design does not contain a definitive age statement. 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 the rum into my glencairn glasses I noticed that the rum carried a rich copper colour which was a shade darker than the previously reviewed Flor de Caña 5 (Añejo Clasico).
When I took a sniff from the breezes above the glass, I noticed scents of caramel toffee accented by yummy baking spices (nutmeg, vanilla and cinnamon) as well as nutty aromas which reminded me of pecans and walnuts. There were also some hints of darker fruit (raisins and dates) as well as some treacle, bittersweet chocolate and orange peel rising into the air. The was a light grassy astringency which rose into the air as well. This light grassiness seems to be a feature which has crept into the Flor de Cana flavour profile over the last few years.
In the Mouth 52.5/60
The flavour profile of the Flor de Caña 7 Gran Reserva features a ribbon of bittersweet chocolate complimented by vanilla, dark caramel treacle and baking spices (nutmeg and cinnamon) with the nuttiness of walnuts and pecans laying underneath. There is a firm presence of oak, and within the wood spices are traces of oak sap and hints of green tobacco. The rum is very good neat, and with a well placed ice-cube it becomes an excellent sipper.
I had a bottle of the older version of the rum, the Flor de Caña 7 Year Old Grand Reserve, and when I compared the flavour of the two rums from each bottle, the differences were subtle. I would say that the older version (shown to the right) was just a little smoother and featured stronger impressions of chocolate and cola in the flavour profile.
In the Throat 13/15
If not for a light hint of astringency in the finish I would have scored the new Flor de Caña 7 Gran Reserva have a notch higher. The finish is crisp with ebbing bittersweet chocolate flavours mixed with oak spices. Brown sugar and baking spices linger for a little while, and then they re-appear if you give your empty glass a sniff.
The Afterburn 9/10
I have been extremely critical of Flor de Caña with respect to their new rum labels. I find the new labels deceptive as they appear to strongly hint at a specific age of spirit within the bottle, however , based upon the wording of the label, the company has no obligation to fulfill that implied promise.
Having said that, I should also like to make the point that the Flor de Caña 7 Gran Reserva is still a great rum. It has character and a depth of flavour which works well whether it is sipped or whether it is mixed into a cocktail. It shall continue to be a fixture upon my rum shelf.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
Rum Old Fashioned
2 oz Flor de Caña 7 Gran Reserva
1 tsp simple syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Fees Cocktail Bitters
3 large ice cubes
1 twist of orange peel
Add the first four ingredients to a rocks glass over the ice cubes
Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink. (This will release the oil from the orange zest into the drink)
Drop the peel into the cocktail if desired.
Please 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!
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)