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Flor De Caña Centenario 18

Review: Flor de Caña Centenario 18   (92/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted February 9, 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 18 is part of  the company’s Ultra Premium aged rum collection. This is a well aged rum with the number 18 on the label 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 a sipping spirit however as you will see in my review, I find it is also excellent for high-end cocktails!

In the Bottle 4.5/5

I like the updated bottle design which looks fresh and seems to have more of a masculine charm than the older bottle design. The label is bold and original, and everything about the new bottle and label design speaks of confidence and class.

The label has nice pop both because of its great colour scheme with easy to read lettering and bold fonts as well as due to the irregular shape of the label which adds elegance to the presentation. The stylish bottle adds class 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 18 years old, however (according to my sources at FDC) the number 18 is not meant to state the youngest rum in the blend, it is meant to state an average age for the blend.

In the Glass 9/10

When poured into the glencairn, the rum displays a reddish copper hue with dark undertones. It looks rich and inviting. When the glass is tilted and twirled I see a stubborn crest has formed at the top of the liquid sheen which drops slightly enlarged leglets which amble at a medium slow pace back down into the rum.

The initial nose is filled with oodles of fine oak spice with muted scents of butterscotch melded into the spicy aroma. As the glass sits stronger toffee aromas develop alongside a growing indication of dry grassy tobacco and orange peel. We catch glimmers of baking spices (nutmeg and hints of cinnamon and cloves) along with bits of brown sugar and vanilla . The fine oak spiciness continues to grow in the glass underlain with nutty almond and more grassy tobacco.

When the sampling session is over my empty glass smells of dusty grass and lovely baking spices.

In the Mouth 56/60

This is a clean dry rum displaying a strong personality of fine oak spice spices. This spiciness 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. All in all this is quite lovely.

I decided to add a few cubes of ice and was pleased as a creamy lightly bitter milk chocolate flavour evolved alongside the fine oak spice and light butterscotch. As much as I enjoyed sipping the spirit neat, it was even more enjoyable with ice.

In the Throat 13.5/15

The finish is dry and clean with oak spice heating the palate and settling into the back of the throat. The rum is only lightly sweet and this causes the palate to feel slightly parched which of course induces a second sip, and then a third one. You get the idea.

The Afterburn 9/10

When I previously reviewed the age stated Flor de Caña Centenario 18 Year Old Rum, I found the spirit had an overt oakiness that was somewhat distracting. The new non age stated iteration of the brand (Flor de Caña Centenario 18) appears to have found a much better balancing point between the oak spice and the light butterscotch sweetness. There is just enough light butterscotch flavours present such that the oak does not overwhelm the rum. The result is a rum which much better balance which is perfect for sipping.

I am impressed as my high score of 92/100 attests.

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

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Suggested Cocktail

The Flor de Caña Centenario 18 can and should be sipped neat or with ice. Having said that, there is no reason not to enjoy the spirit in wonderful cocktails as well. Here is a wonderful Winter Cocktail to enjoy with a fine aged rum.

Winter Cocktail

Winter Cocktail

1 3/4 oz Flor de Caña Centenario 18 Rum
1/8 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Orange Curacao
1/8 oz Lime Juice
1/16 oz of Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
3 drops of Bitters (Fees Whiskey Barrel Aged Cocktail Bitters)
Ice
Coil of Orange Peel

Fill a metal shaker 1/3 full of ice
Add all of the ingredients into the cocktail shaker
Shake and strain into a small rocks glass
Add a lump of ice and a coil of orange peel

Enjoy Responsibly!

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!

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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)

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