Flor de Caña 4 Extra Seco
Review: Flor de Caña 4 Extra Seco (85.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted December, 2016
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.
Two years ago, 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 case of the Flor de Caña 4 Extra Seco, this brand now replaced the Flor de Caña Extra Dry 4 Year Old Rum in their line-up. The new Extra Seco brand is now longer an age stated 4-year-old rum, rather I have been told that the number 4 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.
In the Bottle 4/5
The Flor de Caña 4 Extra Seco 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
I poured the clear rum into my glencairn glass and began with a good look at the spirit. It is clear without a smidgen of colour. Although the rum has apparently been aged for up to four years in oak barrels, the aged rum has been filtered to remove all colour. I gave the glass a tilt and a slow swirl and then examined the clear sheen left on the sides of the glass. A few skinny legs formed and ran back down into the rum. The rum appears to be light bodied and no indication of extra sugar added is apparent.
The aroma rising up from the glass has a very gentle imprint of butterscotch with just a hint of menthol alongside. As I let the glass breathe I also begin to notice a few mushy banana-like scents, hints of grassy tobacco and the light spiciness of orange and banana peel. There is also a light astringency in the breezes which hints at oak spice and more orange peel. The rum appears to be just what it purports to be, a delicately aged mixing rum which is already begging me to mix a daiquiri.
In the Mouth 52/60
The rum carries wood and orange peel spice as well as a certain ‘rough and tumble’ character across the palate when you take your fist sip. As well, the dryness of the rum puckers the palate and urging me to grab my cocktail shaker rather than trying to continue sipping. That rough and tumble character manifests itself as a light herbal flavour which is composed of hints of green grass and dry tobacco with perhaps a dash of menthol or mint thrown in. There is also a light underlying candied sweetness tinged with slippery vestiges of vanilla and almond.
As I noted when I reviewed this rum predecessor, the complexity and light rough ad tumble character of the Extra Seco Rum is what makes it such a great cocktail rum. It makes an outstanding Daiquiri, and a fantastic Cuba Libre‘. As well, the standard Mojito made with FDC Extra Seco is a treat to sip on even during my Canadian winter. Although the rum has lost its age statement, it has lost none of its outstanding cocktail flair.
In the Throat 12.5/15
The rum has a dry, spicy finish which punches at the tonsils a bit. But, as stated above, the isn’t meant to be consumed neat or even on the rocks. Those features which make the rum uncomfortable by itself, also make the rum very versatile and enjoyable when used as a cocktail mixer. Especially that dry spiciness which seems to give the cocktails extra life in the glass.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
The dry white rum from Flor de Cana has for a few years now been one of my favourite white rums for mixing. Although the name of the rum has changed, and the age statement has been dropped, I still hold the Flor De Cana 4 Extra Seco in high regard.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
2 oz Flor de Cana Extra Seco Rum
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Fresh Orange Juice
3/8 oz Sugar Syrup
4 large Ice Cubes
Splash of Orange Mango Soda (Koala brand)
Slice of Lemon
Combine the first four ingredients into a metal shaker with ice.
Shake until the metal shaker chills.
Strain into a chilled glass.
Complete with soda
Garnish with a slice of lemon
Please remember to drink responsibly, the aim of my blog is to help you drink better spirits…not more spirits!
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)