We’ve recently become fans of Cane Island rums, giving their Venezuela and El Salvador blends 4 out of 5 in recent reviews. Most of the Cane Island rums offered locally have an age range of 3 – 8 years, so when we saw a Limited Edition Cane Island Nicaragua, aged 16 years and finished in Cognac Casks, we were all in.
Behind the Brand
The company behind Cane Island is Infinity Spirits, a rum branding company from Rotterdam, Netherlands. They help companies create a brand that fills “…the gap between private labels and well-known rum brands…” Cane Island chooses countries with “a long history in rum production, with their styles and traditions.” Depending on the partnerships they have created in those countries, the rum is branded as a “Single Island,” meaning from multiple distilleries on the island or a “Single Estate” from only one distillery. All rums are tropically aged locally in wooden casks, allowing the heat of the Caribbean to intensify the interaction between the rum and the wood.
Nicaraguan Sugar Cane Legacy:
Nicaragua’s sugar cane history dates back to the Spanish colonial era of the 16th century. By the end of the 19th century, sugarcane represented a significant part of the country’s economy. The rich volcanic soil, consistent tropical temperatures, and a modest rainy season produce the growing conditions ideal for sugarcane. The first distillery in Nicaragua was built in 1890 at the base of the San Cristobal volcano, the tallest and most active volcano in Nicaragua. Today, that distillery is known as Compañia Licorera, home to two of Nicaragua’s emblematic brands, Mombacho and Flor de Cana.
Evaluating the Limited Edition:
Cane Island Nicaragua Limited Edition, aged 16 years, is listed as a Single Estate, using rums from only one distillery. The rum is distilled in a column still using a molasses base, then tropically aged (locally) for up to 16 years in white oak casks. It is then finished in handpicked cognac barrels. It’s not clear if the finishing is in Nicaragua. The rum is bottled in Amsterdam by Infinity Spirits.
The thick, dark amber color clings to the glass, leaving long, slow lacing. The nose is smooth and full of fruit, revealing candied cherry, papaya, and mango. The sip is heavy, coating the entire palate and then depositing the sweet fruit on the front of the palate while a spice develops on the roof of the mouth. Once we swallow, the spice follows while leaving the fruit on the front of the palate. The spice, possibly from the oak casks, carries to the finish, leaving us to continue to enjoy the fruit on the palate. The spice smooths out, leaving a long and satisfying finish. We continue back for more to experience the tale of two rums again. It doesn’t disappoint.
Cane Island Nicaragua 16 Limited Edition pulls many notes from the cognac casks. It is no coincidence that Compañia Licorera is home to Flora de Cana. At $45/bottle, Cane Island rivals our review of Flora de Cana.
4.5 of 5
About Clint and Terry: We have sampled many a dram over our 33 years of marriage and quite often we don’t fully agree. Could be the difference is male/female taste buds. Or, somebody is just wrong.