We’ve passed over reviewing Flor de Caña because we honestly assumed a review had been done. To our amazement, this wasn’t on our list of 82 rum reviews. After all, it’s one of our legacy rums that began our further exploration into the world of rum. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been in our cabinet for quite some time. We picked up Flor de Caña 12 Single Estate to reminisce about how far we’ve come with our palate.
Alfredo Francisco Pellas Canessa left his home in Italy in 1875 for Nicaragua, in search of adventure. The entrepreneur began a business transporting people and goods between the east and west coast of the United States, but when word came of the Panama Canal being built, he set his sights on his next adventure. In 1890, Alfredo found the perfect setting for a distillery at the base of the San Cristobal Volcano in Nicaragua. He believed the rich volcanic soil, enriched water, and volcanic climate would be the perfect trifecta for Flor de Caña rum. Clearly, he was right. Today the company is run by the fifth generation of the Pellas family.
Starting with sugar cane harvested in the fields near the distillery, the molasses-based rum is distilled five times in a continuous column still. The liquid is aged in American white oak barrels in a non-air conditioned warehouse at the base of the active volcano. The 12 noted on the bottle is the average age of the rum blended to make up the bottle.
In 2018, Flor de Caña became the first spirit brand to receive Fairtrade certification. The company practices safe working conditions, protects human rights, and follows environmental best practices. Flor de Caña uses 100% renewable energy, plants 50,000 trees annually, and captures their carbon emission during their fermentation process. In 2020, the Carbon Trust awarded Flor de Caña the Sustainability Award for the Drink Business.
As soon we uncorked the bottle, notes of orange and vanilla filled the air. The beautiful medium golden hue coated the glass with fast-moving lacing. Orange and vanilla continued on the nose with caramel and some subtle hints of oak. We differed on the intensity of the orange note, where Clint found it subtle like orange blossom; however, Terry felt it stronger like orange peel. The liquid smoothly coated the palate, initially carrying the same notes from the nose. But as the rum opened up, the oak notes created a welcomed spice that broke up the semi-sweetness of the rum. Again we differed on the finish. Clint enjoyed notes of oak and tobacco that lingered, while Terry felt the finish was without pomp and circumstance but enjoyed the brief warming sensation.
This was one of the few rums we’ve reviewed that we continued to sip long after our notes were written. There’s something about the simplicity of Flor de Caña 12 that allows us to forget about the world around us. $35/bottle
4.5 out of 5
Sipping Rum Scale
1 – An expensive mixer
2 – A quick celebratory shot
3 – Wouldn’t be embarrassed to share with friends
4 – Are my friends worthy of a sip
5 – Special moments rum
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.