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HomeEatRUMUnraveling the Mystery of El Salvador's Solitary Distillery: A Review of Cane...

Unraveling the Mystery of El Salvador’s Solitary Distillery: A Review of Cane Island’s 8-Year-Old Single Estate Rum

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Of all the rums we’ve reviewed, none has been from El Salvador. Heading down the rum aisle of our favorite store, we immediately saw Cane Island El Salvador 8-year-old, but Terry continued to search. There wasn’t another El Salvadorian rum around. Why? After some research, it became clear as mud.

The Cane Island is branded as a “Single Island” or “Single Estate” rum. Single Island is a blend of rums from distilleries on the Island, whereas Single Estate is from only one distillery. The producer chooses countries with “a long history in rum production, with their own styles and traditions.” When we reviewed Cane Island Venezuela Single Estate in October 2022, we had no idea which of the 13 distilleries in Venezuela it was from.

Cane Island El Salvador is also a Single Estate rum, but there is no mystery what distillery the rum is from since El Salvador only has one distillery – Ron de El Salvador Cihuatán. Founded in 2014, Ron de El Salvador Cihuatán uses a 100-year-old distillery and is 100% hand-crafted by Salvadorian hands.

Cane Island is produced by Ingenio La Cabana of El Salvador, the parent company of Licorera Cihuatán, which produces Cihuatán. The rum is molasses based, distilled in a column still, and is tropically aged at the distillery in ex-bourbon barrels. They say the Caribbean heat intensifies the rum and wood interaction. Unlike Cihuatán, which used the solera method for bottling, Cane Island is a single-barrel product making this an authentic 8-year-old rum.

Guide to San Salvador Island in the Bahamas

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He Said
My first thought was, “Is this a rum?” Even keeping my mouth open, allowing the bouquet to fill my senses, yields an unremarkable nose. After a bit, I get an undertone of molasses with some orange blossom and tobacco leaf. On the palate, there is a tiny bit of sweetness before the liquid rushes to finish with a burst of vanilla, orange blossom, and an earthiness from the barrel that is rich and hardy. The finish is smooth and lingers, leaving me wanting more.

She Said
In the glass, the golden color rum coats the glass leaving tiny trails of lace. I agree with Clint that the nose is so subtle I needed to take more time to contemplate it. I, too, am getting orange blossom and an ever-so-slight hint of vanilla. The palate has a bite of baking spices before being smoothed by orange and subtle vanilla notes. Then, like for Clint, the liquid rushes to finish. The difference for me, though, is I don’t taste or feel the finish until it hits the upper chest, where it explodes with a warm, slightly sweet, satisfying finish that lingers. I, too, can’t wait to have another sip.

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We are surprised by how much we liked Cane Island El Salvador 8 years. While the nose was subtle and the palate unremarkable, the finish experience left us wanting more. At $30/bottle, this rum will definitively be in our cabinet.

4 of 5

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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.

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