Flor de Cana Centenario Gold 18 Year Old
Review: Flor De Cana Centenario Gold 18 Year Old Rum 85/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Updated October 6, 2012
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 still 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 with molasses from sugar cane harvested in fields adjacent to the distillery in Chichigalpa. It is distilled in a continuous column still process, and then laid down to age in small American white oak barrels in traditional aging warehouses built without air conditioning in an undisturbed environment.
I will admit a little bias here, and state for the record that I am not a fan of screw caps. The worst screw caps are those pressed metal ones which are so thin and flimsy that they cannot be tightened for fear of stripping the thread, and which expand and contract at a greater rate than the glass bottle they are protecting. The better screw caps are the hard plastic ones which actually give a good seal comparable to a good cork. In the presentation of the Flor de Cana 18, we have a good quality plastic cap. As for the bottle, it is a squat shaped vessel which carries the same design and label as the 12-year-old. Although things are nice, I find that for a true 18-year-old rum, I can’t help but wish for a nicer presentation.
In the Glass 9/10
The rum is rich and dark with red highlights in the glass. A quick tilt of my glass shows an army of moderately thick legs crawling down the sides back into the rum. The immediate nose is full of oak and baking spices, some zesty orange peel, vanilla, and dry fruit. The spicy oak makes the nose seem lightly harsh, and as the rum breathes, I begin to sense glimmers of toasted hazelnut and pecans wafting into the air. The oak builds bringing even more spice into the breezes above the glass.
The fully decanted glass is full of rich oak spice, dark brown sugars and dark caramel toffee. I seem to catch a hint of leathery smoke in the air as well. Nutmeg, allspice, and more hazelnut all seem mixed into the spicy caramel aroma.
In the Mouth 51/60
The 18 year old rum is surprisingly dry on my palate with a layer of cocoa under the dark caramel and spice. That leathery smoke I noticed on the nose is asserting itself, and I taste a strong oak presence. As I let the rum sit in my mouth, the oak becomes more dominant and to some degree begins to nibble away at the other rum and spice flavours rather than choosing to coexist. My instinct here is to suggest that the rum has spent too long in the oak barrel. The balance of flavours has tipped into the oak with the other flavours vainly trying to hold their own.
In the Throat 12.5/15
Like other Flor de Cana rums I have previously reviewed, this rum is very clean on the exit. I taste, a lot of walnut in the exit as well as dark caramel and oak spice. There is however, a certain oaky, leathery, smokey, dry bitterness that lingers, stealing polish from the finish.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
The Flor de Cana 7-year-old and 12-year-old are two of my very favourite rums. Perhaps this causes me to judge the FDC 18 Year Old rather critically, but I feel that we have a rum that perhaps sat in the oak barrel for too long. The resulting spirit has lost some elegance and balance along the way. Do not mistake me, this is a very good rum which I would never hesitate to serve on a special occasions, but unlike its younger siblings its score does not reach into the stratosphere.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
For my cocktail I turned to a good friend, forrest, who has a wonderful site called “a drink with forrest“. I gave him a few thoughts I had regarding Flor de Cana Centenario Gold and my wish to do a nice twist on a traditional cocktail called “The Godfather” which is a Scotch and Amaretto combination. Forrest loved the idea, and he sent me this offering:
El Padrino (Spanish for Godfather)
(cocktail by Arctic Wolf & forrest)
(The name El Padrino fits perfectly with the mood and feeling I was trying to capture with my original suggestion as Flor de Cana Centenario Gold is truly a Godfather of Rums!)
2 oz Flor de Cana 18
1 oz Amaretto
1/8 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
Build on Ice in Small Rock Glass
Garnish With a Thin Slice of Lemon
What can I say, forrest tweaked my idea and together we made a premium rum cocktail that is simply divine.
Forrest has published a little write-up on the El Padrino with some nice tips for mixing it to your particular palate. Here is the Link:
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)