During our trip to Nicaragua, we tasted the local beverages and took a strong liking to Flor de Caña rum. We even picked up a few bottles and took them home with us! Therefore, before it runs out, we’ll be reviewing Flor de Caña 18 by exploring the following topics:
- Bespoke Unit Rum Reviewer [BURR]
- Rum Overview
- Nose & Aromas
- Palate & Mouthfeel
- Ideal Pairings
- Overall Experience & Value For Money
Simple use the links above to jump ahead or scroll down to read it all.
Flor de Caña 18 Overview
- Distillery: Flor de Caña
- Expression: Centenario 18 Single Estate
- Region: Nicaragua
- Type: Añejo Rum
- Style: Latin
- Age Statement: 18 Years
- Casking: Ex-Bourbon
- Cask Strength: 35% ABV
- Pricing: $55 / 75 cl [Buy Now]
As the Flor de Caña 18 bottle that we reviewed was acquired in Nicaragua, you may notice its lower alcohol by volume of 35%. In Nicaragua, alcoholic spirits are typically bottled at 35% ABV rather than the more common 40% ABV in the rest of the world.
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Flor de Caña 18’s Robe
- Hue: Ruby Caramel
- Transparency: Clear
- Body: Full-Bodied
Flor de Caña is arguably paler than its peers, which the distillery argues is thanks to a natural ageing process and the lack of artificial colouring. Indeed, Flor de Caña 18 has a dark caramel hue with vibrantly clear transparency. Light travels brilliantly through the glass and bottle when it catches the sun.
Furthermore, Flor de Caña is often prized for its natural product, which uses no additives or flavourings. You can test this with your hands by simply pouring a drop in your palm. After rubbing your hands together until the alcohol evaporates, you’ll notice that your hands are dry.
Meanwhile, other rums tend to leave a sticky residue, which is the remains of the additives.
When swirling Flor de Caña 18 in your glass, you’ll notice elegant tears that form down the side of your glass. They’re consistently thick and slowly ooze down the side of the glass.
Finally, if you are so inclined, you can test the rum’s viscometrical potential like whisky with a drop of water. A single drop in your glass will reveal rich whirls and lavish clouds, which nod to an unchilled filtering process.
Flor de Caña’s Nose
- Notes: Cavendish, Gingerbread, Roses
- Nosefeel: Unctuous
Flor de Caña 18 boasts an unctuous yet refined nose. While its bouquet isn’t exactly intense and rather mild, it’s rich in flavour. It reveals complex aromas that are somewhat diverse and vivid in the nostrils.
Its most overt note is a distinctive aroma of black Cavendish tobacco. Spicy and yeasty gingerbread quickly follows, which is then finished by a light hint of floral rose petals.
Flor de Caña 18’s Palate & Mouthfeel
- Primary Tastes: Salty, Sweet
- Mouthfeel: Oily
- Opening: Peaches, Praline, Bay Leaf
- Heart: Turkish Delight, Gingerbread, Toffee
- Finish: Earth, Dried Fruit, Caramel
Firstly, Flor de Caña’s palate follows closely from its aromatic bouquet. An overall mild rum with intricate complexity, it reveals a juxtaposition of sweet and salty flavours.
Delivered with an oily velvet texture, it opens on ripe peaches, praline confections, and crushed bay leaf. Its long and natural ageing process is immediately apparent and the depth of its flavours flourish shortly afterwards.
The resulting heart offers Turkish delight, gingerbread, and toffee, which partly echoes the initial nose given the presence of the former two notes. Finally, Flor de Caña results in a long finish, which reveals an earthy note reminiscent of patchouli, shortly followed by dried fruit, and sticky caramel.
Overall Experience & Value For Money
I’m particularly fond of the understated yet masculine bottle. Its short and squat rectangular shape is impressive and the small label is simply tucked around the side. Meanwhile, the cork is excellent with a solid seal and attractive decoration, which is plastic, sadly.
While I’m fond of the packaging and its depiction of Nicaragua’s emblematic volcanoes, it doesn’t quite catch your eye as well as creation by Diplomatico and other brands.
Mine had already taken a beating with a few scratches even when it was initially purchased. However, now that it has travelled halfway around the world in my suitcase, it’s a little worse for wear!
As for the occasion, this is a unique and exciting rum that can be enjoyed for any occasion. You can certainly drink it at home with your favourite cigar. Alternatively, its traditionally-shaped bottle and presentation would be fitting for more formal occasions.
Finally, it’s quite affordable despite its natural process, fair trade certification, and 18-year age statement. Indeed, a bottle can be picked up for as little as $55 through Reserve Bar. Otherwise, it sporadically varies in price if you like to use Drizly.
Best Pairings With Flor de Caña 18
As Flor de Caña 18 is a surprisingly mild rum given its old age and natural properties, it’s surprisingly easy to accord with various food and cigars. Indeed, its body is quite light and not at all overwhelming.
Therefore, you could consider it with dark chocolate. However, it would recommend praliné snacks, which are quite nutty and are even experienced in the rum’s opening. Alternatively, vanilla ice cream with this rum would be a wonderfully refreshing pairing.
As for cigars, it feels only appropriate to suggest a few Nicaraguan blends. Overall, a balanced medium-bodied cigar would fair best with this rum and Nicaragua offers tobacco with uniquely mineral flavours that would accord well with its notes.
For instance, a Plasencia Original Reserva has a spicy profile that marries well with the rum’s gingerbread and toffee properties. Otherwise, you may consider a Mombacho Tierra Volcan, which has a certain depth that adds pleasant contrast to the rum.
Finally, a Davidoff Nicaragua would be a premium middle ground between the two aforementioned blends.
Despite an impressive age statement, Flor de Caña 18 is a floral, unctuous, and mild rum, which offers a truly complex experience. Flor de Caña also prides itself in its transparency.
As mentioned earlier, it features no additives or colouring. However, Flor de Caña also only use rum that has been aged 18 years. While it’s a blend of different ex-bourbon barrels, you’ll find nothing younger (or older) in your bottle, which is often the case with other rums.
"An unctuous and complex rum that is friendly to both novices and true conoisseurs."
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