Mar 042021
 

If two rums from the same company were made the exact same way on the same still, there are just a few things that would explain any profile variations. There’s the still settings themselves, because one rum might have differentcutsthan the other, or from higher or lower plate; there’s the proof point, stronger or weaker, at which either is bottled; and then there’s the barrel strategy, which is to say, the barrel itself and the duration of the rum’s slumber therein.

Last week I looked at a 12 year old Flor de Caña Nicaraguan rum from Compañía Licorera de Nicaragua, which came off their column still in some undisclosed year and was then aged in ex-bourbon barrels in Central America for more than a decade before being diluted down to a milquetoast 40%. The 335 bottles of this Nicaraguan rum released by the Scotch Malt Whiskey Society were also 12 years old but allowed to flex the glutes at a solid 55% ABV, was in so many ways a better rum that one can only wonder at the difference. After all, isn’t tropical ageing supposed to be better? Stuff made at the distillery of origin from cane to cork should be benefiting from the voodoo of location, yet clearly that didn’t happen here.

I mean, consider the profile from start to finish. This SMWS rum was deep and forceful from the get go. Caramel and toffee melded well with a woody component. Dark fruits and raisins waft across the nose and combined with some apple cider, threatens to overwhelm the smellbut the toffee, caramel, oak, chocolate and tart yoghurt end up carrying the day. It’s a bit sweet, with some bitterness after a while, and an emergent strain of coconut and marzipan, with the whole thing getting both darker and sweeter the longer it’s nosed

Palate? Not bad at all. It’s woody, more so than the Flor de Caña product (and this is something about their rums many have commented on before); caramel and bitter chocolate wrestle for dominance with dark Russian peasant bread. “It’s kind of like a thin Blairmont and without the complexity,” remarked my friend Marco, who was tasting it unenthusiastically with me (he was not a fan). I disagree there, because when you leave the rum alone for a while (okay fine, I forgot about it and checked it again an hour later, so sue me) it actually provides some nice notes of coffee, brown sugar, apples and vanillathese temper the slight oaky bitterness we sensed, and while overall I think it is rather simple and the finish just repeats the chorus of notes from above, it’s a pretty powerful statement for the companyand what it could be doing.

I have no way of knowing in which year the Flor 12 was madecompany-made blends like that stay stable for long periods and are tweaked to make them that wayand so a comparison between a continentally aged rum from a single barrel selected by a whisky maker, and a blended, easier product continuously being made by the distillery, lacks true comparability or real meaning; and will without question taste differently. And that’s even without going into the oft-repeated doubts as to whether even back then, their rums truly aged for X years.

And yet, and yet….perhaps it should not taste that different. The shared DNA should be clear, there should be points of similarity that would permit a reasoned comparison to be made, the family tree to snap into focus. Here, that’s hard. If pressed, I’d say I felt this one was less like the 12 and more akin to the superlative blue-bottled 15 year old “21” I’ve always likedbut that one was also quite different from other Flor products (it was an anniversary bottling, never repeated).

So taking all that into account, what made the SMWS rum from Nicaragua so relatively good? Maybe they really were made at different times and in different ways and came off the still already more like second cousins than brothers. But assume for a minute that they were the same up to that point: given the similarity in age, similarity in barrels and assumed sameness off the still, the only thing left to consider is the wide divergence of the proof point, and the ageing location. The 40% TA variant is faint, lacklustre and ultimately boringit in no way provides the complexity and solidity of tastes the CA 55% does.

I’m not trying to make a case for continental over tropical (aside from pointing out how pointless the discussion is from a taste perspective) – but I will go on record for suggesting that maybe one reason Flor de Cana can’t seem to increase its market share or get a bigger footprint on the connoisseur’s mindset, is because they have not had the guts to stake out the full proof market for their products, or even issue a limited edition series of single cask releases. And what that means is that other, smaller independents are stealing the thunder and reaping the rewards that by right should have been theirs. All because they couldn’t be bothered to move away from the traditional philosophy of their blenders.

(#806)(85/100)


Other notes’

  • Simon over at the Rum Shop Boy liked the rum, and made some interesting comments in his conclusions: he suggested that its quality disproves the oft-cited myth that lighter column still spirits require dosage to be truly palatable; and also, that a higher proof is a completely acceptable way of delivering more flavour punch to the rum.
Mar 012021
 

Nearly ten years ago, I was rather indifferent to Flor de Cana’s 12 year old rum. It wasn’t as cool as the older expressions like the 18 for sipping, and was outdone by the 7 year old for a more assertive a cocktail. The 12 YO made a decent drinkexcept insofar as I thought it was somewhat unfinished mid range rum which didn’t seem to be either flesh or fowl.

A decade has now passed, and the brand has lost both brownie points and market lustre with consumers. The 2015 Chronic Kidney Disease matter has died down, but the peculiar and more lasting damage of their age statements continues. In fine, the age statement number on the label was phased out after around 2014 (when Wes Burgin first noted it in his middling-scored review) and now just says “7” or “12” or 18” without further clarification. Of course, even then they were touting that silly “slow aged” moniker, which I regarded then and now with the same sort of impatience. What on earth do they think this means, honestly? That the world spins more slowly for this thing?

What this all does mean, and what just about every reviewer on reddit or other fora is at pains to note (when they bother reviewing anything from Flor at all), is that the big number on the label is completely useless, if not outright deceptive. It tells you nothing of consequence, not the age, or whether it is a blend of X rums (unlikely) or whether it’s a link to the past when it was 12 years old.

With that in mind, let’s see what we have: an older 12 year old 40% rum, whose current “12” blend is no longer now what this once was; column still distilled and aged in ex-bourbon barrels. A more standard rum could not be imagined (unless maybe it’s the Appleton 12 YO or Doorly’s 12 YO). The only reasons to try it are curiosity (always), to see if it could be a candidate for the Key Rums list (no), and to see if anything has changed from my original review (yes, but not for the better).

I confess it did not impress now either. The nose started out medicinal and a bit sharp. It’s predominant characteristic was dark prunes and viscous molasses, honey, overripe cherries, a tang of salt and olives. The ageing showed up via a trace of vanilla and tannins, whose aromas stayed mostly in the background, but overall, not a particularly expressive or impressive nose.

The rum tasted mostly of caramel, treacle and molasses. There was a trace of nuttiness and honey, a few dark and ripe fruits, nothing particularly sharp or tart. Black olives, some brown sugar. It felt like something of a soft blanket, lacking the sharper notes of a citrus element that would have make a stronger statement and balanced things off more nicely. With some strain and patience, a touch of orange peel and unsweetened chocolate was discernible at the tail end leading into the short, dry finish, just insufficient to make a difference to the overall profile. Not something that made it any more memorable, however.

For my money, the 12 YO remains something of a middling work in progress, once leading to the better 18 Year Old (now the “18”) of the supposedly even more upscale “Luxury” expressions (this one is referred to as an “Ultra Premium” in its current iteration). I don’t think it merits anything near those kinds of descriptionsbased on tastes alone, it encourages words like “capable,” “decent” and “mid range” but “Premium”? No chance.

To me, it comes down to that that big number 12 on the label: without any qualifiers or explanations, it is a sign of not just shoddy marketing and the peacock-like display of a double-digit (if not an outright attempt to mislead buyers), but of a lack of faith in their own product. I have no particular issues with Flor de Cana as a wholeI admire what they’ve managed to accomplish to recover their reputationbut this rum is just not worthy, at this stage, of being included in the pantheon. It’s too simple, too ambiguous, and it excites mostly a kind of indifference. Ten years ago it was the sort of rum I’d drink when I just wanted to get hammered, and in that sense, it’s exactly the same now

(#805)(78/100)


Other notes

  • In a time of true-aged cask-strength full-proofs as part of several primary producers’ ranges, I wonder why they insist on keeping this old work horse and not rebrand it as a true 12 year old, and/or goose the proof a bit? For that matter, why not issue a complete range of high-octane full proofs? To stick with the advertising of yesteryear at a time when the world has already changed so much strikes me as odd, to say the least. Perhaps, like DDL, they regard that kind of thing as a loss-leading indulgence of the independent bottlers, not something they really care about themselves.
  • Both TWE and MoM keep on naming their entries for the rum as if it were a true-aged rum, when the label clearly says nothing of the kind.
May 042020
 

There was a very good reason why I took this bottle off a shelf and tried it, even when surrounded by many other rums from equally proud old houses, better made, stronger, of greater quality, produced to more exacting standards, with less kerfuffling oin the label. And that was because I was evaluating Flor de Caña’s entry-to-mid-level rum to see whether it could or should be named to the Key Rums series. The price was attractive, and I retained good memories of an epic bender with my Newfie squaddie Keenan, where we polished off a bottle in labba time on his deck while discoursing on method, critiquing pure reason and waxing poetical on ethical conundrums.

At the time, I had long been a fan of the Flor rums, and they were among my favourite of the first 100 reviews written here, including the original 7 year old I had cut my baby rum teeth on. But back in 2010, they were not the same rums I was drinking now, nor was the same person doing the drinking. Ten years ago, for example, they really did say “7 años” on the label, and not just the deceptive looking numeral 7 without any elaboration at all. The completely meaningless, clueless, pointless and uselessbut evocative“slow aged” and “handcrafted” monikers was on both bottles, but now they had gone a step further and trademarked the former, just to make sure, I guess, that somebody else didn’t come up with the time dilation effects of being around a glass of the stuff. These days, I just pass that kind of stuff with some impatience and get right into the glass.

The nose started decently enoughwarm, fruity, welcoming. It was a bit too sharp for easy sniffing, and the burn of cheap acetone and furniture polish denigrated the experience some. Still, what came after was pleasantblancmange, bananas, cigar smoke, raisins and some molasses, a bit of tinned peaches, nothing too out of left field, or too aggressive. For a column still product pushed out at 40% ABV, it was all right, and didn’t blow the roof off, or fade into tasteless bland listlessness that sometimes characterizes such bottom shelf products.

The palate really needed work. There was quite a bit more than the nose, mindbitter chocolate, almonds, orange peel, stale cigar smoke (in an unventilated bar the day after a late closeever been in one of those?), black tea, some brown sugar and brine, sweet soya, molasses, and the further bitterness of wet charcoal and ashes. The problem was, the whole palate was unbalanced and weak. I don’t say that entirely because of the strength, though that didn’t help, but because there everything was so dialled down and faint that it took me the best part of an hour to dissect itand worse, the discordant pieces clashed and banged against each other without harmony, and instead of leading to the quiet glide of a smooth finish, it shoved brine and caramel and vanilla roughly down the gullet and pronounced itself satisfied it had given what had been paid for.

So, after trying it and feeling a distinct sense of being let down, I had to concede that the passage of ten years had changed me and my profile preferences, as well as, probably, the company.

It’s possible that the now-famous 2015 Vice magazine hit piece (about Flor’s purported responsibility for Chronic Kidney Disease which was killing workers at an alarming rate, which was long on inconvenient truths and short on contradictory evidence or Big Picture, but that nevertheless caused a partial bartender’s boycott of their rums in North America) took Flor by surprise. And in their scrambling to retain market share and recover from the mountain of bad press, they started to cut corners to save money. Or maybe they just misread the tea leaves, completely ignored the head of steam that pure single rums were just starting to make and went cheap and mass market and standard strength, instead of to the niche top end where real profits lie.

Whatever the case for the devolution of the rum from its progenitor, it cannot be considered as being an undiscovered steal. It’s not the same rum I had back then. Is it younger? No way to tellit’s a blend now, and some of the trust the company had once possessed has now evaporated, so who’s to tell? The important take-away is that drinking it didn’t make the hours fly faster, just slower, enough to get the tasting over and done with, and with less enjoyment. A decent rum this was. A good mixing agent, yes, surely. A key rum, though? Not reallyit is, in point of fact, quite a bit less.

(#723)(76/100)


Other notes

My low-to-middling opinion here is something of a minority. Several others quite liked it, so if you want some balance to my snark, check these guys out:

Jul 272012
 

A deep and relatively dark medium bodied rum that isn’t quite sure what it wants to be. Decent mixing agent, a shade too uncouth to sipspringing for the seven year old sibling might be a better idea.

I must have squirrelled the Flor de Caña 5 year old so far behind all the other bottles of hooch in the casa that it simply drifted out of sight and memory. Not too difficult when you consider my house is packed with piles of books, DVDs, computer gear, cameras and photo equipment, children’s toys (and children), camping gear, extra stuff for visitors and furniture I’ve given up trying to persuade Mrs. Caner to get rid of. We once couldn’t find my son in the basement for a full two hours after he fell asleep under some bedding materials. So no surprise I lost track of the blocky, round-shouldered bottle of Nicaraguan five until I was neatening the rum shelf last week. On the other hand, maybe I’m just sinking into geriatric decrepitude.

Too bad this dark 40% product of Central America wasn’t really worth waiting for and discovering to an accompanying choir of heavenly bliss. Maybe it was my bottle, but after cracking the cap, it did give off whiffs of too-sharp oakiness and a faint rubbery scent that I didn’t care for, and, unlike the Rum Nations where this settled into a rich, deep melange, here it just assaulted my nose with about as much forgiveness as a third world dictator. At best I can tell you it had a certain richness to it, and gradually as it settled down, caramel, molasses and dried raisins allowed themselves to be made known, with a whiff of citrus rounding things out.

If I had to comment briefly on the arrival, “chewy”which I may never have understood properly before nowwould be the best single adjective. No other word described it as well unless it was “heavy”a word a lot of West Indians would snicker over, given its relationship to “t’ick” when describing buxom attributes of the distaff side. Red grapes, sharp oak and burnt sugar, some tangerine coiling behind it all (but not much). Oddly dry. Middling sweetness, leathery notes, all wrapped up into a rather raw package that scraped its way morosely across the palate. I cannot tell you that the overall balance worked for methat it was cut above the four year old white is unquestionable, I just didn’t think it was ready yetcouple more years in the white oak barrel would make it both better and a seven year old (and I liked that one a lot). Not entirely coincidentally, that’s The Little Caner’s age too.

Finish is heated, medium long and dry with some faint cinnamon notes, not too bad for an entry level rum that is the first in several further steps of ageing. I think it was a little too hot for me to pretend it can be a sipping rum, and recommend it as a cocktail ingredient, while remarking that its overall depth would present an intriguing challenge for the bartender looking for flavours which it enhances. Something lighter, I would suspect. The rum itself is aged in white oak barrels that once held bourbon and here I should make a remark on theslow agedprocessa bit of a meaningless term, really. What is of merit is that the column-still distillate is aged without artificial flavourings or additives, and in traditional barrel houses built without air conditioningthat may account for the uniqueness of what can be termed theFlor taste.

I said this rum wasn’t worth discoveringperhaps that was being too harsh. I think it may just be too young (and not enough trouble was taken marrying the barrels’ output together) – the seven is for sure a better buy. Then again, it may be that I put together my tasting notes in conjunction with three other rums, two of which were simply better, and so I am being snooty. It’s a strange thick-legged sprite of a rumlet: diminutive, aggressive, determined, loud, eager, winsome, but—given its nose, stiff palate, dearth of a decent finish and an oddly discombobulated overall balance—also a trifle uncoordinated. It’s like Sheldon Cooper on a Starbucks bender, or Doc Emmett Brown having a real drink. On its own I’d use the Flor de Caña five year old Black Label as a mixer, sure, but on balance, I must simply say this rum, for all its familial cachet up the ladder, doesn’t quite have its poop in a group.

(#115. 76/100)


 

Jan 182011
 

First posted 18 January 2011 on Liquorature.

A better than average presentation, for a rum that supercedes its age

The Flor de Caña 21 is a good example of ensuring you know what you’re buying before you fork out your hard earned pieces of eight. I’m being redundant here (most other online reviews make mention of this), but I note the matter because all other Caña products have their age statement clearly and unambiguously front and center: 4 yr old, 5 yr old, 7 yr old, 12 yr old, 18 yr old. You can hardly avoid that: it’s on the front of the bottle and if you miss it, you aren’t paying attention in your hurry to peruse the price information. But the veinte uno doesn’t habla in this manner. The 21 doesn’t refer to the age, but the century for which it was bottled, and it’s actually a fifteen year old, which is noted in small gold lettering on the back. And this may in fact be reflected in the price: I paid ~$70 for it, and one would expect a 21 year old to be closer to, if not exceeding, a hundred.

Presentation was first rate – while I would have preferred a box or a tin for something this aged, I could live with the blue bag and the matching opaque blue bottle, since I’m a sucker for originality (and recall, the brilliant 18 year old doesn’t even have the bag, let alone a box). The rum itself pours into the glass in a tawny amber colour; it presents slow fat legs, for which I’m beginning to run out of amusing metaphors to describe: let’s liken it on this occasion to a Bourda fishwife’s plump gams.

The nose in this thing is, quite frankly, outstanding. It’s deceptive as well, because it starts out as a caramel-molasses scent, very smooth and hardly stinging your schnozz at alland then morphs into a clear, clean floral and herbal scent that is delicate and assertive at the same time (I know no other way to express this lovely nosemost dark rums are either medicinal or overwhelm with burnt sugar and molasses, but not this one). In fact, I liked this so much that I spent an inordinate amount of time dipping my beak into it just to revel in its pleasures.

The body is medium (the bottle says full-bodied, but I’m not entirely convinced of that), just enough sweet mixed with just enough flavour and alcohol. The profile on the tongue is something else again: rich, caramel and sugar undertones, bound together by molasses andonce morethat unique hint of clean flowers, just faint enough to draw attention and balance out the muskier sugars, yet not so much as to overwhelm. The balance really is quite good. The 21 exits in a smooth and gentlemanly fashion, with barely a sting, and yet here’s a bit of a letdown: the finish is shorter than one might expect. An excellent nose and taste and coating on the tongue and throat, you understand: just short, as if the gentleman was visiting a house of ill repute, and now, having completed his business, wishes only to put on his hat and depart the premises with all due dispatch.

Flor de Caña (flower of the cane) rum is made in Nicaragua, and is one of the most consistently good dark rums I’ve ever had, at any age (I simply adored the 18 year old). The Compañía Licorera de Nicaragua was founded in 1937, though workers of the San Antonio sugar refinery had been distilling their own festive hooch for local celebrations for maybe half a century before that. The success of the distilling company led to expansion and to exporting rums to other countries in Central and South America by the late 1950s. Following on the heels of the trend established by DDL in 1992, they began to issue aged premium rums (though stocks were surely laid down before thatafter all, when was the 18 year old I had in 2009 put into a barrel?). And since 2000, these rums have been recipients of numerous awards for excellence. No argument from me on that score.

It’s an overworked and abused cliche that 20% of Americans can’t find their own country on a map, but this is surely not an issue with anyone who knows his rums. Within the subculture, the great spirits of the small nations in the Caribbean and South America stand out as beacons of light and pride for their makersand none of us who ever taste one of these great drinks is any doubt where Venezuela, Guatemala, Guyana or Nicaragua is. We know the nations, we know the geography and we know the history. We know of and care about, above all, the premium products of these small states, and what makes them special. In increasingly disconnected, fragmented world, rums like the Flor de Caña 21 are almost like national symbols in and of themselves: they have the power to bring us together and educate us beyond their fleeting, ephemeral tastes.

(#062. 85/100).

Jul 212010
 

 

Solid, even excellent, full-bodied, full-tasting mixing rum (some with stronger constitutions than mine may disagree). I’d take it neat only with some caution, and would simply not advise it this way, though you are welcome to try.

When you’re going on a deliberate bender, or attending a bash where you know the drinking will be copious, there’s about zero point to being pretentious about it. You dress like a peon, you bring some cheap stuff with you (or supply it), and you don’t waste a whole lot of time snooting, tooting, gargling, tasting and spitting. You’re there to have a good time, and having a professional demeanour regarding your booze is about as useful as taking Granny’s silverware to a backyard barbie.

This was the frame of mind in which I decided to take something simple to a gathering of the Old Farts last Saturday. Normally referring to ourselves as the Great Scholarly Gathering (a hyperbole if there ever was one) we meet after work about once a quarter at the Unicorn Pub in downtown Calgary on a wing night, and quaff beer (rum in my case), discuss work and cast deleterious aspersions on the escutcheons of our former employers, long may their management bowels fester. The Bear, being a founding member of the esteemed society, decided to have it at his place last week, given that he had space and time; and never being one to pass up wings and ribs and booze, I enthusiastically accepted. And brought along this low end Flor, to see how it ranked up against their very excellent 18 year old.

Flor de Cana is a Nicaraguan rum (points to Doug McG for recommending its older sibling), produced by Compañia Licorera de Nicaragua, which was established in 1937 to produce and market the Flor. In 1996 they did a complete factory upgrade which allowed them to attain the coveted ISO 9002 certifiction, and nowadays they use a 3 column still to produce both the Flor variations, and the bulk rum sold to bottlers and blenders in Europe. It’s of interest to note that while the political unrest of the ’80s and ’90s was going on, the conmpany maintained production, and hedged their bets by storing their rum production in oak casks (I assume in some safe location) – and now they have one of the best stores of aged rums anywhere, so look out for great rums to come in the years ahead.

Flor 7 is darkish gold brown with red tints, and medium bodied. It is not on par with the dark density of, say, the Kraken Black, or the almost oily opaque caramel of the El Dorado 21 year old, but it’s not light, and had anorexic legs that disappeared down the sides of the glass fast. Having had the 18 yr old, I expected something less sweet than the norm, perhaps some fruitiness to it.

The nose did not disappoint, once you got past the alcohol sting: slightly fruity, hints of caramel and toffeeyummy. The more you smell the thing in warm weather, the more you may findI swear I smelled a bit of leather and oak in there (maybe that was the saddle some fool left draped over the Jack Daniels barrels this was matured in, back in the old pais).

Neat, the taste in the mouth is like a lesser version of the older rum: not quite as smooth or dense, and a bit rough, but not enough so to disappoint. The caramel, toffee and vanilla tastes are balanced by the lack of sweetness in a manner that is surprising, because normally I expect a bitchslap of bitterness when the sugar is toned downbut not here. No medicinal taste at all, just some sting and burn. There’s a mild kind of spiciness, perhaps nutmeg or cinnamon (pepper?…naaah), that I liked. On ice this almost disappeared, but came back like the cavalry over a cola (in this case a pepsi might be better if you like your sweets up front). And the finish is crisp and sharp and sudden, with the burn there for sure, but in a way that reminds you this is a younger product of a more distinguished line and so is allowed a little more freedom to be untamed.

Now you must not get the impression that I took a delicate sniff, a prissy little taste, swirled and swallowed and then came up with all of this at once. Truth to tell, I finished half the bottle over the course of many hours (Keenan had retrogressed to Heineken, polishing off maybe fifteen or sixteen in the same timeframe). The thing is, the rum kind of opened up as the evening wore on, and I tasted more in it as I drank it more of it and didn’t eat anything except my wife’s ferocious hot wings (aptly namedSatan’s Crotchto warn the unwary and tender-tummied). And since I was neither completely drunk nor completely soberI passed my time in a sort of pleasant haze in between either of these precipitous extremesI was able to remember most of what I detected in order to write this review.

Mind, I’m sure you can understand why I waited a few days to write the thing. Any fool can drink for eight hours, but it takes some skill to write something coherent when in that condition. I’m not entirely ecstatic with this single digit rum, but I will concede that it put me into my haze without bang or burn or serious after-effects, tasted pleasant and was a good drink. So my take is that for a low end mixer, this one isn’t half bad at all, and if I didn’t have several thousand rums to look at in the course of my life, this one would probably take up residence on mybender shelfquite often.

(#030)(Unscored)

Jan 252010
 

First posted 25 January 2010 on Liquorature.

(#007)(Unscored)

***

Memory fails as to who introduced me to this Nicaraguan gem. I have a feeling it was Dougie from the office when he went down there. I was initially a bit doubtful, but since I was trying to scare up some good stuff for the first non-whiskey night of Liquorature, which thus far had been exclusively a Scottish binge, I felt it was necessary to pull out the stops: I had already bought the Appleton Master’s Blend and the Zaya, and this one’s price point fell somewhere in between.

The oldest of the Flor de Cana rums made from molasses, this sweeter than average dark brown rum is aged for eighteen years in used whiskey or bourbon barrels, yet somehow avoids that harsh bite so characteristic of rums aged in whiskey casks (like Renegade’s offerings). Because it is younger than the Appleton Master’s Blend, it isn’t quite as pretentious either, and so I deplored the similarity of the bottle with the 12 year version somewhat less. This is also the darkest of the rums we had that night, a rich clear brown with a slightly red tint; and, poured, it releases a nutty, smoky aroma, with hints of burnt sugar.

The taste in the mouth is superb (but note that my own predilections run slightly more to sweet than the average, so I won’t pretend this will work for others), sweet and spicythose caramel notes really start to come out if you can hold it on the tongueand a bit of oak flavour that begins to dominate after a bit. Actually, more than a bit. As you sip, the oak overpowers everything else and though the finish is smooth and fine, I felt that for an 18 year old, this was not quite the standard I expected. I think I’ll have to go back to this.

The issue for me is that the 12-year and even the 7-year Flors are fantastic for their ages, and the balance that I found tipping to the oak here, is better handled in these younger offerings. They are simply better on the texture and body, while their finish is a little less. Now I’ve been accused of taking one sip, passing judgement, and drowning the poor baby in coke at the first hint of distress (a holdover from my plebian past where a flattie and a bowl’ice plus pepsi was all I needed to go with the curry goat I had an hour before), but unfortunately here it was almost necessary. I’d take the 12-year neat, and the 7- with some coke, but the 18-year old, sadly enough, and good as it was, did not move me to treat it with the great degree of reverence I initially thought it deserved, and therefore I shrugged and bastardized the poor thing.

Again, I stress this is one of those I have to go back to, so my review may change; right now I’ll place it in the first tier, just not right up at the top. Second shelf, perhaps. I’m hoping it’ll move up.


Other Notes

  • A few years after this review, Flor de Cana removed theyears oldfrom the label, which has been widely derided as deceptive, because now there is no longer any kind of definitive age statement.