Published on BroBible on April 27th, 2018
It’s impossible to miss the rum maker’s presence upon entering Nicaragua. You literally get your passport stamped in the aura of Flor de Caña, as the country’s Customs and Immigration stations are wrapped in colorful Flor de Caña rum banners with turquoise waterfalls and verdant volcanos in the background. It’s the first thing you notice after the flight to Managua, sans the usual smack-in-the-face of tropical humidity.
Dating back to 1890, Flor de Caña is family-run-and-distilled rum brand similar to other heritage rum brands across the Northern Hemisphere’s tropical latitudes (…Ron Barcelo in Dominican Republic, Gosling’s in Bermuda, Appleton Estates in Jamaica, Bacardi in Puerto Rico). The portfolio stands out thanks to a distinct flavor unique to the mineral-rich volcanic soils of Nicaragua. Flor de Caña uses sugar cane grown in the shadows of the San Cristobal volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in Latin America. Sugar cane grown this highly fertile produces a rich, dark molasses. It’s distilled five-times over, resulting in an incredibly balanced dark rum after naturally aging in small white oak bourbon barrels sealed with plantain leaves.
The portfolio even takes on the geographic character of the barrelhouses in which Flor de Caña is aged – Natural ventilation allows for exposure to Nicaragua’s tropical humidity and volcanic atmosphere, further increasing the complexity of the rum’s character.
Let’s pause there for a second. Flor de Caña barrelhouses, in specific, are a magical place, having experienced one firsthand. You breathe in sweet rum vapors, with the angels share of barrel-aged spirit wrangling its way into every sinus cavity and exposed pore on your body. That’s where you feel the presence of the rum itself, along with five proud generations of rum making in a country that’s experienced a historical geo-political rollercoaster, from Pacific Rim-driven natural disasters to revolutions to nationalization and the emergence of a blossoming tourist economy thanks to those mysterious volcanoes and pristine beaches.
That barrelhouse is a symbolic synthesis of Nicaragua into Flor de Caña, a euphoric feast of the senses unlike any other distilling experience in the world. It’s somehow made more sublime by tapping cask strength rum that’s been stashed in it’s oak home since the early ’90s.