Published on Cool Material on April 11th, 2018
If we’re really looking for a delightful after-dinner cocktail or a stiff one after a hard day’s work, we’re picking up where bourbon sometimes falls short, and grabbing a pour of some barrel-aged rum. Case in point? Flor de Caña. This Nicaraguan rum company has been producing some of the best rum on the planet since 1890, more than 125 years.
When they invited us out to Managua to visit their distillery and learn more about their products and how, exactly, they go about producing some of the most popular rum in the world (They’re Nicaragua’s #1 exported brand, and they were ranked the number one rum producer in the world at 2017’s International Wine and Spirit Competition), we took them up on the offer.
Not only did we get to sample the expressions under their label (both the 12- and 18-Year now live on the shelves of our home bar), but we also got to tour the distillery, where we learned what makes For de Caña unique.
Those Volcanos? They Matter
When you first arrive at the Flor de Caña distillery, it’s difficult not to notice the massive mountainous volcano in the background. It’s the San Cristóbal Volcano, and yes, it’s active. In fact, for better or worse, it’s the most active volcano in Nicaragua, and last erupted in 2014—they were tiny explosions, but explosion nonetheless.
Why’d they set up shop so close to a potentially catastrophic volcano? Well, one reason is that the volcanic ash is full of minerals and nutrients that leave the soil incredibly fertile, making it ideal for farming the sugarcane their rum depends on. Even the water is extra pure, thanks in part to the porous land it filters through.
Perhaps most importantly, the environment itself makes the maturation process unique. You’d probably think Flor de Caña, big as they are, has some kind of gigantic underground climate-controlled bunker where they age their products, but the process is surprisingly old school. They store their barrels in massive warehouses (called bodegas) located on the distillery grounds, and everything from the altitude to the fluctuation in weather is taken into account during maturation period. Every single detail somehow affects the final product, which means that win, lose, or draw, Flor de Caña will always be Flor de Caña.