Some time ago, while rum-hunting, I scanned the shelves behind the cash register looking for nips of anything that might interest me. I did see one, a nip of Hennessy X.O. for $15. That was for a nip! Well, I was interested, but I already had 4 bottles of rum in a bag, and a decent bill to pay, so I skipped it. As I walked out I saw a bottle of Flor de Caña 21 high on the shelf behind the register.
Now I was really interested.
But for $75, I had to pass.
I can resist anything except temptation…
For weeks that bottle beckoned me, calling my name over the distance of many miles. Every time I desired a sip of rum I thought about that bottle. That blue ceramic bottle needed a home, and I heard it whimper and cry. I was heartbroken.
I finally broke down, made a special drive to that liquor store, and purchased that lovely blue bottle and a bottle of Ron Matusalem Platino. Carefully, I packed them safely for the drive home, went directly home, and tossed the Platino to one side before I lovingly placed that bottle of 21 on a shelf.
Where it waited.
It was no longer crying my name, but rather teasing me with it’s presence every time I walked into the room.
And I ignored it, as I never had simultaneously the desire nor the time to give it the respect it was due.
Time to Taste
Flor de Caña 21 is not 21-year-old rum, as one might assume from the name. It is actually “slow-aged” for 15 years, and the “21” signifies that it is a rum for the 21st century. The term “slow-aged” is trademarked by Flor de Caña to somehow signify that they age their rum. Their web site divulges nothing but marketing fluff about this term or process. It sounds like regular old aging to me.
But the rum itself… Let’s see what that’s like…
This rum is a dark gold, almost copper color. It smells a bit sweet, but with a balance of darker smells and a bit of spice and barrel. As I sip, the sweetness is not as apparent as in the smell, but the spiciness and dark fruits achieve some balance and then go far beyond. Several tastes mingle, and then a rush of spiciness hits, leaving the mouth tingling quite pleasantly. The finish is short, but very pleasant, while the tingling spices continue. Overall there’s a bit of a burn, but it seems to be more spicy than alcohol.
I added a touch of water, and swirled to mix and aerate. This brought up the sweetness a bit, and drastically cut back the spiciness and what little burn it had. There are more flavors now, fairly complex. Toffee or dark chocolate, maybe? Raisins, and a hint of sherry? There are many similar tastes in there now, and they all work quite well together. The water tames the harsh side a bit, while letting some other flavors come out. Very nicely done.
All in all, this is a very good rum. Decently sweet, quite complex, quite smooth with a mild burn and everything finishing with spices that leave the mouth tingling. The balance of flavors, the flow from start to finish, is very well done. There’s no doubt that this is a high quality rum, and that great care has been taken to make it.
I can easily recommend it – as long as you can handle the price. I paid $75, but have seen mention of $60 on the web. If you don’t mind paying this much for a rum then you won’t be unhappy. It really is quite good.
Flor de Caña: http://www.flordecana.com/