On the hottest day of the year so far, what’s needed is a splash of Rum, and that’s what we got at theFlor de Cana Masterclass at Amathus, Wardour Street, on the 17th July! Hosted by Marc Catalan from Flor de Cana, we were refreshed with a complimentary cocktail called a Macua which was a concoction of Flor de Cana 4yr white, fresh lime, orange, and the addition of Goji juice which hit the spot!
Marc talked about the background and origins of Flor de Cana and how it has grown to be the biggest Rum in Central America! It is still run by the family and independently owned, and what was really interesting was that it is the only Slow-Aged Rum in the world. Slow Ageing means that it has to be naturally aged, no additions and does not blend different ages together.
We sampled the 4yr White and the 4yr Gold with some Mango ice-cream, both rums would be great in Cocktails with their range of flavours. We then tried the flagship 7yr with some dark chocolate, which really worked well as the cacao and vanilla notes really came through.
The final Rums we tried were the Centenario 12yr, a wonderfully aromatic Rum with a delightful taste with hints of prunes, chocolate and a gentle hint of spice. And lastly, the Centenario Gold 18yr, a delicate and sumptuous Rum reserved for a special occasion because as much as 80% of the original rum in the barrel was lost to the Angel’s Share! Lucky Angels.
A great evening sampling some fine rums and looking forward to mixing some Cocktails.
We were delighted this week to be joined by Audrey Bruisson from Rhum Clement and Rhum J.M. to talk to us about this
fantastic Agricole Rhum from Martinique. Though Agricole is only around 2% of all Rhum consumed, Clement is now present in 60 countries across the world and is a world leader in production.
Clement has been producing Rhum for 125 years now, and as such they have mastered the techniques of production. This includes having their own estate grown sugar cane so they can maintain high standards from field to bottle.
In order to maintain the Rhum Agricole AOC there are specific rules to make sure that the Rhum is of sufficient quality. This includes only allowing 24 hours to pass between harvesting and beginning fermentation; and having to spend the first year of production in barrels from Limousine before transferring to Bourbon barrels. Due to the climate of Martinique there will be losses of 8-12% from each barrel every year. This in turn makes aged Rhum Agricole a very precious liquid – which the tasting definitely proved.
We were given the chance to try 7 different Rhums from their range, starting with the incredibly smooth and delicious Clement Premier Canne. After this we were lucky enough to be able to taste the first bottle of Select Barrel in the UK. This was followed by the VSOP, which had a smooth and mellow taste with a delicate roasted cocoa aroma. We moved on to the J.M. after these, and the difference was apparent immediately. The JM Rhums had a more powerful aroma and were rich with spicy, vegetal notes. We progressed from the White, to the Gold and finished with the VSOP, which was a truly intense Rhum.
We were treated after the Rhums to some incredible Ti Punch Sorbet made by Marc Woods from Rumbling, followed by a Ti Punch – a great way to spend a Wednesday evening!
By Nick Bell
Wardour Street, London, W1F 0UN
As a keen rum fan I had been looking forward to this event all summer. As it came up to 3pm, the crowds were assembling and the anticipation was mounting. Marc Catalán, brand ambassador for Flor de Caña, introduced himself and we were off…
It was instantly apparent that Marc was passionate about rum and, more specifically, this unique rum from Nicaragua, Flor de Caña (“Flower of the Cane”). He explained that, to date, it remains the World’s most awarded rum in the market and is currently the leading brand in Central America, as well as a growing position in the UK and emerging markets. Flor de Caña is owned by the Pellas family, an Italian family based in Chichigalpa, and the rum is produced solely from their sugar mill in San Antonio, and has been for 122 years. What is remarkable and extremely uncommon is that they own this sugar mill, and do not import from outside – which means that they have complete control over the entire process, and in terms of what this means to the resulting quality… well, the rums speak for themselves!
Before I go on to tell you about the different samples, I will just take a moment to talk about the slow-ageing process that takes place. What this means, essentially, is that everything is matured and aged naturally. There is no chemicals or additives – not even caramel – added to adjust colour and there is no blending of ages to alter taste. It is this natural ageing and patience that creates the smooth, silky textures and pure flavours in all of their rums.
Extra Dry White 4yr
This is the only 4yr white rum on the market! Crystal clear in appearance, (achieved through filtration with charcoal) it is extremely light-bodied with a delicious exotic taste of coconut and subtle hints of vanilla. Smooth enough to enjoy alone but also a great base for some tasty cocktails.
In essence, this is the same as the Extra Dry without the charcoal filtration. In reality, this transpires into a smooth tasting and more vanilla dominating taste, with that coconut profile making a more subtle appearance. Very silky texture.
Grand Reserve 7yr
A clear mahogany coloured rum, perfectly balanced and it said to make the “perfect rum and coke”! Defined vanilla and dark chocolate flavours and a wonderfully smooth finish that lingers in your mouth.
Moving more into the realms liking to a fine brandy – this would be for those partial to a neat tipple topped with ice or water.. It is reddish-amber in colour and a semi-sweet, chocolate aroma with notes of caramel and nougat. These follow through onto the palate with some wooden characters from the 12 years ageing in barrels.
Of every barrel roughly 80% of the original contents is lost by evaporation through these 18 years. This gives you an idea of the fine quality, concentration and finesse of what we are about to taste… pure amber with notes of almonds and chocolate. This is a melt-in-your-mouth, silky rum, oozing with finesse and sophistication. A rum worthy of no contact than that of from glass to mouth…
Along with these great rums were some light bites provided by Floridita and Carom @ Meza. These were devine. There were mini lamb samosas… lobster pastries… pork belly… tasty doritos… and finished off with an amazing strawberry sorbet and puree. Just recalling these makes my mouth water. Check out the photo if you don’t believe me! Yumm…. (see below for website information).
To end a great tasting of rums and Cuban and Indian infused delicacies, came some cocktail ideas of what can be done with Flor de Caña. For a list of ideas please see here
With special thanks to Floridita and Meza for the fabulous food and venue for the afternoon tasting!!
Wednesday evening was an eventful evening for Flor de Caña, with a tasting at Zenna and also a tasting at Covent Garden venue, The Hospital Members Club on Endell Street. David Adamick gives us the low down of how the evening played out…
The evening kicked off at 7:30 with an audience of nearly 30 eagerly awaiting to be educated on Nicaragua’s premium rum brand.
After going through a bit of the history of the San Antonio plantation/mill, we then went on to the beginning of rum production in Chichigalpa in 1890 and on to the emergence of the Flor de Caña brand.
We then covered the production methods of the distillery before diving into our first sample, the 4 year old Extra Dry. The 4 year old Gold then followed. The chattering and interaction swelled – the desired effect already!
7, 12 then 18 year olds in due course; people were genuinely intrigued by the progression of aromas and flavours and seemed to grasp the crucial relationship between age, complexity and refinement in rum production.
There was some really great feedback as questions were fielded toward the end of the event; we lingered to confirm our overall preference for the 12 year old. There was even someone there from El Salvador who informed that Flor de Cane is THE brand of the region!
It was a very successful event with a very convivial atmosphere – crucial stuff for enhancing people’s perceptions of rum traditions and brands.