Flor de Caña is a producer that has long been well regarded for their light rums, but it is very hard for me to say anything nice about their aged product. It seems to be another light rum masquerading as what the market assumes would be a full bodied aged product. They do however make no claims or assertions on the label about style or what to expect. Questions are raised. Did someone on the production side think this was built to age (an implied but not legally clarified 18 years) or was it something random that was forgotten? You cannot blame anyone for bottling it up and seeing what the market thinks. It is no doubt a simple small allocation bottling that will be drank and gone, a minor blip, and everyone will be back to the business of younger lighter rums.
I would’ve quickly been done with this then I looked at some reviews which seemed to enjoy it and find much more nuance than I (I definitely drank quite a bit of it besides just the fractions). Many reviews were also critical of the “18” which avoids saying anything clear like minimum of 18 years or anything comparable to other spirit traditions.
These days, from all that I’ve learned, when I evaluate rums I’m always concerned about price. Was it a $40 rum? Does it have rare character worth the price and/or any noble storyline? I’m even getting closer to daring ask: does it have any high value terpenes—that rum oil! Because that is what is worth money. To the old Germans, stretchability was everything and the market value of the rum was directly tied to its persistence and thus high value congeners.
Fermentation is the climax of production. At distillation, it is just garbage in and garbage out. The same then goes for maturation. A true 18 years of maturation, a fraudulent 18, it tastes like it could be 18…, that is all bullshit in the rum world. We already know at the point of fermentation if the spirit was touched by the divine. In the soon arriving future, everything we will talk about when we evaluate fine rums is Pombe or not, rum oil, high value terpenes, and elaborate fermentation complications. I summarized the future of fine rum in the Grand Arôme rum tease and producer interest is growing.
Fraction 1: There is a degree of non-culinary aromas, but nothing feels particularly concentrated.
Fraction 2: Particularly light.
Fraction 3: Even lighter, very neutral.
Fraction 4: No extra character besides fusel oil, but not particularly concentrated. Not exactly a wraith.
Fraction 5: There is almost a rank character in here. There is definitely no beauty. I suspect this character might be attributed to something specific, but that specific thing may not be noble. Could it be from the barrel or even sherry in the finishing?
Fraction 6: A slight dense character similar to fraction 5, but not exactly concentrated. No distinct acidity. Nothing associated with beauty.
Fraction 7: Slight stale character, but very laissez-faire. No distinct acidity.
Fraction 8: Very neutral, no distinct acidity.