Flor De Cana Gran Reserva 7

Flor De Cana 7 Gran Reserva rum review by the fat rum pirateNicaraguan rum producers Compania Licorera De Nicaragua S.A have been “slow ageing” their “Tradicion Artesenal”  Flor De Cana rum since 1890 in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua.

Sometime in 2014 they decided to change the labelling throughout their range.  The age statements were removed and the conspiracies began……..

From my perspective the only Flor De Cana rum I had tried was the very average 12 Centenario, so I was unconcerned by the revelations.  Whenever a rum is re-packaged their is immediately a scramble amongst some rum commentators to suggest that the juice inside must also be different.  Usually this will mean they think it had been downgraded to a less aged product.  With Flor De Cana removing the age statements this prompted and even bigger feeding frenzy than usual.  It’s amazing how many people without access to an older bottling (or having even tasted then new bottling) can cry that rum must be younger.

Still this is one of the issues rum has created for itself in many ways.  It simply cannot be trusted!

Recently some rather unsavoury articles have appeared regarding the conditions the workers are subjected to in the Sugar Cane fields which provide Flor de Cana their molasses.  This has been debated in rum circles so I’ll just stick with reviewing this rum rather than getting involved in the politics.

Following my disappointment with Flor De Cana 12 Centenario I was in no real hurry to try and other Flor De Cana rums.  I know its not good practice to follow this way of looking at things but since trying the 12 I had seen and bought so many other rums that had caught my eye (and budget) over any further Flor De Cana purchases.

£17.99 is the price I paid for this bottle.  On sale from Amazon.co.uk with free postage and packing as well.  At £17.99 nowadays you are struggling to get anything other than Supermarket own brand booze on a regular basis.  I figured it was worth a punt.

The 7 Gran Reserva comes in a lovely upright almost square bottle.  The new label looks more sleek and modern than its predecessor and indeed the age statement has been removed.  This is now simply 7 Gran Reserva.  So the 7 could stand for absolutely anything at all.  This could mean a downgrade in the liquid inside but at the same time it also gives the blender more room for manoeuvre to produce consistent batches of the same rum over time.  He is not tied to certain ages of rum etc.

Flor De Cana 7 Gran Reserva is usually around £25-30 in the UK sometimes slightlyFlor De Cana 7 Gran Reserva rum review by the fat rum pirate less.  In price terms it compared favourably with the likes of Appleton 8 and El Dorado 8 Year Old for example.  In many ways like those two rums it kind of bridges the gap between quality mixer and entry sipper.  It is a 70cl bottle and comes in at 40% ABV.

Back to the presentation, I quite like the update.  The bottle has a few nice touches their is a slow aged 1890 sticker on the neck of the bottle and the screw cap is very good quality and offers a very nice enclosure.  Much of the information is written in Spanish but really there is little revealed about this rum anyway beyond marketing speak.  It’s blended column distilled rum with no real age statement anymore though this rum should be overall more aged than their 4 and 5 expressions.

In the bottle the rum is lovely rich brown with red flashes, in the glass slightly lighter with a gold hint to it.  In terms of an aged rum it certainly looks the part.

The nose is similar to the 12 Centenario.  It smells slightly younger with more sweet alcohol notes on the nose.  It smells reasonably “boozy”.  Despite this you still get notes of good oak ageing.  Nice charred oak and a little bit of toffee.  It has a quite distinctive almost warming note to it similar to the 12.  There is something very pleasant on the nose which I can’t quite place.  Overall the nose is good and despite being slightly strong in terms of alcohol still pretty decent.

As a sipper the Gran Reserva 7 offers a very oaky mouthful.  Bitter notes come to the front following an initial sweet rush of brown sugar which is very short lived.  Despite the nose the alcohol does not dominate the flavour.  The finish is overall quite bitter almost like dark chocolate.  Its long lasting and if a mix of oak and slight bitter notes is what you like, this could be a very nice sipper for you.  I’m conscious I’m not making this sound all that good but in reality I actually quite like this.  It’s fairly rough in terms of alcohol notes but it doesn’t burn badly.  However its youth does show through say in comparison to a more aged sipper.

Flor De Cana7 Gran Reserva Rum review by the fat rum pirateSo whilst Flor De Cana 7 Gran Reserva might not replace my more refined sippers such as Rum Sixty Six and Appleton 12 I felt that it was all round a pretty decent rum.  Nicely blended, didn’t burn too much and something which I find increasingly important…..actually tasted like rum!

Mixing was what I hand in mind when I bought this.  To be honest I did mix the Centenario 12 once I realised it was so very, very boringly average.  I paid over £40 for that bottle so mixing a £17.99 bargain was always going to happen.

So bring on the cola.  I’m actually on to my second bottle of Flor De Cana 7 Gran Reserva now following a repeat purchase (again at £17.99).  It’s a bargain so even if I thought this was just average I likely would still have repeated the purchase.  It’s a good weekend drinker and I probably will only remember drinking some of the bottle…….

Having said that I was actually very pleasantly surprised overall by Flor De Cana 7.  In many ways, even forgetting the price difference – this is actually a better rum than its older brother the 12 Centenario.  It might as daft as it sounds even be the younger blend and the fiery alcohol that brings this drink to life.  For me the Centenario was just dull and lifeless.  It wasn’t awful but it was unexciting and so alarmingly middle of the road I doubt I would even want a bottle at half the price.

Anyway, back to the 7 – mixed with Cola.  The first thing that surprises me with a rum and cola made with the 7 Gran Reserva is the way the rum fights it way to the top.  The nose on the drink is almost as strong as when nosed on its own.  Nice aged charred oak, sweet vanilla, a touch of toffee and a little hint of something else, which I have only noted with Flor De Cana rums – I still cannot quite explain it.  Slightly oaky but slightly fruity.

I like the way the rum stands up to the cola.  Whilst it also takes a slight edge of the bubbliness of the cola and smooths the drink out slightly.  The strong rum taste remains mixed with that slightly boozy feel to it.  With Flor De Cana 7 you feel you are drinking a “stiff drink” but also one that is refined, well aged and nicely blended.

I really like this as a mixer and would definitely recommend it for a more punchy Rum and Cola.  It works on quite a few different levels and is contradictory in many ways but it all seems to come together when you get mixing.

4 stars





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5 comments on “Flor De Cana Gran Reserva 7

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  2. I’m a rum and coke guy and so far this is my favourite rum..

  3. I’ve never had the 12 yr FdC but I have had the 18 yr and unfortunately have to say I felt the same way about it that you did about the 12 yr.

    A couple years ago I got a bottle of the 7 yr for around $15 US online, and at that price I thought it was a great buy. Unfortunately when it came to my state the price was $25. On vacation a few weeks back I found a 1.75 ltr bottle for $36 at which price I grabbed one. Makes a very nice mixer that can be sipped as a “second stringer” so to say – after I have had something better on a clean palate.

    • I’ll be reviewing the 18 soon

  4. This is one of my favorites in the price range… nice flavors with just the right amount of lingering heat. I like anything reasonably priced that can pull double duty as a sipper and mixer.

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