Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Flo: One of Nicaragua's Three Great Ladies

It is everywhere, from the arrival hall at the International Airport in Managua to the most remote village, everywhere Flor De Cana. She is the national elixir, a world treasure, the best of its kind, one of the three great ladies of Nicaragua along with Vicki and Toni (more on that later).

Nicaragua is rich in sugar cane and thus rich in its most sublime byproduct, rum. Unforunately, the lack of a major distributor has meant that in the US Flor De Cana is hard to find. Thus US citizens think Bacardi or Captain Morgan is the best. Phooey.

She, in her best iterations, is as dark and smooth as fine teakwood. Sweet but not sugary, the sweetness is subtle yet unmistakable. A wonderful aroma, rich and earthy. Even the light versions are light years ahead of bacardi and such. Flo would never insult you with an alcohol-y taste. She thinks she is brandy.

My favorite is the Centenario D'Oro or Centennial Gold. Aged 18 years she is a work of art. I will personally beat anyone who dares waste this liquid gold by combining it with Coca Cola. The International Wine and Spirits Competition took note of her glory:

The International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC), in London, England, awarded Gold Medal and Best in Class to Flor de Cana Centenario Gold 18 year-old. Judges notes were "A Massive majesty in huge nose packed with treacle, caramel, and vanilla but in stupendous elegance. Delicate sugars float in a wave of esters and tantalize the nose while full flavors satisfy the palate. Wonderful richness yet all in sheer elegance. A quality of product that is a surprise to the world at large. ExcellentÂ".

Massive Majesty indeed. In my return luggage were 2 bottles of Centenario Gold (one wating for the annual men's retreat this fall), a Centenario 12, and 2 Grand Reserves for mixing. I enjoyed a shot of the 21 a special limited edition that to me was not much different than the D'oro at a significantly lower price.

For the more expensive versions, I prefer it stright up with a sliver of ice. Grand Reserve and lower is good for mixing. In the stores, a Centenario is about $11, a Grand Reserve about $7. In the states, a Grand Reserve will set you back $30 easy..if you can find it. Centenario 12 is around $60, the 18yr old Gold... not even available, only found at duty free shops in Managua.

If ever you can find it, or wish to come to my house, try some Ron Flor De Cana. It is the spirit and taste of Nicaragua, one that is never forgotten.


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