Since the introduction of sugar cane to the country in the late 16th century, it has played a crucial role in Nicaragua’s economy. It took two centuries, but the country’s rum industry has finally emerged as an outlet for this crop and distillers have started to produce a spirit that reflected Nicaragua’s climate.
Today, rum is a religion in Nicaragua and Flor de Caña is one of the oldest and most important brands, regarded by many locals as the country’s symbolic rum. Flor De Caña has been producing rum since the 1890s using a process that is emblematic of a place known as “the country of lakes and volcanoes.”
In 2012, Flor de Caña started offering tours that allow visitors to learn about the distillery’s rich history and taste their award-winning rum. With roots dating back to 1890, the production of Flor de Caña rum has been overseen by the same family for five generations. Due to political unrest in Nicaragua in the 1980s, the company began stockpiling their product and as a result, Flor de Caña now owns one of the largest reserves of aged rum in the world.
Flor de Caña is aged naturally in white oak bourbon barrels, shipped from Kentucky, which have already been charred and used to age bourbon for at least a year. The rum picks up recognizable bourbon-like oak and vanilla flavours from the barrels, adding complexity to its profile. The rum-filled barrels are sealed using plantain leaves – part of the distillery’s commitment to eco-friendly practices. Flor de Caña’s distilling process is powered by renewable energy and the company plants 50,000 trees each year to further minimize its footprint.
Brothers in Lava
Nicaragua is home to 19 volcanoes, including the Masaya, below. San Cristóbal, its northern sibling and the tallest volcano in Nicaragua, plays an active role in the creation of Flor de Caña’s rum. Mineral-rich volcanic ash rises out of the volcano’s depths and lands on the ground, fertilizing the soil. Rainwater soaks into the absorbent earth and carries these nutrients down into underground reserves. This process, combined with volcanic temperatures and Nicaragua’s tropical climate all contribute to the smooth and delicious flavour of the rum.
The Flor de Caña distillery is located in Chinandega, a couple hours’ drive northwest of Managua. Full transportation to the distillery and back is available through Uniglobe Yupitours. Distillery tours can be reserved through tourflordecana.com including the VIP version where they throw in a personalized bottle of the Ron Flor de Caña 18-year-aged rum.