Nicaragua vs. Colombia! Both are countries I have very fond memories of (from the days before I could drink rum), but let’s leave all that sentimentality aside and get to tasting some rum!! It’s been almost a week since my last tasting, which is putting me behind schedule, but oh well, such is life, right? The important thing is I got to do one today, and here it is. The glasses were labelled in their usual hidden spots, the rums poured, and the blind tasting was ready:
The first glass opened up with slightly fruity, but not too sweet, aroma. Something like warm nectarines, if that makes any sense. It also had hints of vanilla and maybe a bit of apple popping up here and there. This actually led to a hotter than expected opening taste with smoke and peppers, but still that same warm sweetness in there. It then settled to a smokey, woody middle, where it lost what I found to be a very pleasant complexity it had at the beginning. The heat faded a bit and then ramped up some in the end, where the rum closed with a rather quick dry oaky finish that kinda left me wanting more. I took a second sip quickly and picked up even more of that fruity opening, but still that middle seemed lacking, such a shame too, because with its nose and opening taste had been excellent.
The second glass started with a very clear caramel smell on wood, like when you were little and tried to make rock candy, but you ended up burning it and then you tried to stir it with a wooden spoon. No? Just me? OK. The alcohol sting was barely noticeable in the smell. This was actually true of both rums, which allowed me to keep my untrained nose near the spirit for longer trying to pick out more smells. Bananas, and mangoes came to mind. The taste started with just enough of a bite to wake up your tastebuds and then coated your mouth with caramel goodness laced with fruit and some spice, until it closed with a warm and lingering finish. This wasn’t a bold rum, instead, it tasted like a very refined and well-crafted spirit.
The choice was pretty obvious to me, the second glass had delivered a whole package, whereas the first had its moments, but failed to give me a complete experience. I turned the glasses over to reveal that Flor de Caña was the second glass (no surprise there really). As I always do, I poured another small serving of each and tasted them openly to confirm my results. There was no change in the outcome, but I had to give Viejo de Caldas more points for it strong opening, which I am learning is something I really like in a rum. The winner was Flor de Caña Centenario Gold.
Next Up: Group D Battle – Westerhall Plantation vs. Clement VSOP