Okay, so it’s time I gave Ford, Kosmas, Zaric, Barnekow and Roth their just due, and NO, they are not a law firm, although they sure sound like it. Individually they are high end players in the spirits biz, and collectively, they have formed 86.co and hidden it in Ukiah, California. And if you have been following this column for the past three weeks, then you are already familiar with some of their new product lines: Aylesbury Duck Vodka, Tequila Cabeza, Ford’s Gin and this week’s Cana Brava Rum.
This illustrious group has decided that rather than import and represent someone else’s spirits, they would go out and resource or create brands up to their standards and tastes, and so far so good. The previous three spirits of theirs we’ve taste tested have scored quite well, so let’s round out their portfolio with a go at Cana Brava Rum.
I have to give them credit for their labeling because on all these products they have utilized every square inch of space to tell the entire story of each product, and I do mean the entire story. You will not learn any more about any of these spirits than you can from just reading the label, not even by visiting their websites. For example, let me read you part of this label: “Cana Brava Rum is made from sugar cane molasses from Herrera, Panama. It is continuously distilled in a copper and brass still built in 1922 by the American and Brass Works of Cincinnati and distilled at Las Cabras by master distiller “Don Pancho”, J. Fernandez who made rum in his native Cuba for more than 35 years before moving to Panama. It is aged 3 years in a combination of un-charred American white oak and used Bourbon barrels and blended with older rums for consistency. It is carbon filtered and recommended for daiquiris.” Honest to God, all that information is on the label!!! Oh yeah, and it’s 86 proof or 43% alcohol by volume. Believe it or not, there’s even more information on the label, so if you want the whole story, go out and buy a bottle and settle in for a nice long read.
Okay, enough background information, let’s get down to brass tacks, which I am surprised do not come with the bottle. The color of the rum is a warm off-white undoubtedly caused by the barrel ageing. The nose is warm with a hint of minerals and butter and grass with no alcohol vapors and not as sweet as I had anticipated it might be. The palate is full bodied and smooth with notes of citrus and vanilla and oak and finally a touch of that elusive sweetness, followed by a pinch of pepper. The oak is surprisingly subdued and well balanced and not over-oaked. It is complex without being complicated. The finish is medium in length leaving behind the taste of sweet oaky citrus. On the rocks, it takes on a more earthy flavor as the sweetness and citrus notes become very subdued with the oak becoming more discernible.
I do believe I have to agree with the copy on the bottle that states that this rum is recommended for daiquiris as its flavors do tend to shine through all the other ingredients. I am not tempted to drink this rum straight up or on the rocks, but in a rum and coke or a daiquiri, it is definitely the rum of choice. You can find Cana Brava Rum for around $30.00 per 750ml bottle.
By George Brozowski