As good as the golf is at Guacalito de la Isla, as much as I appreciate the sugar sand beach just off the David McLay Kidd course and the plunge pool at my spacious villa overlooking the Pacific, I may like a couple of amenities at this Nicaraguan resort even more. And they would be the rum and cigar rooms.
My new best friend, Juan Salvador, conducted tastings for me at both the other night. We started with rum, sampling five of the offerings from Flor de Caña, a Nicaraguan producer that happens to be owned by the man who built this resort, Don Carlos Pellas. The Extra Light 4-year-old is a nice way to prep the palate, and then Juan Salvador moves us into darker and more complex creations. Such as the 5-year-old Classico, the Gran Reserva that is seven years old and the luscious color of caramel and the Centenario, which is aged for a dozen years. Then, we go for the gold, or more accurately the 18-year-old rum called Centenario Gold, and I fairly coo as flavors of butterscotch and vanilla light up my mouth.
I take a glass of that nectar with me as I follow Juan Salvador to the cigar room, just next door. There are a number of top brands to consider, including several from Cuba. But I gravitate to the Nicaraguan heaters, most specifically the Flor de las Antillas that Cigar Aficionado recently named Cigar of the Year. I find it to be a most worthy winner, with hints of pepper and citrus in the first few pulls and then almost creamy in taste. It also burns beautifully.
“Bueno?” Juan Salvador asks as I savor both the smoke that I am blowing slowly through my lips and the satisfying bite of the Centenario Gold in the back of my throat. And I can only smile.
Muy bueno, indeed.