HAL 2019 Repositioning – Days 6-7 Sea Day and Corinto, Nicaragua

May 25, 2019 Paul Groves

We arrived in Corinto around 7:00 am and were greeted by a band and some of the local children who performed several dances for us.  Very entertaining.  The band stayed around most of the day.

We had visited Corinto in 2017 and decided to make it an easy day.  So today’s excursion was a visit to the Flor de Caña rum distillery.

It was a short drive to the site where we were immediately greeted with a shot of 7 year old Rum.  Our guide gave us a quick explanation of how sugarcane is turned into sugar and molasses.  We also got to smell a sample of the molasses they use in the fermentation process to make rum.

Up next on the tour was barrel making.  These oak barrels are imported from the US and other countries and refinished here using a local plant fiber to seal them.  They’re then sent to the banding machine where tremendous pressure is applied to the barrels and the metal bands are seated into the final position.  The barrels are then tested for leaks.

A stack of the empty barrels made a great photo op.

Unfortunately the tour didn’t include a tour of the barrel filling facility but they did take us to one of aging buildings.  We couldn’t take pictures here due to the fire hazard of the evaporating alcohol from the barrels in the air.  The smell was so strong that you might get intoxicated with a prolonged exposure.  This building was a small one and only held a few thousand barrels.  Aging buildings in other locations hold tens of thousands of barrels.  Each of the aging buildings contained rum from various production years to protect the vintages in case of fire or other disaster.

Next stop was at the Family Reserve vault.  This is where the owners kept the private stock of rum.   Now it’s been turned into a tasting room.  Here we were treated to a short explanation of how to perform a tasting and then we tasted a special 18 year old rum.  Very delicious!

Of course our last stop was at the distillery boutique where we could buy various flavored and aged rums.  The oldest rum was 30 years old.  We made a couple of purchases, reboarded the bus, and returned to the ship.

Unlike the world cruise, there are no watercolor classes during the repositioning cruise, but Paul did work on an image of a Keel-Billed Toucan like the ones we saw at the port in Cartagena, Colombia.