Diving into Havana Club today, and if anyone from America reads this – it’s the one made in Cuba, not the one marketed as Havana Club from Bacardi. I won’t go into the whys and the whats of that issue as there are plenty of articles online about that and it might be a long read.
Giving that Cuba was a Spanish colony it wasn’t allowed to distill rum because Spain was afraid it would compete with its own spirits, therefore Cuba started producing rum during late 1700s but it really took off in the 19th century after gaining its independence. At that time the continuous distillation technology (column still) was already available and Cuban distillers embraced quite early and started to produce a light style of rum.
Seleccion de Maestros is a collaborative effort between all the Maestros Roneros (people that oversee al stages of Cuban rum production) from Havana. Made from molasses and distilled in column stills, it’s being described as triple aged. I couldn’t find the exact info of the process, but what I know is that all Cuban rum has to be aged for at least 2 years and then filtered in order to be called rum, so I’ll assume that’s part of the “triple ageing” – if you know otherwise please do leave a comment. The whole process consists of choosing different aged rums which are then blended and aged again in “hand selected white oak barrels”. Bottled at 45% ABV, apparently that would be the cask strength in Cuba. No sugar added as the internet tells me.
On the nose it’s quite oaky in a pleasant way. Caramelised bananas, vanilla, tobacco, cocoa, burnt orange zest and a tad of golden syrup aroma. Some oaky spices to season everything. Nice and quite complex.
On the palate I get charred oak smoke straight away followed by caramel, toffee, tonka beans, vanilla, coffee and some earthy notes. Tobacco again (I really want a Cuban cigar), raisins and a touch of citrus to balance everything. The finish lingers for a bit with the caramel and tobacco making a reappearance.
Definitely Cuban-ish, but a lot more complex than I was expecting. Just a tad too pricey for me as this style isn’t usually my cup of tea, but for a Cuban rum lover this can easily hit the spot.
Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros score:
Value for money: 11/15