Hey, new Havana Club rum… with the word “Puerto Rican” on the bottle. You’re excused for any possible confusion. See, even though most drinkers know Havana Club as a Cuban brand, Puerto Rico-based Bacardi owns the U.S. rights to the brand name. Hence, two different rums sharing the same name.
This particular Havana Club rum is based on the original recipe created by the Arechabala family in Cuba in 1934. The recipe was personally transcribed by Ramon Arechabala and given to Bacardi as part of an agreement between the two families. And having purchased the Havana Club brand from the Arechabala’s, Bacardi continues to maintain U.S. ownership of the brand. That hasn’t come without some contention, though, as the US government recently granted the Cuban government a trademark for Havana Club. Bacardi has since filed a lawsuit to reaffirm its ownership. So it’s all a bit nebulous, but the fact is: now we’ve got distinct Havana Club rums being produced by two different companies and in two different countries.
Anyway, let’s taste it.
Havana Club Añejo Clásico Puerto Rican Rum is a blend of rums aged between one and three years. After blending, the rum is put back into oak for another three months. On the nose, you’ll find molasses, vanilla, oak and spice. Take a sip, and the brown sugar-molasses character takes a backseat, as tropical fruits (pineapple, banana) and mild citrus come to the forefront. That’s supplemented by some grain notes and a hint of almonds, and the whole thing finishes dry and grippy with lots of spice.
There’s a nice mix of flavors working here, but the overall package is a little thin. That’s probably to be expected considering the age, and few rums this young sport rich mouthfeels and are meant to be sipped straight as nightcaps. That said, with an affordable price tag ($22/bottle), you’ve got a good candidate for mixing into cocktails. And we’ll be perfectly content to reach for this bottle the next time we’re mixing up a rum collins.
— 40% ABV
CE Rating: ★★★
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