Curiosity, it can get you in trouble, or it can lead to fun discoveries. When exploring rums, curiosity is a driving force behind every product i choose to review. Cuban produced Havana Club rums, often seen as “Forbidden Fruit” in the United States of course would make me curious since so many times I have found that “Forbidden Fruit” is rarely worth the trouble. In our recent travels I was gifted this particular bottle of rum. The rum is created by distilling fermented molasses using a copper lined column still. The liquid that is created during this process is called aguardiente and is placed in American white oak barrels and aged for two years. The aguardiente is removed from the barrels and filtered before some of it is bottled and sold; while the rest is blended with other rums and put back into barrels for additional aging. It is my understanding that this additional aging is the age that actually appears on the bottle. The rum is blended to 40% ABV and bottled for local and international sales.
The rum label on this product provides the basic
information about the product on the front and back labels. The rum has a light straw color in both the bottle and glass. Agitating the liquid creates a medium band that spins off fast moving legs before quickly evaporating, leaving a large quantity of pebbles in their wake.
The aroma of the rum was full of surprises for me. nosing the aroma reminds me of sweet muscadine wine, toasted coconut, sweet pineapple, fresh cut herbaceous tobacco and ending with a slight note of charred oak.
The first sip delivers a rush of sweet fruit, toasted coconut and minerals. Additional sips slow things down and it is easier to define the fruit notes as cooked pineapple, sweet grapes, honey, fresh cut oranges and a zing of lime. There are light undertones of ginger that is highlighted by a hint of black pepper, tobacco leaf, charred oak and minerals that mingle with the fruit flavors in a long pleasant finish.
This time curiosity paid off in a good way. I enjoyed the complexity of the rum and was quite comfortable sipping it neat. However, it really does shine in traditional classic cocktails as well as other drinks that call for an immature rum. When I think about Donn Beach or Victor Bergeron and their bar teams developing Tiki cocktails back in the 40’s and 50’s; it is easy for me to imagine this being the kind of Cuban rum they were using in their recipes. This is a fun one to experiment with and I will make sure to try and keep a bottle in stock for the bar. I am well aware for the readers outside the U.S. this is probably old news, but for those of us dealing with the ongoing embargo and restricted distribution of Cuban products in America, it is good to know if a product is worth the luggage space. In this case i definitely recommend picking a bottle up on your travels.