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Cuba’s Top Five Rums

Cuba’s Top Five Rums

Posted by PanamericanWorld on May 14, 2018

Rum, tobacco and coffee make up a trilogy that tastes and smells of Cuba. Good rums are produced in the Caribbean, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, but the Cuban spirit, made of sugar cane, has a special touch that turns it into an unrivaled and internationally renowned drink.

Why is Cuban rum different (and better)? According to Havana Club Master Rum Maker, Jose Navarro, there is no secret for its making, so its exquisite quality is not related to some mysterious formula, but to a culture that has been inherited and passed on from generation to generation. Cuba seems to have the gift of sugar cane and rum, since this gramineae perfectly grows in this land and the molasses taken from it features unique quality, with a natural micro flora that turns this eau-de-vie into a truly special drink, Mr. Navarro said.

How to tell the difference between rums? The aging process is the first element to be taken into account. The white rum is the youngest of all, since it has spent less time in casks. This variety of rum is mostly used to prepare drinks, since its taste is more neutral; while aged rum features taste characteristics that range from vanilla to caramel. Such characteristics can be better felt when drinking straight, with some ice; although some drinks are to be prepared by using aged rum in order to obtain a special taste.

Havana Club Rum

Havana Club is a joint venture between State-run company Cuba Ron and French Pernod Ricard (each member control 50 percent of the business). This brand has been registered in over 140 countries and marketed in nearly 130 of them (except for the Unites States because of the economic Embargo). In 2018, the company plans to sell 4.5 million nine-liter boxes of rum, including white rums, 3 años (3 year-aged rums), añejo blanco (white-aged rum) and the whole range of dark rums. Cuba is the main market of Havana Club, followed by Europe, Canada, Mexico and Chile. British Drink International magazine gave Havana Club the 21-23 positions within its top 100 international brands ranking.

Havana Club has spent decades in an intense fight with Bacardí. This company markets a rum with the same name in the United States, but it is produced in Puerto Rico; while the rest of the world buys Havana Club made in Cuban distilleries. These legal battles have favored both sides, although recent decisions show that Havana Club International finally won the registration of the brand and its product could be marketed… when the Embargo is no longer in force. During the thaw period between Washington and Havana, one of the Obama Administration’s decisions was to allow U.S. and Cuban American citizens to legally introduce in the country some bottles of rum from Cuba.

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Ron Caney

Ron Caney is made in Santiago de Cuba and its name pays tribute to the house where Cuban natives used to live. Nowadays, this rum is marketed in Spain, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Luxemburg, Switzerland, England, Czech Republic and many other countries. There are different types of Ron Caney: Oro 5 años, which is aged in oak casks during five years and is highly used to prepare cocktails; Carta Blanca 3 años, perfect for such drinks as famous mojito; Añejo Centuria, a blend of seven-year aged rums that is usually drank on the rocks.

Ron Legendario  

This rum has been produced in Cuba since 1946 and one of its specific characteristics, with high impact on its taste, is that ancient methods are applied to make it, such as the use of American oak casks. Legendario includes: Carta Blanca Superior, Añejo Blanco, Dorado, Elixir de Cuba, Añejo and Gran Reserva 15 Años.

According to the company, Añejo Blanco is great to prepare refreshing drinks with pleasant end taste, such as mojitos or daiquiri; while Carta Blanca Superior’s aroma is very special and has a wood-like taste that makes it perfect for most of rum-based cocktails, including popular piña colada. Legendario’s Dorado is excellent for “Cuba Libre” drink. Añejo and Gran Reserva should be tastes straight or on the rocks.

Ron Santiago

This rum is also made in Santiago de Cuba and that’s where its name comes from. The product line engulfs Carta Blanca, Añejo, Añejo Superior and Extra Añejos. This brand is marketed in Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, the Russian Federation, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Japan, Malaysia, Ecuador and Chile.

According to Cuba Ron Corporation, Carta Blanca is an early aged rum, a light drink, soft to be enjoyed by the palate. It is light for blends and soft for straight with ice. Añejo, which is also light and soft, strengths its characteristics through a long aging process. Añejo Superior (11 years) is a combination of the sugar cane body expressed in its sweetness and the spirit of its long-aged eau-de-vie. On the other hand, Extra Añejo line (12, 20 and 25 years) stand out for the long-lasting taste and aroma.

Ron Cubay

Cubay is an Araucan terms in which “ay” stands for city near a river. Cubay is one of Cuba Rum, S.A’s most recent brands. It offers two lines: Carta Blanca and Añejo, with such products as Carta Dorada, Añejo Suave, Reserva Especial 10 Años, Elixir 33 and Cubay 1870. Moreover, Cubay produces an array of liquors (Café, Cacao, Curacao Azul, Granadina, Marrasquino, Menta, Piña, Plátano, Triple Sec, Anís, Limón and Coco). The factory for these products is based in Santo Domingo, in the central region of the country.

As for Cubay Carta Blanca, with an amber touch due to its three-year aging process, is the perfect product to be blended with Cubay liquors that offer several tastes in cocktails. Añejo has been designed for consumers looking for light rum, who prefer naturally aged products that allow them to enjoy the cane aroma and fine bouquet obtained after five years of aging in an oak cask.

By D. Garcia – PanamericanWorld, Havana

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