Havana Club is calling on bartenders around the world to join a global Cocktail Boomerang on Saturday 7th October to celebrate ‘Día del Cantinero’ (Day of the Bartender) in recognition of the skills of the bartending profession.
Meimi Sanchez, Global Brand Ambassador for Havana Club, is calling bartenders to participate in the campaign and asking them to donate £7 for people affected by the natural disasters in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and North America and Asia.
Meimi and Havana Club are challenging bartenders to make a video of themselves creating a Havana Club 7 Old Fashioned cocktail with a link to their city. They then have to send the drink to another bartender, and challenge another seven bartenders to continue the Cocktail Boomerang.
Using the hashtags #BARTENDAGAINST and #HAVANABOOMERANG, participating bartenders can share the video, tag another bartender’s names and bar’s name on Facebook or Instagram, as well as share a link to the Just Giving Website (www.justgiving.com/fundraising/hc7boomerang).
The Cocktail Boomerang will unfold around the world simultaneously, including London, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Leeds, Chester, Dublin, Paris, Singapore, Auckland, Mexico City and Moscow. Bars interested in taking part should contact Meimi Sanchez, Global Brand Ambassador Havana Club at Meimi.firstname.lastname@example.org or register their interest through the ‘Bartend Against’ Facebook page.
The money raised will be given to GlobalGiving.com, the first and largest global crowdfunding community that connects not-for-profit, donors and companies, who will help hand pick local charities in the worst affected areas.
Nick Blacknell, Marketing Director at Havana Club International, comments: “We would like to persuade bartenders around the globe to continue raising money throughout the one-month long campaign”. Bartenders are encouraged to host activities in their bars, leaving a jar on their bar to collect funds for this project, or donating a percentage of their tips via the JustGiving page.
Additionally, Havana Club has offered to donate 7.000€ as well to alleviate the problems caused by the natural disasters.
To find out more, visit Havana Club Grand Prix Facebook page to watch a video featuring Meimi Sanchez and ‘Bartend Against’, available from Saturday 7th October.
Havana Club, the global leading rum in the super-premium and above category, has been awarded five Double Gold or Gold medals at the world’s most influential spirits competitions this year, including top medals from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Beverage Tasting Institute and International Spirits Challenge.
Havana Club 7 Years Old was awarded a Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition – one of the most respected and influential competitions in the world. The judges were impressed with the rich, smooth and complex flavours of this exceptional rum – honouring the continuous ageing process that makes Havana Club 7 Years Old one of the finest, premium Cuban sipping rums. “The Foundational rum” – as it is widely known for laying the foundations for quality dark aged rum – also scored 92 points at the Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago.
In addition, Havana Club 3 Years Old claimed its second Gold medal in a row at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and its fifth consecutive Gold medal at the Beverage Testing Institute.
Havana Club Selección de Maestros, first expression of the Icónica Collection, also received high p raise at the International Spirits Challenge, where it was honoured with a Gold medal, adding to the already extensive list of trophies earned by this triple barrel aged rum, which is crafted through an extraordinary collaboration between the eight members of the Guild of Masters of Cuban Rum.
Nick Blacknell, International Marketing Director at Havana Club International, commented on the continued success of the Havana Club portfolio: “The broad recognition we have received from the world’s leading spirits tasting competitions demonstrates the quality crafting skills of our Maestros del Ron Cubano. We are incredibly proud of the production team in Cuba, as they are the ones who know the “añejamiento” (ageing) technique – a distinctive ageing process that is exclusive to Cuban rum. We dedicate our five leading medals to the whole team of Maestros and look forward to the 2018 awards season”.
Havana Club, the global leading rum in the super-premium and above category, has released Havana Club Tributo 2017; a new prestige sipping rum blended from the finest aged rum reserves. The second instalment of the Tributo Collection, a series of the finest rums from Havana Club’s aged reserves, was unveiled at the Cuban Habanos Festival last week and will have a limited release of 2,500 bottles globally.
Havana Club Tributo 2017 has been crafted by Asbel Morales, Havana Club Maestro del Ron Cubano, from a new blend of hand-selected base rums and a decades-old ‘aguardiente’ – or spirit base. The ‘aguardiente’ is at the heart of this rum, and has been enhanced by maturation in barrels that are over 80 years old. The result is an exceptional rum with a distinctive dry note and an intriguing array of flavours, highlighting and paying homage to the finest Cuban sugar cane. The 2017 edition is bottled at 40% ABV, with an amber glow and flavours of chocolate, tobacco and coffee.
Following the success of the 2016 edition, Havana Club Tributo 2017 demonstrates a new style of Cuban rum, showcasing the richness and variety of styles found within the authentic Cuban rum category. The new expression is on sale in six extra markets this year, totalling 16, from March at the RRP of 350 EUR per 70 cl.
This unique blend of Havana Club’s exceptional rum reserves honours the passion and knowledge of the Maestros del Ron Cubano, a role that has recently been declared a Cultural Patrimony of the Cuban nation by the Culture Ministry in Cuba. As such, each bottle of Havana Club Tributo is individually numbered and adorned with the signature of Havana Club Maestro del Ron Cubano, Asbel Morales. The outer packaging will entice rum connoisseurs and spirits drinkers alike with luxury green gold cues evoking the sugar cane lands used for generations in the production of authentic Cuban rum.
Asbel Morales comments: “The extensive reserves at the Havana Club distillery provided us with a wealth of luxurious aged rums to experiment with. By blending together a decades-old aguardiente and our precious rums, we have achieved a totally new rum experience that is lively and complex, with a remarkable dry taste imparted by the original Cuban sugar cane character of the aguardiente. Havana Club Tributo 2017 celebrates the craftsmanship at the heart of the production of premium rum, from the cane to the cask, and we hope rum drinkers around the world will enjoy it.”
Nick Blacknell, International Marketing Director at Havana Club International, adds: “We are delighted to have launched the latest edition in the Havana Club Tributo Collection and we look forward to building on the success of Tributo 2016. With only 2,500 bottles of Havana Club Tributo 2017 being released worldwide, we expect the expression to be popular among global rum and dark spirits connoisseurs who are looking for the next authentic Cuban rum to add to their repertoire.”
Cuban bartender Amaury Cepeda has picked up the coveted champion’s trophy at the 11th biannual Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix, one of the longest running and largest cocktail-making challenges in the world! Running for over 20 years, the popular event is an exceptional tribute to the Cuban cocktail tradition and to Havana Club. Amaury beat bartenders from over 40 countries in a two-day finale in Havana, Cuba and cemented his place as one of the top rum mixologists in the world.
The thirteen finalists were tasked with creating the next rum classic serve by combining Cuba’s cocktail tradition, authenticity and local ingredients with their own personal experiences. Amaury impressed the expert panel of judges with his cocktail, Cunyaya, which included Havana Club 7 Year Old, bitter orange and cane sugar juice, honey and Havana Club Essence of Cuba to create a serve worthy of a true Cuban Cantinero. The cocktail was inspired by the traditions of the slaves brought to Cuba in 1515 and created after an immersive, five-day brand experience with seminars, workshops and masterclasses courtesy of the Havana Club team.
In a Havana Club first, Amaury has won the unique opportunity to undertake a global rum project jointly with Havana Club and in-line with his ambitions, such as creating his own rum, writing a book on the spirit or even creating his own rum pop-up. He will also be returning as a judge at the next global final in 2018.
Povilas Veilandas from Lithuania and Marian Krause from Germany were awarded second and third place at the highly-contested final. The exclusive judging panel included mixologists from the World’s 50 Best Bars including Hidetsugo Ueno (Japan), Renato ‘Tato’ Giovannoni (Argentina), Alejandro Bolívar (Cuba) and Thanos Prunarus (Greece), plus cocktail and tiki expert Scotty Schuder and winner of the 2014 competition, Andy Loudon. Renowned spirits writer Dave Broom also joined the judging team while award-winning drink historians Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller, authors of over 36 titles including Cuban Cocktails, collaborated with Havana Club to curate the event.
Nick Blacknell, International Marketing Director of Havana Club, comments: “As all of the talented contestants have demonstrated over the course of the event, there is simply no better way to make a Cuban cocktail than with a true spirit born and produced in Cuba. Havana Club is known here and around the world as “El Ron de Cuba” and represents the true Cuban soul. The talent on show this year is testament to the continued popularity of the Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix amongst bartenders and reinforces its position as a global influencer on Cuban cocktail making. Cepeda’s great skill and creativity really impressed the judges this year, so we can’t wait to start our collaboration in support of his dream rum project. We have no doubt that a bright career lies ahead of him and look forward to inspiring many more classic serves in the years to come.”
Amaury Cepeda, from Taberna Yayabu Bar in Cuba, winner of the 11th Havana Club Grand Prix comments: “Cuban cantineros must have all their senses in their cocktail; their heart, their soul and a profound respect towards bartending. I am very proud to have won the 11th Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix and I am very looking forward to starting my collaboration with Havana Club. Above all, I am excited about having the opportunity to continue to better myself!”
Havana Club has unveiled a new design for its 7 Year Old expression which is renowned for putting Cuban rum on the map as the global leader of the super-premium rum category. The new Havana Club 7 bottle will be available to purchase from May.
The new bottle celebrates Havana Club’s Cuban roots with a simple shape that mirrors the design of the country’s traditional sipping rums. While retaining its sensual curves, the carefully detailed craft label presents new multi-coloured edges that mirror the vibrancy of Havana.
A series of colourful neck tags encourage consumers to discover the craftsmen behind the super-premium expression – from coopers to rum masters – at http://www.Havana-People.com. Don José Navarro, the creator of Havana Club 7 Year Old, is pictured on the back label as if offering his rum to the upcoming generations of rum aficionados.
Nick Blacknell, Marketing Director at Havana Club International, comments: “As the leading 100% authentic Cuban rum brand available globally, we are very excited to unveil a new look for Havana Club Añejo 7 Años that speaks of our proud Cuban roots and the people behind this revered rum. Capitalising on the growing global demand for high quality rum, this new bottle will bring our Cuban spirit to international Havana Club fans and spirits enthusiasts alike and continue to support our leadership of the super-premium rum category*.”
The newly designed bottle will be rolled out globally from May at the same RRP.
Havana Club, the global leading rum in the super-premium and above category, has launched the Havana Club Tributo Collection, with packaging designed by Nude Brand Creation.
The new series of limited editions created with exceptional rum reserves are set to be unveiled annually at the Cuban Habanos Festival.
With only 2,500 bottles of each rum being released, the Havana Club Tributo Collection is set to appeal to spirits connoisseurs and collectors alike. As a tribute to the best that Cuban rum has to offer, Havana Club Maestro Ronero, Asbel Morales, will personally select the finest aged bases from cellar reserves to create each release.
The 2016 limited edition is led by a base of rums aged in 80-year old casks, which have been carefully blended with other rums to give an aromatic and intense taste with defining notes of dried tropical fruits and a deep amber colour.
Inspired by Cuba’s architecture.
Co-founder of Nude Brand Creation, Bernard Gormley, says: “The packaging was inspired by the wide variety of architectural styles in Cuba, in particular the Spanish baroque and the neoclassical, which complement each other so perfectly, just like the blend of different rums selected to make the product. The filigree and detailing intrigued us and influenced the graphics, along with the colour blue – the national colour of Cuba, and gold that enhance the luxury cues and on-shelf standout.”
Continues Gormley: “The background pattern on the bottle label and gift pack was inspired by the ceramic tiles found in walkways, walls and floors of Havana. The signature of Maestro Ronero Asbel Morales and the individual number of each bottle is displayed on the intricate premium label.”
Asbel Morales, Maestro Ronero for Havana Club, comments: “Creating the Havana Club Tributo Collection is a fascinating process, as each release will provide a new and unique taste experience, achieved through experimentation with rum bases from our reserves.
“By blending rums using very old and rare casks, we have been able to create an expression for 2016 with a luxurious amber glow, full-bodied fruit flavours and a long finish.”
The Havana Club Tributo Collection 2016 is bottled at 40% ABV and will be available in ten markets, including Cuba, UK and China, from March 2016 at the RRP of $350 USD.
Cuba has a history when it comes to rums. Both Bacardi and Havana, two of the biggest names in the rum world, have an affiliation with the country. But there’s a third, and that name has hit the UK shores these past few years.
Hailing from the centrally located Santo Dominco distillery of Cuba Ron S.A in Villa Clara, Ron Cubay, or the ‘Taste of the Centre’, has been in production since 1967, but only in 2010 did it reach Europe after initially being created solely for domestic consumption. Cuba’s climate makes it one of the best places to produce sugar cane, the basis of any rum, and of course the base for Ron Cubay’s expressions.
So how does the newcomer fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on the core range –
Ron Cubay Carta Blanca – 38%
Aged for three years. A slight scent of sugarcane on the nose that follows onto the palate. A warmth develops with flavours of fruit and dry wood combining. Bursts of fresh sugar hit near the end, and creates a mouth-watering finish. Lingers a little.
Ron Cubay Añejo – 38%
Aged in white oak for more than five years. A blend of light honey and demerara sugar on the nose, with the wood notes coming through at the end. Starts slowly with vanilla flavours, but develops with a rush of fresh sugar, flesh juicy fruit and a finish of leather and raisin. A long, slightly dry end.
Ron Cubay Reserva Especial– 40%
Aged for ten years in oak barrels. A dark treacle nose is present, with a thick honey glaze on the end. Chewy on the palate, with a soft, velvet texture of dark fruits, raisins, smoked fudge and heavy oak tannins. Incredibly long and inviting.
Some really great tots on their own, but for something like the Carta Blanca, you may find it more suited towards this –
45 ml Ron Cubay Carta Blanca
20 ml Lime juice
5 ml Simple syrup
Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain in chilled Martini glass.
The Reserva Especial is a cracking expression, very different to what you would expect, and a worthy winner of the Best Premium Rum at the 2012 Dutch Rum Awards. The Ron Cubay packaging is also an award winner, as well as the Añejo winning Best Golden Rum at the 2012 Dutch Rum Awards. Although there are two more expressions which are available in Cuba but not yet Europe (a 4 yr and 5yr old), you wouldn’t mind too much at all as you’ll be sharing this new brand with your friends and family at home or hopefully soon in your local bar.
Havana Club is a brand that has a presence in nearly every bar in the world. Its versatility with its range can suit most tastes and palates, combined in a cocktail or drunk straight, and will never really be frowned upon if offered. So how do we, or I in particular, come to this conclusion? Lets find out –
Havana Club is produced in Santa Cruz del Norte in Cuba and has done so since José Arechabala created the brand in 1878. Following the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the Havana club brand and its distillery was nationalized by the government and Arechabala emigrated to Spain with his family, before finally moving to America. In 1994, the company was owned by a fifty-fifty partnership between the Cuban government and the drinks giant Pernod Ricard.
This is where it gets a bit confusing between Havana and Bacardi as Bacardi also produce a rum named Havana Club.
After the nationalisation by the Cuban government and the Arechabala family allowed the trademark of Havana Club to lapse in 1973. In 1994 Bacardi entered into an alliance with the Arechabalas, and in 1997 the Arechabalas sold their residual rights to Havana Club to Bacardi, which, among other things, included the recipe for the original Havana Club rum. During 1995 and 1996, Bacardi made a trial production of the rum in the Bahamas and was sold in the United States. However, the Havana Club trademark was in the hands of Havana Club International (the business entity formed by the Cuban Government owners, and Pernod Ricard) and owned the trademark in the United States through Inter-American Conventions.
After more than 10 years of legal struggles between the parties, on August 8, 2006, 5 days after the Cuban version of the trade mark was denied renewal (in the United States), Bacardi released their own version of Havana Club (produced in Puerto Rico). As of today, the trademark dispute has not been settled.
So with a rather rocky end to its back story, lets see how the range actually fare –
Havana Club Añejo Blanco– 37.5%
Aged for 18 months. Light vanilla scent on the nose leading to a well-rounded flavour of citrus and vanilla that develops a slight warmth near the long finish.
Havana Club Añejo Especial – 40%
Light aroma of vanilla on the nose, becoming more apparant on the palate. Sweet flavours of the vanilla mixed with slight citrus notes create a short yet snappy finish.
Havana Club Añejo 3yr – 40%
Deep ginger and marzipan blend on the nose with a slight sweetness on the palate. Citrus and oak mix to create a spicy finish that lingers.
Havana Club Añejo 7yr – 40%
A dry sweetness on the nose with soft fruit and notes of coffee. Very smooth on the palate with lots of rich wood flavours and dry spice on a long finish that mouth-waters.
Havana Club Añejo Reserva – 40%
Toasty aromas with plenty of caramel and vanilla mixing well on the nose. A slight sweetness too that carries over onto the palate. Fresh flavours of the caramel dominate, with a lingering yet bold finish.
Joining the range in 2016, Havana Club have released what they have termed as the ‘Havana Club Tributo Collection‘. As a tribute to the best that Cuban rum has to offer, Havana Club Maestro Ronero, Asbel Morales, has personally selected the finest aged bases from cellar reserves to create each release.
Havana Club Tributo Collection 2016 – 40%
Led by a base of rums aged in 80-year old casks.
Subtle banana notes upon the nose, rising to dried apricots and raisin. Intense banana leaf with bold tropical fruits are present on the palate. Dried kiwi and subtle tobacco notes also available, with a lingering, dry finish of cedar wood.
Havana Club also have what they call the Icónica Collection, containing some of the more prestige expressions available, including –
Havana Club Selección de Maestros – 45%
“In the first place, the Maestros Roneros select all together the finest aged rums that one by one had been put aside for their truly exceptional quality. Afterwards, they blend these rums and put them in specially selected barrels for a further ageing phase. Each barrel is chosen for the powerful and aromatic potential of its wood, in which the rum will develop character and intensity. Finally, the Maestros Roneros get together a second time to select the rums that have come to the perfect maturity to compose the final blend and bottle it straight from the barrel at 45% ABV.”
Soft peanut and dry fudge notes on the nose, with clotted cream and a slightly dry oak lingering. Vanilla flavoured cream with a high kick of butter and oak hit the palate, creating a thin, slightly stewed apple flavour on the long finish, which incidentally becomes bold with tart treacle notes.
Havana Club Añejo 15 Años – 40%
Only 58 barrels a year produced through a process of blending and ageing selected rums and aguardientes several times in old oak barrels, eventually housing within a bottle rum that is aged for at least 15 years.
Rich, ripe red apple, pomegranate and grape notes on the nose. Turns to a slight honey, prunes, almonds and raisin mix on the ending. A slight tartness to begin with on the palate, then wet oak and dry tannins come through. Thick, bold finish with plenty of spice .
Havana Club Unión – 40%
A collaboration between Havana Club’s maestro ronero Asbel Morales and cigar sommelier Fernando Fernandez.
Mango and banana leaf aromas are present on the nose, with, dried prunes with apple and pear scents coming through. Plenty of honey, rich dry spice, chocolate and soft pineapple sit nicely upon the palate, with a long oaked finish of fudge and caramac.
Havana Club Máximo Extra Añejo – 40%
Handcrafted by blending the finest and oldest rum reserves that have been left to age in Havana Club cellars and is a very limited edition of only 1000 bottles a year.
Plenty of molasses and light treacle notes, followed by deep red fruits and dry pine aromas. Rich yet a thin texture, with plenty of heavy oak and whispers of fudge and smoak. Lots of dried fruits, apricot, and honey on the incredibly long finish.
A superbly balanced Iconica Collection, with them all grabbing attention through in certain ways. A great core range too, with the 7 year and Añejo Reserva the best for a sip, whilst the Blanco and 3yr are the best for mixing with cocktails like these –
Vanilla Cassis Mojito
20 ml Havana Club Añejo Blanco
10 ml Vanilla liqueur
10 ml Blackcurrant liqueur
20 ml Fresh lime juice
12 Fresh mint leaves
1tsp White sugar
Lightly muddle the mint leaves, lime juice and sugar. Add crushed ice. Pour the Havana Club Añejo Blanco, the vanilla liqueur and the cassis liqueur into a glass. Stir with a barspoon. Top with soda water.
If you ever get the chance to try the range, you will see why Havana Club is enjoyed in many a bar around the world. The 7yr is my personal favourite, one to stock up on for your own personal collection.
To hear of a story that sets about a journey for one reason and one reason only can really captivate an audience – say for example the story of Matusalem rum.
Two Spanish brothers, Benjamin and Eduardo Camp, together with a third partner, Evaristo Álvarez, left Spain and settled in Cuba for the purpose of establishing a rum distillery. In 1872, the three of them established the Matusalem brand in Santiago de Cuba. The Camp brothers also brought with them their knowledge and expertise in the Solera system of blending and distillation used in making Spanish brandy. In 1912, Benjamin Camp returned to Spain, leaving the company in the hands of his brother Eduardo. The Camp and Alvarez families were united when Evaristo Alvarez’ daughter married the son of Eduardo Camp. During the next 25 years, the Company grew and thrived under the leadership of Claudio Alvarez LeFebre, the son of Evaristo Alvarez. During the 1940’s, Claudio Alvarez LeFebre was succeeded by his son, Claudio Alvarez Soriano. Under his leadership, Matusalem and Company captured fifty percent of the Cuban rum market. Disaster struck the family in 1956 though when the elder Alvarez died, and six months later, the younger Alvarez died of lung cancer.
Following the Cuban revolution 1959, the family-owned Matusalem brand went into exile, and Matusalem and Company was established in the United States. The Cuban government continued to make rum in the former Matusalem factory in Santiago de Cuba, marketing the product as Ron Santiago. Neglect of the Matusalem brand, a result of feuding between three branches of the family, was ended in 1995 when Dr. Claudio Alvarez Salazar, the great-grandson of the founder, gained control of Matusalem and Company in an out-of-court settlement. In 2002, Matusalem and Company was relaunched and is now produced in the Dominican Republic.
Even the logo survived. When Matusalem was founded, flocks of Barn Swallows nested in the barrel aging warehouses. The Barn Swallow, or in Spanish, ‘Golondrina’, was a smooth-flying bird common to the area of Santiago de Cuba. Throughout the day it seemed Barn Swallows were everywhere, flying in and out of the aging warehouses. The swallow was also considered a free flying spirit, possessing beauty and elegance. The Matusalem founders thought it was an appropriate symbol and ultimately a most fitting logo for the Brand.
So how does this relaunch fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Matusalem Platino – 40%
A combination of triple-distilled and double-filtered – an equivalent to a Solera 3 blending process. Subtle vanilla nose with a slight sweetness cutting through. Smooth palate with a developing sweetness and vanilla notes. Lingering dry finish.
Matusalem Clásico 10yr – 40%
Produced with select rums aged in oak barrels, using the Solera process. Soft caramel aromas on the nose with a toffee finish. Smooth beginning on the palate with oak flavours mixed with burnt caramel dominate the long palate.
All great as a tot neat or over ice, but to enjoy a long drink, maybe try out this –
60 ml Matusalem (Patino or Clásico)
Juice of 1/2 lime
30 ml Simple syrup
1 Lime wedge
In a shaker with crushed ice, add Matusalem Rum, lime juice and simple syrup. Stir a few seconds and serve in a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Bacardí is one of the biggest brands in the world, yet I can not believe that I am yet to feature it in any way shape or form. So in response to this, lets take a look at how Bacardí is the name of rum, and why it is enjoyed in nearly every country *.
1814 heralded the birth of Don Facundo Bacardí Massó, the founder and mastermind behind the Bacardí rum. In the late 1800’s, Cuban’s were becoming tired of the usual pirate rum found on the island, which Don Facundo Bacardí Massó realised, and set out to pioneer a new distilling process. After experimenting with several techniques he hit upon filtering the rum through charcoal, which removed impurities. In addition to this, Don Facundo aged the rum in white oak barrels, which had the effect of “mellowing” the drink. The final product was the first clear, or “white” rum in the world.
He opened his first distillery and planted a coconut palm at its entrance. it survived earthquakes, wars and distillery fires, leading to the prophecy that the company would survive Cuba as long as ‘El Coco’ lived. Not surprising then that when the Bacardí family were exiled from Cuba, El Coco died. To this day, a coconut palm is planted at every Bacardí Company facility.
Another well-known sign is the bat. In the early years of the Bacardí production, Doña Amalia Moreau, Don Facundo Bacardi’s wife, discovered a colony of fruit bats living in the rafters of their distillery. In both Spanish and local folklore, the bat had long since been associated with good health, fortune and family unity, which Doña Amalia Moreau convinced her husband to use the symbol on every bottle that was produced.
In 1876, Bacardí won itself its first international award at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition for product quality and innovation. Its first of many as Bacardí is now recognised as the worlds most awarded rum. A year later, Emilio Bacardí took over as President as Don Facundo retired. The awards didn’t stop coming though, after being awarded a gold medal for product quality at the Barcelona Exhibition of 1888, the Queen Regent of Spain Maria Cristina named Bacardí as Purveyors of the Spanish Royal Household. Bacardí Rum became known as the ‘King of Rums and the Rum of Kings’.
1898 saw the beginning of a classic cocktail named the Daiquiri. Hailing from the mining town of Daiquirí, Cuba, an American mining engineer named Jennings Stockton Cox invented a cocktail using Bacardí, fresh lime, sugar and ice. After success with his friends, he named it ‘Ron BACARDÍ a la Daiquirí’. Another cocktail that Bacardí can be proud of is the Cuba Libra. Invented at the time of Cuba’s independence following the Spanish American War some time in the early 1900’s, a small Havana bar and a group of soldiers mixed Bacardí, cola and lime and toasted ‘por Cuba libre!’ or ‘to a free Cuba’.
When Prohibition was declared in the USA, 60,000 cases of Bacardí could not be sold or exported. Refusing to destroy the precious rum, Don Facundo’s son-in-law, Enrique Schueg, chose instead to give it away through an innovative share scheme. He issued 60,000 shares in Bacardi’s US Bottling Company and the very next day closed the company down, giving away one case of Bacardí as compensation for every share.
In the 1960’s, just prior to Bacardi’s 100th Anniversary, the Cuban administration confiscated all private businesses in Cuba without any compensation. Bacardí production was forced to stop and the Bacardí family lost its distilleries, breweries, offices, warehouses, ageing rum stocks and even their family homes. But thanks to Bacardí President Pepín Bosch, having transferred all company patents out of Cuba in 1958, and the company having established two distilleries in Puerto Rico and Mexico many years prior, Bacardí were able to rebuild itself in exile. In record time a new distillery opened in Brazil to support the existing distilleries and by 1979 Bacardí had become the world’s number one international spirit.
So a rather stella history, having built Bacardí effectively twice in there lifetime. Bacardí have a strong portfolio of rums, and I’ve been lucky enough to experience the odd one and write for you some tasting notes –
Bacardí Carta Blanca – 37.5%
What used to be named as ‘Superior’, this is a blend of rums aged separately within lightly charred ex-bourbon barrels for 12 to 24 months.
Whisps of tropical fruits and almonds on the nose followed by a little spice, but with vanilla dominating the palate. A rather smooth offering, but does develop into a dry finish with a hint of spice.
Bacardí Oakheart – 35%
Fermented in charred oak bourbon barrels. Rich oak aromas on the nose with a spice of cinnamon lingering. Hints of dried fruit on the palate mixed in with vanilla flavours and subtle smoke.
Bacardí Carta Fuego – 40%
Aged for at least on year with added spices. Rich, bold and smooth on the nose, with creamy vanilla, butter and caramel notes dominating. Smooth upon the palate, with the rich spices coming through giving of some heat. A warm finish combined with toffee and caramel creates a thin yet sharp experience.
I’ve also been very fortunate to experience an incredibly rare expression from Bacardí – Ron Bacardí de Maestros de Ron, Vintage, MMXII. For 30 years, José Sanchez Gavito was the Master Blender, becoming the first non Cuban and first non family member to be appointed the role. Upon his retirement, he was invited to be one of the eight family members to craft this expression, bringing together the best rums from the Bacardí cellar. The rum was then laid to rest in American oak barrels for 20 years and then swapped into 60-year-old Cognac barrels to age. Once the process was complete, the eight Maestros de Ron were left with 4 different rums to choose from. Over three days, they deliberated to find the perfect one that they could bottle within a glass decanter, ultimately giving it as a present to the Bacardí family.
Ron Bacardi de Maestros de Ron, Vintage, MMXII – 43%
Slight dried fruits of raisin and fig on the nose, with plenty of dried woods coming through and balancing nicely. The palate enjoyed a strong flavour of wood, interacting with sharp cherry, then softening with honey notes that created a very long finish. Utterly superb.
I mentioned previously that the Daiquiri and Cuba Libra first made its name in Cuba using Bacardí Superior, but it’s not the only cocktail you can have –
25 ml Bacardí Carta Blanca
25 ml Triple Sec
25 ml Freshly squeezed lemon juice
2/5 part Sugar syrup (Optional)
Pour all the ingredients into a shaker. Add the ice and shake. Add sugar if necessary. Double strain into a chilled glass.
Daiquiri – created by Bacardí UK Brand Ambassador Shervene Shahbazkhani
2 Heaped Tsp Caster Sugar
25 ml Fresh Lime
50 ml Bacardí Carta Blanca
Shake all the ingredients over ice and double strain into a coupette glass. No garnish required.
Simple, easy, enjoyable. Love or hate Bacardí, you can’t fault its legacy at all. Treat yourself.
*History taken from the Bacardí website. Subtle changes have been made for narrative purposes.