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.”
The Pernod Ricard BEAT Society rolled into Manchester this week with its 6 strong team of some of the UK’s influential and engaging industry figures taking over the new Refuge bar and restaurant in the city centre.
Concentrating on seven categories, the likes of Phil Huckle (UK Brand Ambassador Chivas Regal), Liam Sparks (Irish Whiskey Ambassador), Megs Miller (UK House of Tequila Ambassador), Matthias Lataille (UK Brand Ambassador Martell), Michael Foster (UK Brand Ambassador Havana Club) and special guest Jake O’Brien Murphy of Callooh Callay in London showed off their respective brand and category, but with a twist that offered an insight ‘outside the box’.
With only two more cities out of the initial seven to visit, I thought I’d offer an insight into what you can expect for the day as the BEAT team head to Newcastle (31/01/2017) and Liverpool (28/02/2017).
Prepare to demystify the style of Irish Whiskey and the impact that Jameson and Midleton Distillery have created within the whiskey market as Liam Sparks talks through the process of creation. From both column and pot distillation, to the wood styles within ageing, Liam engages with his knowledge and stories over a couple of drams, including distillates from the column and pot stills, as well as the likes of Redbreast 12yr and Jameson Caskmates.
Following the Irish closely are the Scots, championed by Phil Huckle with his focus on the luxury blend of Chivas Regal. Promoting towards the history of the whisky cocktails and how Chivas Regal have been at the forefront of some of the most iconic classics, experience the styles and profiles of such forgotten gems as the Morning Glory Fizz, as well as last years Chivas Masters winning drink by Chelsey Bailey. You can also hear how you can enter the 2017 edition of the Chivas Masters, as well as experience The Huckster!
Heading to the grape side of the spirit categories, Matthias Lataille shows his insight into Martell by bringing it to the forefront of your mind when modifying your cocktail creations. Sample classic cognac drinks such as the Sidecar using the VSOP expression, as well as twists on staples including the Pierre Collins as Matthias shows his creativity and knowledge on cognac and tips of how to invite your customers to experience.
Special guest star Jake O’Brien Murphy of Callooh Callay in London is on hand for the tour to offer an honest insight into the world of cocktail competitions, using his own experiences of entering competitions, including Jameson and Havana Club, in his career that includes positions within famed bars in Liverpool such as 81LTD. The do’s and dont’s of performance etiquette, how to approach those all important judges, understanding the brief set out, and adapting yourself to the live situation with confidence, Jake goes through the motions of before, during and after as you set out to highlight yourself to your peers and industry figures.
Demystifying tequila is Megs Miller, one of the latest additions to the BEAT Society family, as she focuses on Olmeca and how agave is riding the trend of the bartenders inquisitive. Serving up samples of Blanco, Reposado and Anejo, she’ll guide you through the tequila process, how Olmeca has grown over the years to accommodate changing tastes and attitudes towards the category, as well as her own agave experiences and stories when visiting Mexico and teaching across the world.
You can listen to Michael Foster’s stories too as he talks about Havana Club, with an emphasis on Cuba itself. Diving into how Havana Club has impacted the island in regards to cocktails such as the Mojito, Cuba Libra, Daiquiri and El Presidente, the enjoyment of the traditional recipes of such too, plus an understanding of how these classics have been devised through the stalwart bar scene within Cuba itself.
Mr Jake O’Brien Murphy also talks candidly on the vodka category, with the focus on Absolut and twisting the pre-conception that vodka is a ‘dying category’. He talks about the iconic Pornstar Martini and Cosmopolitan whilst giving his own views on how vodka can be best utilised in any bar through some simple changes.
Of course, no day of learning would be complete without a tipple of Mumm Champagne, with Matthias Lataille guiding you through the brand as you finish off the BEAT Society experience.
If you’re anything like me, having the opportunity to listen to one iconic figure in the industry is amazing, but to have seven in one room, offering their slant on their chosen category, is beyond an experience. Get yourselves signed up to Newcastle and Liverpool, immerse within the BEAT and take it all in.
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.
The Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix rolled into Manchester this afternoon as The Liars Club played host to eleven of north England’s best bartenders as they competed to impress and earn a place to the UK final.
Yours truly was sat on the judging panel, alongside Havana Club Global Brand Ambassador Meimi Sanchez, UK Brand Ambassador Mike Foster, and bar consultant Jamie Jones.
With a brief that all bartenders must utilize at least 35 ml of Havana Club 3 year as the base, as well as serving it within a recycled vessel (essentially an item not normally associated with a drinking vessel), the competition threw up some interesting ideas. Lets take a look at some of the highlights from each competitor!
Lee Jones from Smokestack, Leeds was the first to enter the bar, with his serve named Cuban Cradle, as he showed off a blend of Havana Club, Amaro Montenegro and a grapefruit syrup with a touch of sea salt, garnished with an absinthe spray and served within a melted down bottle. Selina Raggett of Hawksmoor, Manchester looked to impress with Havana Club, grapefruit and sherbet syrup, Manzanilla sherry, lime juice and rhubarb bitters; a recipe she named Buena Vista Cocktail Club and served within a shell that sat atop of a Cuban music box.
James of Dandy Longlegs in Sunderland offered the judges El Independiente, a mix of Havana Club, Monin Jasmin, fresh mango and Coco Real, served within a hollowed out mango secured to a drumstick, coming complete with the drum too! Roberto of Bottega in Manchester showed some of his Italian side as he utilized Martini Extra Dry alongside Havana Club, St Germaine and fresh orange juice, all served within a hollowed out, frozen orange that he named the European Daiquiri.
Georgia Thresh of Tariff and Dale in Manchester was up next, showcasing her idea she called Rhubarb . . . . . and of course Custard. This saw a combination of Havana Club, a rhubarb, fresh and stemmed ginger infusion, egg, vanilla extract and rhubarb bitters within an old candle holder, served with sweets for her garnish. James Cooper of Dusk til Pawn, also in Manchester, came up with an idea that included Havana Club, mango and chilli jam, Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub Cocktail Bitters, lime juice and mint leaves. Naming it Compeñero, he served it within a sandwich container, complete with a Cuban sandwich to match.
Tiger Hornsby of Newcastle were also represented by Steve, who showed off Havana Club, Cazcabel Honey, apricot infused Lillet Blanc, Bob’s Bitters and fresh lemon, served within the bottle neck of a cut Havana 3yr bottle and naming it Primera Dama, or First Lady. Dan from Banyan, one of Manchester’s newest venues, brought to the bar a recipe he named The Old and the New. This saw Havana Club, grapefruit juice, lime, apricot brandy and pineapple and passion-fruit syrup come together within a cut Havana 7yr bottle.
Dan Edwards from No.28 Bar and Bistro in Newcastle showed off his idea named Ambos Mundos, seeing Havana Club, lime, pink grapefruit juice, agave syrup and maraschino come together and served within a Cuban cigar holder. Steve Levanis of Mojo Bar, Manchester went for La Fortunada, a recipe consisting of Havana Club, honey water and citric acid, Lillet and egg white, served from a huge hollowed out lighter with a grapefruit zest.
Amir Javaid of Harvey Nichols 2nd Floor Bar in Manchester was the last to impress the judging panel, utilizing Havana Club, a hay smoked pineapple syrup, lemon, Velvet Falernum and Angostura Bitters. Calling it All Along the Watchtower, he served it within a milk carton and sprayed over a rhubarb, black tea and almond liqueur.
Of course though, despite all eleven impressing in their own way, there was to only be one winner, earning a place in the UK final and going up against the cream of the crop from cities around the UK. Congratulations to Selina Raggett of Hawksmoor, Manchester! With her inspiration of Cuban culture, specifically music, and tying it in with her unique serving vessel, her Buena Vista Cocktail Club will hopefully impress further as she looks to bring the title of Havana Club Grand Prix 2015 home to Manchester!
Buena Vista Cocktail Club, by Selina Raggett, Hawksmoor, Manchester
60 ml Havana Club 3yr 20 ml Grapefruit sherbet syrup 20 ml Lime juice 10 ml Manzanilla sherry 2 dash Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters
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.