Tag Archives: Cuba

Bacardi, The Hidden War, Hernando Calvo Ospina.

Every brand has to have a good story – but I’m not sure the one told in the pages of this compelling book will feature on the back of Bacardi labels.

Bacardi the book c/othewhiskeynut

Essentially it’s a well documented exposé of the Bacardi family’s consistent attempts – ever since the Cuban revolution of 1959 – to undermine, weaken & generally destabilise the Cuban regime.

A lot of it can be put down to big multinationals protecting their profits over and above any rules individual states may have.

Bacardi the rum c/othewhiskeynut

Some could be political ideology.

But it doesn’t particularly paint a pretty picture.

Events took a turn in 1993 when Pernod Ricard entered a joint venture with Cuban company Havana Rum & Liquors to produce & market the Havana Club range of Cuban rums – to great success.

Havana Club rum c/othewhiskeynut

Bacardi have consistently challenged the right of Pernod Ricard to do so.

Bacardi often drape their advertising in Cuban imagery – despite the rums not being made in the country – & there have been claims to say this is misleading & manipulative.

Cuban rum authenticity c/othewhiskeynut

In these times when ‘transparency’ & ‘honesty’ are attributes to be exalted in the spirits world – I’d suggest pouring your preferred tipple & sitting down to read this riveting book.

It may not change the flavour of that tipple – but it might colour the experience.

Sláinte

Havana Club 7, 40%, Cuba

I couldn’t review Bacardi’s 8 without looking at Havana’s 7.

Cuban rum products aren’t readily available in America – ever since the 1959 revolution.

Bacardí assets were nationalized & they set up business abroad while Pernod Ricard latterly took a stake in Cuba & released Havana Club.

Havana 7 c/othewhiskeynut

Despite no longer producing in the country Bacardí claim Cuban heritage & there is a long running dispute between the 2 companies over labelling & trademark.

Cuban rum meanwhile has a set of rules – one of which is only rums produced there can display the ‘Republica De Garantia’ logo – as shown on Havana 7.

Guaranteed Cuban c/othewhiskey

Golden brown in the Tuath Glass exhibiting thick legs.

Sweet dark caramels, toffee & hints of woody oak on the nose.

Easy enveloping mouthfeel develops a tingling spiciness which grows towards the finish.

Gentler, sweet dark fruitiness fades away softly.

Back label c/othewhiskeynut

A characterful rum.

Havana Club 7 is readily available in Ireland.

Sláinte

Sources;

Cuban Rum Embargo – https://globalcompliancenews.com/us-government-further-tightens-cuban-sanctions-targeting-cuban-travel-hotels-cigars-and-rum-05102020/

Havana Rum Wars – https://www.thedrum.com/news/2018/01/08/the-rum-war-rages-bacardi-insists-its-havana-club-forever-cuban-despite-criticism

Cuban Rum Rules – https://www.cubaron.com/en/our-company/dop-cuba-menu-en/505-la-denominacion-de-origen-cuba-para-el-ron

Rabbie Burns & Rum, Havana Club Anejo 3, 40%

Burns Night is usually associated with whisky – but in Rabbie’s day the spirits of choice were Irish Whiskey or Rum!

Modern Rabbie c/oSundayPost

This was before Aeneas Coffey invented his patent still allowing the art of blending to fuel the rise of Scotch Whisky.

Rabbie at one point contemplated heading to Jamaica – but his growing poetry fame held him at home.

Cuban rum c/othewhiskeynut

Havana Club 3 is a Cuban Rum. It’s unlikely Rabbie tasted any as the island was under Spanish control at the time.

Despite being aged for 3 years – Havana filter the rum in charcoal to leave the colour a pale straw hue – & possibly reduce the pungency too!

Nonetheless there’s a fresh & fruity grassiness to the nose.

Very mild & mellow on the palate – yet a pleasing black peppery spice enlivens up the finish leaving a prickly tingling on the tongue.

Label info c/othewhiskeynut

Entertaining neat – but more commonly used as a base for mixing.

I wonder if Rabbie would have approved?

Sláinte

Whiskey Nut’s Top 10 Blogs of 2020

It’s that time of year when a certain reflection is done of the previous 12 months – and anticipation of those to follow.

My reflection in this instance came about via the stats figures within the WordPress computing machines.

A somewhat random & unexpected Top 10 list of blogs pops up based on views. Not all were written in 2020, some don’t feature Irish Whiskey & others aren’t whiskey related at all!

It’s a fair representation however of my journey through the world of spirits.

What I’d consider my best pieces – spending hours researching, constantly rewriting & fretting over – don’t particularly appear highly. Others randomly do – while a few are not entirely unexpected.

I raise a glass to each & every reader who visited my site – hopefully you’ll keep returning.

Many thanks.

Sitting in front of the computer can be a lonely place & without the feedback & growing readership – would feel even lonelier.

Without further ado – here’s the list – with links to the original blogs.

What was your favourite?

Proper Twelve v Jameson, Irish Whiskey Blends, 40%. Dec ’18.

Black & Blue Premium Whisky, 43%, India via Nigeria. Jan ’19.

Discovery, Highland Single Malt, 12 Year Old Scotch Whisky, 40%. Sept ’19.

The Busker Irish Whiskey, Royal Oak Distillery. May ’20.

Ben Bracken Islay Single Malt, 40%. Dec ’18.

Best Classic Whisky, Blend, 43%, Nigeria. March ’18.

Ron Rumbero, 4 x 40ml miniature pack, 15% to 38%. Dec ’19.

Rampur Select, Single Malt, 43%. Apr ’20.

The World Of Rums, 4 x 40ml Miniature Pack. Nov ’19.

Wall Street, Blended Spirit, 39%, Vietnam. Dec ’17.

Sláinte

All photos authors own.

Rum, The Epic Story Of The Drink That Conquered The World, Charles A Coulombe

Rum – the spirit that spanned the globe.

The depth, spread, longevity & diversity of rum through all it’s manifestations is chronicled in this entertaining book – along with cocktail recipes if you wish to indulge.

A book on Rum & a bottle of Rum c/othewhiskeynut

From the days of slavery, pirates & colonial might – to the globalization of rum brands today – and all points in between.

Why Cuban rum is not available in the US to how Haiti is still an undeveloped nation.

Clairin to CachaçaDemerara to dunder – it’s in here – along with an intriguing Newfoundland variation – Screech.

Politics, plunder, prohibition & popular music – rum has been central to them all.

Read all about Rum c/othewhiskeynut

Pour yourself a glass, sit down & enjoy the story.

Sláinte

Ron Rumbero, 4 x 40ml miniature pack, 15% to 38%

I don’t know if Lidl are ahead of the posse predicting a Rum revival – but they have another miniature selection I couldn’t resist.

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Cuban Rums Ahoy! c/othewhiskeynut

Comprising of 4 x 40ml servings under the Ron Rumbero label – courtesy of Bimmerle KG, a German spirits producer & importer – with Cuban Rum being the source.

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Spiced c/othewhiskeynut

Ron Rumbero, Spiced Spirit, 37.5%

An attractively well balanced spiced rum offering. A bit too sweet for my liking – but a dark chocolate start contrasts with a gentle chilli led spicy finish.

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Cream Liqueur c/othewhiskeynut

Ron Rumbero, Cream Liqueur with Rum, 15%

An easy going creamy liqueur that provides an entertaining alternative to the whiskey derived offerings. Sweet, thick & creamy with a decent hit of rum on the finish too!

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3 Anos c/othewhiskeynut

Ron Rumbero, 3 Años, 38%

Now this one surprised me! A definite vegetal funk on the nose. Slightly sweet yet smooth palate with a lovely flourish of spice on the finish. A great combination.

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7 Anos c/othewhiskeynut

Ron Rumbero, 7 Años, 38%

Rich, warm & inviting. Slightly oaky. Smooth delivery. The dry oaky tannins are reminiscent of a good whiskey. Not bad.

Thoughts

A lovely little quartet of rums to whet your appetite.

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The back label c/othewhiskeynut

When choosing my favourite I had a little surprise. Normally I’d go for the aged version – but with these – the wonderful balance of the funky start & gorgeously spicy finish of the 3 Años won out in this instance.

If only I could get a full size bottle for the shelf!

Sláinte

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The World Of Rums, 4 x 40ml Miniature Pack

Miniatures.

Love ’em.

The opportunity to taste and sample a variety of styles & flavours before committing to a large bottle.

Lidl are currently showcasing The World Of Rums – including offerings from;

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4 Rums, 4 styles, 4 flavours c/othewhiskeynut

Panama – La Réunion – Cuba and Jamaica.

Rums are often categorised into styles based on their former colonial occupiers. It’s not particularly scientific or pretty – but neither is the use of Scottish Regions to define the flavour of whisky.

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Which one suits your palate? c/othewhiskeynut

Being Lidl –  it’s likely to be sourced private label brands too. As confirmed by ‘Imported & bottled by: ‘Pabst & Richarz Vertiebs GmbH‘ on the outer packaging.

But what interested me were the differences of flavours showcased by the individual rums themselves.

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Sir Francis Drake 6yo c/othewhiskeynut

Panama. Sir Francis Drake. 6 Years Old. 40%

Spanish style. Light, buttery & sweet.

Pale straw. Vanilla sweetness followed by darker molasses & treacle notes. Soft & sweet palate – a bit too sweet for my liking – but develops a pleasant oaky spice from the cask ageing.

Easy & enjoyable.

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Coeur Du Soleil c/othewhiskeynut

La Réunion. Coeur Du Soleil. White Rum. 37.5%

French style. Rich , fruity & complex.

Clear spirit. Pungent vegetal nose – reminds me of Mezcal. Palate was smooth & characterful. The earthy herbaceous notes give a slightly savoury yet sweet appeal that slowly fades.

Very alluring.

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Ron Santero 3yo c/othewhiskeynut

Cuba. Ron Santero. 3 Year Old. 38%

Spanish style. Lean & clean.

Clear spirit. Soft subtle & sweet. After the other 2 rums, Santero’s delicateness just merged into a bland neutrality for me. Cries out for mixing.

Characterless.

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Caribica c/othewhiskeynut

Jamaica. Caribica. Brown Rum. 40%

British style. Funky, heavy & bold.

Light brown. Noticeable funkiness on the nose – reminds me of burnt rubber. Syrupy palate. The funk is lost a little to a treacly dark sweetness, but re-emerges on the finish.

Is Jamaican funk the Islay peat of the rum world?  Finding it challenging.

Thoughts

An interesting & entertaining taste experience.

I’d have thought there’d be a rum here to please every palate.

La Réunion’s Coeur Du Soleil was the one for me. The powerful mix of sweet, sour & savoury notes demonstrated the full bodied style of ‘Rhum Agricole’ using freshly pressed sugarcane juice bottled straight off the stills.

C’est très bonne.

What is your style?

Santé

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A brief guide to styles of rum can be found at the handy Tenzing blog here.

Havana Club, Anejo Especial, Cuban Rum, 40%

It’s International Rum Day today – 16th August.

I’ve just found out – which was a bit of a surprise – as I’d only been down my local Tesco & picked up a bottle of Havana Especial to continue my exploration of all things rum.

Already my limited tastings are taking me down the barrel aged dark rum route.

The contrast of sweet caramels or darker molasses contrasting with spicy oaky tannins appeals to my palate – which is just what I found with this Cuban Rum.

Double matured in ‘old oak barrels’ & ‘ex-whiskey casks’ it says on the label – ex Irish Whiskey casks I later found out on Havana Club’s website – certainly piqued my interest.

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Especial back label c/othewhiskeynut

Described as ‘amber coloured’ I found the nose caramelly sweet – with no real depth to it.

The palate started off very smooth & sweet too – but gradually built up a nice oaky spice as it warmed up.

Most of the flavour I found on the finish.

A prickly spiciness contrasting with a dark, almost burnt molassey note just rescued it from the overt sweetness at the start.

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Garantia Cuba! c/othewhiskeynut

Overall an easy drinking everyday rum with just enough character & depth to enjoy of a balmy summer evening.

Happy Rum Day!

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