Havana Club Añejo 3 Años

Havana Club 3 Años@HC website-OK-Use

Product of:  Cuba
Aged:   3 years
Price:  $EC 37 (~$US14 in the Caribbean Windward Islands)
Alcohol:
 40% ABV 
Sugar:
0-5 g/L (estimate)
Context:  Premium Pale Rum
RG Rating: 9

Tasting Notes
Havana Club Añejo 3 Años isn’t quite colorless; it’s more like polished maple wood from aging three years in oak barrels
a relatively long period for a white rum. Consequently, she shows a lot of legs for a three year old, and they run more slowly than many of those found in older aged rums - possibly indicating some sugar, heavier spirits and depth of flavor.  We’ll sniff and taste to see if those legs simply tease or actually deliver.  

Ah, it’s even more aromatic than you might suspect from the color, with inviting sweet and mildly vegetal scents of sweet buttery sugarcane juice, mildly grassy and vanilla, butterscotch, oak and croissant, then lesser notes of meyer lemon, pear, and finally a whiff of smoky char.  The segue from aromas to flavor is done perfectly.  The initial taste is slightly chewy, introducing more flavors of vanilla, coconut and macadamia nuts, while the sweetness maintains consistency over the tongue.  There is some oak tannin influence, as Havana Club 3 delivers a bridge between highly rectified white rums and those with a few more years of oak maturity.  A oily body is heavier than most white rums (those sultry legs again), with a waxy texture to support the flavors before a medium length finish, whose slight sweetness is balanced by white pepper – easy on the throat.

Anecdotes
Being an American citizen, I had to travel outside of the USA to sample Havana Club 3 Años.  Though I didn’t really need an excuse to sail in the Caribbean, the rum made the trip all the sweeter.  I discovered what others have enjoyed for decades; Havana Club 3 is wonderful in a daiquiri.  Or use it any one of a dozen other cocktails that reward a full flavored light rum - sip it neat even.  When it comes to a premium white rum, Havana Club Añejo 3 Años wins hand down, every time.  

Havana Club 3 Años+2 Daiquiris from Floating Rum Shack

But is it a white rum?  Or should it be evaluated within the context of slightly aged rums?  Good questions.  Because the white rum category is so full of uh, unremarkable sugarcane spirits, it’s nice to know there are alternatives to those neutral, highly rectified unaged rums that are more akin to vodka than rum.  Give me a 2-5 year old pale rum anytime.  One look at the bottle’ label and the rum inside, Havana Club 3 Años scream “Cuba!” to me.  For a humorous look at Havana Club’s potential, see the video here: Havana Man - YouTube.

Opinion
Havana Club 3 Años is one of my top picks for making a perfect classic daiquiri. Compared with some other popular alternatives, notably Santa Teresa Blanco, Bacardi 8 and Brugal Blanco, Havana Club 3 is less rich in flavor than the former, not as smoky as Bacardi 8, but delivers more flavor dimensions than Brugal’s bright mixer.  Which of these top rums rum I reach for when making a daiquiri depends on my whim and taste of the moment.  Like everything else about rum, it’s world is so varied and rich there’s always room for new friends and favorites.  All four of the above-mentioned rums are worthy additions to your repertoire.  Only Havana Club 3 Años commands the high ground of classic status.

Reviewed: Various times from 2012 - 2014 while sailing in the Eastern Caribbean.

Photo of Havana Club and daiquiri's courtesy of our friends at The Floating Rum Shack.

© Dave Russell 2017