Havana Club San Cristobal de la Habana

Havana Club San Cristobal de la Habana

Product of:  Cuba
Aged:  Solera blend of rums aged up to 12 years
$125-$200 (70cl)
Alcohol: 40% ABV
Context:  Premium Aged Rum
RG Rating: 9.5

Tasting Notes
The gorgeous shade of golden brown clues you to the age and maturity of this exquisite rum before your more subjective senses size it up.  Then, noble and understatedly subtle aromas reward the nose, including: old wood, old leather, sensual, mild spicy fruit like dusty apricot and papaya, deeply subdued brown sugar sweetness, an absence of cane earthiness, musty, and slightly smoky at end.  The initial taste builds upon the aromas; wonderfully warm and toasty, with brown sugar and charcoaled oak, then finally a bit of dark chocolate, caramel, and dense dark nuts.  The medium-heavy body is exactly what you expect from such a deep rum, as is the long, heavy, treacly smooth leathery finish – heaven!

Havana Club uses simple but classical packaging for its top shelf rum.  An attractive bottle, curved yet masculine, and reminiscent of a matador’s physique, is topped off with a wooden screw cap.  The number 480 on the label signifies the rum was created in 1999 to commemorate the founding of the royal town (Sp: real villa) of San Cristobal de La Habana 480 years ago in 1519.  In 1519 the villa San Cristobal de La Habana was was relocated to its current site of Havana and the original city there (Carenas) was renamed.  The name is a combination of “San Cristobal” after the European discoverer and famous navigator Christopher Columbus, and “Havana”, which is the native’s word for the geographic area.

Dave Russell tasting wonderf Havana Club rum

Rare?  Yes - it’s difficult to find outside of the distillery’s el museo del ron in Havana, Cuba.  Expensive?  Even more yes.  I paid about US$40 for a shot at Hotel Tiara Park Atlantic in Lisbon.  Okay, I admit it was a healthy pour, and the friendly bar staff let me borrow the bottle for a few onsite pictures.  But is it worth the price?  Only you can answer that for yourself.  For me, San Cristobal de la Habana is an exquisite sipping rum.  Arriving at my final destination after a fabulous motorcycle adventure covering 2500 kilometers through Portugal, Spain and Morocco, San Cristobal de la Habana was sweet reward, like discovering a sublimely aged pot of amber gold at the end of the rainbow.  The thought of sampling this rum again gives one more reason to visit Cuba.

Reviewed: April 2010 in Lisbon, Portugal.

© Dave Russell 2017