Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros (formerly Cuban Barrel Proof)

Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros

Product of:  Cuba
Aged:   8 years (estimate)
Price: €35.00 (in Paris)
Alcohol:
 45% ABV 
Sugar: 6-10 g/L (
estimate)
Context:  Premium Aged Rum
RG Rating: 8

Tasting Notes
Considering the two phase aging process used to mature Havana Club Cuban Barrel Proof, you might expect a deeper color, but the beautiful golden amber most likely means nothing has been added to darken the naturally finished product.  Sniffing brings out well developed aromas including a refreshing sweetness from cane, a little earthiness and alcohol, hints of oak and golden raisin, butterscotch, pecan and just a touch of fresh coconut.  The initial taste has few surprises in store after the pleasing aromas, but wonderful flavors of vanilla, cocoa, mild spices and fresh tobacco in harmonious balance, thankfully not overly oaked.  A delicious full body – neither thick nor cloying – tails seamlessly into a delicate, medium-long finish that ends clean and slightly sweet from caramel. 

Anecdotes
Havana Club’s Maestro Don José P. Navarro Campa starts with delicate light, sipping rums aged in extra-old white oak barrels to impart an amber hue and smoothness, then combines them with more complex aged rums.  RnD suspect’s it is at this stage the “barrel proof” is also established. The final blend is rested in specially selected finishing casks that breathe new life into the old rum, giving it character and added complexity. According to the distiller, the final product is “bottled straight from the cask.” 

Havana CLub Cuban Barrel Proof

Note: Seleccion de Maestros replaced the Cuban Barrel Proof product in mid-2010 with new packaging, but the same exellent spirit lives inside.

Opinion
US relations with Cuba is easing slightly, but more change is needed to end the stalemate of the past half-century, that prevents Americans from traveling freely to Cuba or even purchasing Cuban rum in the States. Most American rum lovers just don’t know what they’re missing.  One sip, and you’ll understand why Havana Club Cuban Barrel Proof is one of the leading brands in the Caribbean and Europe. Travel to the Caribbean or Europe and have someone treat you to Havana Club rum, particularly the fine Cuban Barrel Proof.  Trust me, you won’t turn commie, but you will gain an appreciation for the true taste of traditional Cuban rum craftsmanship.  Just don’t bring any home - yet!

Reviewed: April 2009, in Paris.

© Dave Russell 2017