While better than a number of Bacardi’s rums around this price point, the “Havana Club” Añejo Blanco is ultimately disappointing.
Notes: The top selling rum in the world- or so they would like everyone to believe. Founded in 1862, Bacardi was an icon of rum for a long time. One of its major boosts was American prohibition and Cuba becoming for Americans of the period what Amsterdam is now to Europeans, a place you could indulge in forbidden substances (in this case, alcohol) and do whatever they like within certain bounds.
After the revolution in Cuba, the family fled the island and set up shop in Puerto Rico. One of their iconic brands, Havana Club is now produced in Cuba. In very much the same vein as all the cigar trademark problems in the US – Where the Cuban government is fighting trademark infringement cases for many of their major brands, Bacardi has been having an ongoing fight over the Havana Club label which is sold everywhere in the world except the U.S as a Cuban product.
Bacardi offers a variety of rums of various ages and price points along with a long (and sometimes frightening) list of flavored rums. They include this the “Havana Club” Anejo Blanco, a white, Gold, Añejo, a “Havana Club” Añejo Classico (arguably, see above), and the Solera in the unflavored line and Big Apple, Limón, Coconut, Dragonberry, Grand Melon, O, Peach, Razz, and Mojito and a spiced version called Oak Heart in the flavored line. Not to mention various premixed and ready to drink concoctions – some of which actually contain rum others a malt alcohol or none at all depending on the product or in some cases, country.
This is one of two “Havana Club” rums they are trying to peddle in the United States with a very limited distribution (Florida and New York mostly) the other being the Anejo Classico (A filtered back to white aged rum). As it is an infringement of copyright everywhere else in the world according to international law, it is not exported- see above.
Appearance: Sparkling clear with no hazing separation or floating sediments. An old gold/ bronze appearance to the rum Edgeline/meniscus slowly develops some tears/droplets legs, then spots or drops of an almost banded appearance. Rather oily coating to the edge line which retreats with the drops heading back into the bottom first with leaving a few droplets stranded.
First Impression: Slightly sweetish, molasses, hints of aftershave type alcohol smells. A fairly vague non-distinct (or distinct in terms of lack thereof) bouquet, with alcohol vapors more than cane or molasses.
Taste: Sweetish start with an overlay of lime/citrus, followed with molasses, cinnamon, a touch of nutmeg, vanilla, and wood. There is also a fair amount of sulfur notes (cheap molasses ?) that gives it a hint diesel smoke, caramel and plastic. Light in body and drying with a lingering plastic finish with a drying alkali tang to it.
Drinks: Maybe a Bacardi and Coke (Cuba Libre). It works alright as a mixer and not completely without charm.
Cigars: A natural wrapper cigar, milder type would work well with it.
Bottle/Packaging: Clear slightly tinted green glass shows off rum nicely. Simple graphics with deckeled edges ( think stamp perforation) . Some lettering and Crest are done in silver to differentiate from their añejo classico which is done in a old gold color. Instead of their trademark bat they use the family crest at the center. They say it is to show their pride and ties to the Havana Club name but one must wonder a bit if this is to distance it from the usual Bacardi marks and obscure the fact it is not the Cuban Havana Club. Maybe I am just being cynical?
Final Thoughts: Better than a number of their rums around that price point, a bit fuller in flavor and actually somewhat better in flavor than I expected, but still ultimately disappointing. This is not Cuban Rum, but a mid range Puerto Rican rum that is dressed up to confuse.
Web site: http://www.havanaclubus.com
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