10 years in American white oak barrels
Alcohol by volume:
In the 1950s 70% of the Cuban economy was in the hands of American capital. Fidel Castro nationalized therefore the 'imperialist' property omitting reparations. Eisenhower imposed as revenge the first embargo on Cuba, cutting the island from US exports. In 1962, Kennedy definitively prohibited imports from Cuba. This state remains in effect to the present day and causes serious financial damage for Cuba estimated at over $130 billion.
Castro born into a wealthy family of sugarcane growers, nationalized also all plantations and distilleries in the country. As a consequence, since the early 1960s the industry has been state-owned and managed by the government. However, the production process itself - from selecting the raw material to bottling - has been handed over to highly qualified experts called Maestros Roneros. In turn, sugar cane cutters gained the minimum wage.
Cuban 'communist' rum was exported mainly to the Soviet Union and other countries of the Eastern Bloc. Nevertheless, some brands were intended only for the domestic market. Cubay, exemplifying the 'sabor del Centro' style, belongs to that group and is considered as a gem among insiders.
Cubay is produced in the 'Agustin Rodriguez Mena' distillery in Santo Domingo in the province of Villa Clara. The Cubay brand was established in 1993, initially offering only two lines: Añejo and Carta Blanca. The product range was expanded by César Augusto Martí Marcelo; the youngest adept in the history of the Cuban industry who obtained the Maestro Ronero title at the age of only 32. International distribution started 2010; with the forced exclusion of the US market.
Cuban rum is made exclusively from Cuban sugar cane, which has a relatively low viscosity and acidity with overall high sugar content. The obtained molasses is low-sulfur, but contains a significant concentration of nitrogen and phosphorus. The fermentation process is short made with Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast strains isolated and maintained for decades. Column distillation gives aromatic aguardiente with 75% abv and multi-column distillation brings distilado de caña / redistillado with strength up to 96% abv.
Rum from Cuba goes in accordance with 'PDO Cuba' regulations through at least two stages of aging. Aguardiente is placed in white oak barrels and filtered after two years. After that it's blended with redistillado and water and becomes the proper base for classic rum. Now the actual aging process begins and from now on the actual age is counted. Cubans select the oldest, possible the most neutral barrels. Fun fact: as soon the outside temperature drops below 15 °C, then such bitter cold doesn' count to the maturing period. In any case, Cubay Reserva Especial (Añejo Superior) aged ten years in American white oak barrels.