copper-lined column still, multicolumn still
triple barrel aged in white oak barrels, about 10 years
Alcohol by volume:
The Havana Club brand was founded in the year of the repeal of prohibition and with the American market in mind. Historically, locally, and globally, the Arechabala family competed with the Bacardi family for reputation and influence. In the 1950s, their rivalry took a political turn; the Arechabala family supported Batista's dictatorship, while Bacardi backed Fidel's revolution. It turned out to be of no significance, as both companies were nationalized, rightful owners found themselves in exile, and the Americans imposed an embargo.
Cuban communists continued distilling rum, with the focus on domestic market and supplying the Eastern bloc. Bacardi, on the other hand, persevered by maintaining operations through facilities in Puerto Rico and Mexico. The latter engaged from abroad actively in fighting the Cuban regime.
As the years pass, Havana Club continues to maintain its esteemed reputation, even though it faces challenges with distribution. In 1993, Pernod Ricard took an interest in the brand, forming a joint venture with Cubaexport and taking over global sales. Currently, the brand stands as the third-largest rum producer in the world. In contrast, Bacardi acquired the rights to the brand from the Arechabala family and vigorously lobbies to prevent its rival from entering the American market, which accounts for a substantial 40% of the total global sales. The brand is currently the strongest family-owned company in the spirits industry. Both sides claim to embody authentic Cuban identity, yet refuse to acknowledge the other's claim. The ongoing struggle for legacy continues.
The Havana Club Selección de Maestros is a continuation of the Cuban Barrel Proof brand, first introduced in 2004. It serves as an initial product in the premium line Icónica and undergoes a unique aging process. The sweet, low-acidity molasses used in production is sourced exclusively from the fertile Cuban soil. The fermentation with the proprietary yeast strain lasts for 24 hours. The resulting Aguardiente, obtained from column distillation, matures in white oak barrels for a minimum of two years. After blending, the base undergoes another round of aging. Then comes the masterful blend, a collective creation of the Maestros del Ron Cubano. This blend is further transferred to new American oak barrels for a brief period, introducing the concept of 'triple barrel aged.' The 'natural cask strength' raises some doubts.