A short while ago Shai, from Israel, sent me a sample of Havana Club’s Selección de Maestros. It’s Havana Club’s new premium rum. He had been given a bottle to spread among the more public drinkers amongst his friends. I guess bloggers are part of that demography.
Anyway, the Selección de Maestros is Havana Club’s premium end of rums, apart from maybe the 15 year old and the Extra Añejo. It’ll set you back slightly over € 50 at Master of Malt, so it’s not overly expensive, but generally more than people spend on rum.
Strangely, Havana Club is a bit like the rum version of Canadian Club to me. They are a big corporate entity producing decent booze, but not something you generally warm up to. Bacardi has that too with their focus on premixed Margaritas and white rum. When at IJmuiden’s Whisky & Rum festival a couple of years ago I tried some very tasty stuff from Bacardi, so my preconceptions were proven misconceptions. I guess that’s true for most producers of booze that also have a premium range (Diageo, anyone?).
So, what did I think?
Demerara sugar and some oak at first, with a touch of ethanol when just poured. After a second I get hints of sweet apple and orange, even some slightly bitter pineapple. There’s a mature spiciness going on too, with crisp mint in the background.
Slightly drying, but sweet, spicy and fruity nonetheless. Some sweet citrus fruits and a hint of pepper and cinnamon. Even a touch of ginger? Not so much demerara sugar as a developing flavour of the actual sugar canes, but sweet.
The finish is mostly similar but the sugar cane scent grows more prominent. Rather long, by the way.
As you might guess, I really like this stuff. It has some age but not too much. I find older (20+) rums usually tasting of rotting wood, barnacles and just random decay. This doesn’t have that.
The combination of fruit, spices and sugar comes from a fine blending trick that the six blenders of Havana Club have pulled. Very, very good and a great combination of maturity and youthfulness, sweetness and spices. It ticks all rum boxes for me! And it’s affordable.
Havana Club Selección de Maestros, 45%, available at Master of Malt at € 54
Thanks to Deia from Havana Club for the sample, and Shai for sending it!