# 18 Havana Club Cuban Barrel Proof Rum (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 7, 2015
Havana Club is a Cuban Rum produced by Havana Club International (a joint venture between the Cuban Government and Pernod Ricard) currently produced in two Cuban locations, San José de Las Lajas and Santa Cruz del Norte, Cuba. According to tradition the production of the rum which was to become Havana Club began in 1878 when Spanish immigrant José Arechabala established Destileria La Vizcaya in the port city of Cárdenas, Cuba. The distillery remained in the hands of the Arechabala family and in 1934 José’s grandson (also named José Arechabala) apparently created the recipe for Havana Club Rum and began to market it throughout the world. However, the family lost control of the distillery and the brand when after the Cuban Revolution of 1959, the Cuban Government nationalized the distillery and company.
The Havana Club Barrel Proof Rum underwent a rather unique maturation process where it is first aged in old white oak barrels, and when the final rum is blended, it is then finished in specially ‘selected’ younger finishing casks. I have heard of this ‘Double Barrel’ approach with whisky, but the Havana Club Cuban Barrel Proof Rum, was the first rums that I know of which used older white oak maturation casks and then younger fresh oak finishing casks.
Here is a link to the review of the #18 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.
“… As I poured the rum into my glencairn glass my nose was immediately swatted with a sweet toffee updraft. Hints of cinnamon spice compliment the aroma, and I am very pleased with the complete lack of any charred or burnt notes. This is intense, sweet and clean. I let the drink sit for just a moment, and a pleasant liquorice aroma reminiscent of Sambuca enters the fray. I even catch just a smidgen of raw oak sitting at the very back of the nose. This is marvellous …”
You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits
Note: The Havana Club Barrel Proof brand was replaced a few years ago by Havana Club Selección de Maestros Rum. Although the Selección de Maestros is reported to be made from the same stocks and in the same manner as the original Barrel Proof Rum, whenever I have had occasion to taste the two brands side by side, I always have a firm preference for the older brand.
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