Friday, 11 November 2011

Presenting…Havana Club Rum (photos to follow)

Last Tuesday I returned to the scene of the crime – Callooh Callay – for another of their fabulous Jub Jub member tasting evenings. Actually I have always been remarkably well behaved at this bar; with it being one of my favourites I would hate to lose my privileges! And it remains one of my favourites as I arrived early especially to enjoy one of their fabulous scotch eggs, this time accompanied by surprisingly tasty tomato ketchup popcorn and predictably excellent “Fine and Dandy”, or figgy pudding as described in the menu.

So onto the main event with the glamorous Meimi, a self expressed “Scuban” – a Scottish Cuban. She was keen for us to try not only the different rum expressions but to put them in cocktail context and to add to food to really think about flavour pairings. Some facts:

  • Rums are aged in a Solera System, an idea imported from Jerez, Spain
  • The barrels go through Wild Turkey Bourbon and Scotch distilleries before arriving in Cuba
  • The liquid, when it comes straight off the still, is called Aguardiente – firewater
  • If you want to test the quality of dark rum, coat a wine glass with rum and leave upside down on the table for 20 minutes, when you return it should smell of rum, rather than distinct blocks of flavour

Havana Club 3 Year Old
-          in a beetroot daiquiri
-          served with stilton and walnut
It smelt fresh and almost grassy
It tasted like root beer, slightly medicinal and developed caramel notes with time but retained fresh nose
Smooth and good length

Havana Club Especial
-          Cuba libre
-          Plantain crisps
It smelt like caramel and nutmeg
It tasted like vanilla, green apple and spice
It was smoother, heavier and longer retaining grassiness at the end

Havana Club 7 Year Old
-          rich daiquiri
-          grilled tropical fruit and parma ham with spices
It smelt like 1&2 – caramel and fresh grass
It tasted a bit like damp earth (in a good way)
We should be picking up dried fruit, bitter chocolate, coffee, sweet tobacco – I didn’t!
One to drink straight due to elegance, to quiet for cocktails?

Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros
-          straight
-          with an orange flavoured chocolate
Unblended 10 year old aguardiente with needs all 6 blenders to agree on quality and style before it can be released, rare and clearly more expensive
It smells like fresh caramel, coffee and orange
It tastes like fire and has more bite but a smooth finish

Now if you want to go all out, look for Havana Club Maximo Rum at £1500 a bottle. With only 1000 bottles a year we’d all by lucky to ever try this.

Great night had, again. Thanks!

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