Rum Review: Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros
Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros Review
With the thawing of relations between the USA and Cuba, I thought it would be a good time to offer a review of a Cuban rum. So with that, I give you the Seleccion de Maestros, a premium offering from Havana Club. Coming in at 45% ABV, this bottle would retail for about $50 were it available here. Blended by Maestro Don Navarro and his team, this rum is “triple barrel aged” according to HC.
From their web site:
Selección de Maestros is a Triple Barrel Aged rum, fruit of a unique process of elaboration: First, the Maestros Roneros gather and select the finest and most exceptional aged rums. These rums are then blended and placed for further ageing in barrels carefully selected for the aromatic properties of their wood, in which the rum will develop its character and intensity. Finally, the Maestros Roneros get together a second time to select the rums that have perfectly matured. They will make up the final blend, bottled straight from the barrel at 45% ABV.
Or in other words, it’s a blended rum with no age statement. OK, got it! Let’s leave the marketing behind and have a look at the product itself.
The clear glass bottle is handsome and classically shaped, with a thick base and a noticeable taper that widens toward the shoulders. The label is quite small, which allows the rum to shine through and be the real star. The words “LA HABANA CUBA” appear in raised letters on the glass, and the neck itself can accommodate four fingers. Peel back the foil atop the bottle, and you’ll find a plastic cap bearing a raised Havana Club logo attached to a natural cork stopper.
In the glass, the rum presents itself with a deep copper color. A swirl shows golden highlights and a thin ring forming atop the glass. The droplets that form descend rapidly, and then a second set appears and fall more slowly. Moving in for a nosing, there is a fair bit of astringency coming off the glass. After allowing the rum to breathe for a moment, the astringent notes give way to lemon peel and cardamom. Beyond these bright notes lies Sherry and caramel, vanilla, dates and raisins.
As the rum washes over the palate, I’m greeted with heaps of dry, dusty oak, and quickly the tongue is rapidly and thoroughly coated with bitter wood extractives and some tobacco. Just past the wood is the Sherry, and then a host of spices including cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. At this point, the acclimation process appears to be taking longer than normal due to the ample oak and spice. Subsequent sips yield a bit of vanilla and caramel, but I find myself continuing to struggle in the search for additional flavors. Eventually additional fruits come to light, including orange, plantains, pear and tart apples. In the end, the finish provides some dates and raisins, but the wood is the dominant factor, and I feel as though I’ve licked the inside of a barrel. Perhaps instead of a “triple barrel” aging process, they should have stopped at “double”. Alas.
On to the scores:
- Appearance: 1/1
- Nose: 1.75/2
- Mouth feel: .5/1
- Taste: 2.75/4
- Aftertaste: 1 /2
- Total Score: 7/10
Have you tried Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros? Please share your thoughts below.