Havana Club 15yo Rum
“Rum” – from a modern multi column still.
ABV Hydrometer Test: 40% ABV @ 20°
Havana Club Anejo 15 year old Gran Reserva to give it its full title is one of Havana Club’s “Iconica” collection and every drop of this molasses-based ron has been aged for at least 15 years, indeed some rums in the blend are “several decades old.”
According to Havana Club themselves, “Añejo 15 Años is a rare and limited version of an extra old rum. True testimony of the centuries-old rum making tradition held by the Maestros del Ron Cubano, only 58 casks of this unique rum are selected each year.” It is created by blending and re-blending a combination of Havana Club’s rum (distilled at 95%) and aguardiente (distilled around 74%). The aguardiente is aged for two years, and then filtered and blended with the unaged 95% distillate. It is then aged for 15 years in ex-Bourbon oak barrels. During this time, barrels are consolidated due to the angel’s share of evaporation.
Much is made by Havana Club, of the “Maestro’s” abilities to age and blend rums, which is very admirable. Likewise, the claim to have a terroir influence through their climate, soil and sugar cane points towards artisanal production. The one thing missing from Havana Club’s story is one of the most important elements of rum distillation, namely the actual still(s) used. This is because Havana Club is distilled using multi column continuous stills. Not a problem as far as I am concerned, but I wanted to mention it so that readers are aware of what goes into the rum they are drinking.
Under Richard Seale’s/Luca Gargano’s proposed rum categorisation, this would most-likely be classed as a “Rum” – from a modern multi column still.
Havana 15yo is housed in an outer tin and presented in a fairly standard bottle with a tapered shape. I do like the embossed “La Habana Cuba” on the bottle neck. Havana Club 15yo’s label is predictably devoid of useful information – other than the ABV, there is nothing to tell us about the rum’s production, although it does reference the fact that only 58 casks of this rum are produced each year.
In the glass, Havana 15 is medium amber with a touch of gold sparkling on the surface. The legs on the rum are very fine and dotted, slow to descend the sides of my glass.
The nose is mild, Sherry-like…Dry Oloroso fruits and medium Amontillado with a hint of honeyed tropical fruit and oak.
Taste, Initial-middle 27/40
The entry is soft, light and delicate. Although 40%, it tastes like I *am* drinking a Sherry at around 18-20%, such is the smoothness on the palate.
It is very approachable and easy to drink although at this stage, it offers very little to the palate – just a touch of honey.
Taste, Middle/Throat 30/40
The Sherry-like taste continues through the mid-palate where Havana 15 continues to be very light, smooth and easy to drink. Honey continues, but it is not sticky or cloying. It is joined by some dark chocolate notes.
Towards the rear of the mouth is where Havana 15 remembers it is rum and offers some peppery spice accompanied by nutmeg and cinnamon. The honey theme continues although it is more like burnt caramel at times. Some bananas and apples are also present.
Havana 15 has a very long finish. It becomes drier and drier and a touch of tobacco smoke is evident, too. The honey softens and is joined by some vanilla notes.
This is light in style – OK, what should I expect from a Cuban rum? Whilst there are interesting flavours and this is velvety smooth, there is no getting away from the fact that for £135 or so per bottle, it is not really that special or amazing. Of course one has to respect the traditions of their rum making and the skills involved in blending and ageing, but given the industrial nature of how Havana Club distill their rums i.e. using continuous multi-columns, this is really expensive. I think I would prefer to buy two to three bottles of the Seleccion de Maestros over this.
Not that there is anything wrong with Havana 15, but for me it just lacks any kind of wow factor flavour-wise.
Review No. 126
P Denotes the rum contains POT still distillate.
C Denotes the rum contains traditional/Coffey COLUMN still distillate.
B Denotes the rum contains a BLEND of POT and COLUMN still distillate.
M Denotes the rum contains MULTI-COLUMN still distillate or is a MODERN rum.
A Denotes the rum is an AGRICOLE i.e. from Cane Juice.
S Denotes the rum is presented in a SWEETENED style.
Bottle/Presentation Out of 3
Glass/Aroma Out of 10
Taste, Initial-middle Out of 40
Taste, Middle/Throat Out of 40
Afterburn Out of 7