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Havana Club Añejo Reserva Rum is aged five to six years. This rum was not originally intended for public consumption but reserved for Don Navarro, the head master rum-maker for Havana Club.
This rum is one of eight produced by Havana Club in Santa Cruz del Norte, Cuba.
Tasty, but not quite great
Nose: Caramel, Banana, Oak, Leather, Cigar Tobacco, Toffee fudge, Flan, Toasted Coconut
Palate: Oak, Toffee fudge, caramelized fruit, custard, light maple syrup,
Finish: Toffee, light Banana notes, Oak, long afterwards Coca Cola
Given that it is my first “longer aged” unfiltered rum from Cuba, I was very excited and curious as to what it’s like and how it compares to the great many Cuban exiles rums I have had (Bacardi Havana Club, Matusalem, Selvarey, Grander, Panama Pacific, etc.). So let’s dive straight into this forbidden fruit from Hispaniola. Granted this is middle of the road offering from Havana Club roughly approximate to Havana Club 7 Years but with no added sugar. Supposedly, this was originally a private recipe and reserve for Don Navarro, a Master Ronero at Havana Club for his own private use. It is regarded by Whiskey Exchange as the connoisseur’s pick among the Havana Club line along with Seleccion de Maestros. It is a column still rum blend aged 5-6 years in American ex-whiskey barrels. Still at $14 USD a bottle it is among the most affordable in the Havana Club line. So how is it actually?
The nose is way deeper and more complex than I would ever have anticipated from a 5-6 year aged column still rum blend at 40%. Nosing it from the Glencairn I get Caramel and Banana upfront followed by Oak, Leather, Cigar Tobacco, and Toffee Fudge. But it doesn’t end there. Coming back to the glass after a break I get all of the above plus new notes of Flan followed Toasted Coconut. A column still rum with 8 distinct notes on the nose at only 40% is damn impressive in my experience. That is far, far more than I expected from a mid-tier Spanish column still rum.
Taking a sip, this rum brings a very round and decadent sweetness despite the fact that it is an NAS rum. On the palate I get a heavy dose of Oak up front followed by Toffee Fudge and an interesting and powerful note than can be best described as caramelized fruit - like if you took a handful of random berries and cooked them in a pan with sugar. It’s a unique note to me and quite delightful. Beyond that I get faint notes of custard and the light maple syrup note that I have experienced on many Don Pancho rums (particularly in the Grander line).
The finish is a bit of a let down, slightly, when compared to the nose and the palate. It’s not bad by any stretch, it is just short and light with Toffee, Banana, and Oak. After setting the glass down a long time my mouth has a dry Coca Cola flavor left over.
All together, this is pretty tasty. I am definitely going to savor this bottle. Would I buy a backup bottle of this if it were readily available to me sin embargo? Probably. Actually considering it’s price point at $14, definitely.
So now to the big question that I, and I imagine a lot of my fellow Americans probably want to know: how does it compare to and stack up against many of the Cuban exile rums, and which Cuban exile rum comes closest? Well for starters this is pretty damn tasty and in some respects fairly unique in its own right. Many of the notes I encountered here can be found in other Cuban exile rums: caramel, tobacco, leather, custard, etc….but not in this specific combination. Separately, the banana and caramelized fruit notes were quite unexpected. I think the closest any of the Cuban exile rums come to this is Don Pancho’s Grander series. Specifically, the Grander Single Barrel 8 Year is pretty damn close to this in profile, and actually a bit better than this. Actually, this rum would probably come closest to some mix of Grander 12 Year and Grander Single Barrel 8 year.
While I am not going to say that this is a banger and a must have, if you have a chance to pick this up, you can certainly do worse. This is pretty tasty and surprisingly complex for a Spanish column still rum at 40% ABV aged 5-6 years. In other words it is fairly impressive for its cost and specs. For $14 I would consider this a real steal if it were readily available to me.
The best mixer of all the Havana range. Had an xMas party and we had this, the 7, especial, ritual and barrel proof. The Reserva is the one the we all went back to and was finished off in no time. Crazy cheap in Cuba as well at about £4 a bottle. Not a great sipper which is why it probably scores low on here but there's nothing better than this with a splash of cola.
Like its 3 years brother this one this one shines as a mixing rum. If you sip it you will notice complex tastes. Its not too spicy.
Sugar: 0 to 5 gpl. Strong oak taste and heat. Not smooth at all. Works okay as a mixer, but definitely not a sipping rum. There are better Cuban Rums available.
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