Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Spirit Log: Havana Club Anejo Especial

Rum. You like rum? Yeah, it’s all right isn’t it? I’ve never found it to be something to get particularly excited about myself. I always used to keep one each of the three types in stock for making cocktails but then I stopped making cocktails so much and I just never felt inspired enough to replace the outgoing bottles of rum. Well now I have, and this is the Havana Club Anejo Especial (40%) that I picked up with a few pounds off (not many) at Tesco.

I have to admit, I haven’t bought a Havana Club before, though I believe I’ve tried the 3 year old and remember enjoying it, despite what I would classify as a lack of the kind of complexity I look for in spirits. That’s endemic of the whole genre of rum, in my opinion. I could just enjoy it over ice I suppose, but that is no longer a particular drinking habit of mine.

Let’s start with the fruits of a little preliminary research, shall we? I had stupidly researched the Havana Club Añejo Reserva instead of the Anejo Especial, which has led to this post being a bit late. It's fair to say, I think, that we can only blame Havana Club for making the names of their rums too similar. The Anejo Reserva was originally reserved for the personal consumption of master distiller Don Navarro, but all that is irrelevant as this one, which tends to be around £10 cheaper, was not.

So what is there to learn about it? Well, going to the master distiller himself, it "whispers the hidden secrets of premium dark rums." No idea what that means. Sounds like bullshit. The website, says it is finished in young white oak barrels, though it doesn't seem to mention how it is aged up until that point - unless it is the 3 year old, and that is aged "in Cuba". So, as ever, not a lot to go on.

On top of all that, it looks like the producer has tweaked the look of the bottle a bit, and also changed the recipe since I bought mine, so all that research above is probably redundant.

Enough research then, I may as well just tell you what I think of the rum. Well, the most telling thing I can say about this is that it mostly serves as an early afternoon warm-up on the weekend – you know, when it’s too early to enjoy a scotch, but you want something to give you a warm embrace in anticipation of a boozy evening. Another telling thing is that I've now had this bottle for a year, and it still isn't finished. Yes, part of that is that I've been holding it back in case I need it to make a cocktail for a guest, but the other part is that it has never called me over and said, "drink me". Which it would have done had it been a little better.

It is very sweet on entry and very sour towards the end of the mouthful, with lots of citrus. The finish is of decent enough duration and, in the end, I was surprised to find that I enjoyed it. The only problem is that I don’t think I generally have need for anything this sweet.

I’ll be looking at some more varieties of rum later in the year, so feel free to come back if that’s something you’re interested in.

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