What makes Cuban rum different?

14 Mar. 2018
Cuban rum is prized for its light, crisp style, its balance and nuanced flavour that makes it stand out as unique among the world’s rums. In 2013 Cuba acquired its own geographical indicator, the Denominación de Origen Protegida (DOP), which ensures its rums are produced in strict accordance with traditional methods. But more than this, rum is the spirit of Cuba, a veritable passion. Production may be owned by the state, but it is overseen by an elite group of master rum-makers, the Maestros del Rón Cubano. What makes Cuban rum unique can be broken down into three elements: the raw ingredients, the distillation method, and the savoir-faire that goes into blending and ageing.
Cuban sugarcane, nature’s bounty

Cuba’s fertile soil and tropical climate produce the finest sugarcane. All the sugarcane for Cuban rum is grown on the island and the molasses it gives has low viscosity, low acidity and high sugar, which are ideal for distilling. This sense of terroir helps ensure the unique taste of Cuban rum.

Watch a video about how Havana Club rum is made

Distillation: the Cuban process

The Cuban distillation process is unique in the world of rum, and was originally developed to acquire the light rum style favoured by the Spanish crown. All Cuban rum is double-distilled: first vino de caña (fermented molasses) is distillated at 75°C in a copper-lined column still to get aguardiente. This is charcoal-filtered, and aged for two years. It is then blended with a sugarcane spirit separately distilled in a multicolumn still. This blend is what gives the rum its light character. The Cuban method is often imitated but without Cuban sugarcane it will not produce the same rum!

Learn more about rum distilling

Ageing Cuban rum

All Cuban spirits are aged for at least two years in used white oak barrels, and all Cuban rums, even ‘white’ rums, are then aged a second time after blending. The blending, and the choice of different casks to bring out nuances of flavour, depend on the savoir-faire of the Maestros del Rón Cubano, handed down from generation to generation. At Havana Club the youngest drop of our youngest rum, 3 Años, is aged for three years. Other rums are triple aged, or even continuously aged, where a small drop is put back each year.

Learn more about rum ageing

Meet our Maestros del Rón Cubano