By now we are all aware of the two different kinds of Havana Club. This rum is the one from Cuba, not the Bacardi version made in “not Cuba” and hails from the 1980s which, coincidentally, is when I started drinking DDL’s King of Diamonds (a useless factoid, I know). No point rehashing well-known details of the brand, so off we go.
Colour – Amber
Strength – 40%
Nose – Oh well, very nice indeed, quite a few steps ahead of the Facundo Paraiso. Dare I say “the real deal”? Better not. Initially it smells very crisp and floral, with light “watery” fruits (pears, guavas, even watermelon), and then segues gently into something more creamy. Actually the aroma moves into heavier syrup-from-tinned-peaches territory after a while, but is redeemed from cloying heaviness by remaining reasonably light, adding some brine and genteel gone-to-seed flower gardens with too much earth. Some traces of toffee, tobacco, maybe a flirt of cinnamon. Gone too fast, alas.
Palate – What just happened here? Was that licorice, medicinals and plasticene I tasted? Indeed it was. Just as suddenly, it went limp again, but after standing for a while, with some effort, I could make out additional flavours of green peas (!!), apple juice, vanilla, nutmeg, caramel, cardamon…and some bitterness of over-zealous application of the barrel. Good potential, but ultimately unsatisfying and again, this being the era of 40%, really not intense enough, while interesting in its own way.
Finish – Well done, reasonably long for the strength. Cigar smoke, brine, some last herbal notes and a couple of olives. Dry and dirty and quite pleasant.
Thoughts – Nose and finish are the best part of the experience, with some nice points on the palate. Not as anonymous and boring as the Bacardis, yet lacks punch in its own way; and even though it may be churlish to grumble about the way rums were made back then, a few extra points of proof would have gone a long way to raising the labial volume to something higher.
Other Rumaniacs reviews of this rum can be found on the website.