Havana Club has kept alive the art of ageing and blending premium rums, thus ensuring the heritage and excellence of the Cuban rum-making tradition.
Cuba has become known as the "Isle of Rum", due to a combination of world-famous sugar cane (first introduced by Christopher Columbus in 1493), a favourable Caribbean climate, fertile soil, and the unique know-how of Cuban "Maestro Roneros" (master rum-makers). Sailors, swashbucklers and locals liked to use this exceptional sugarcane to make fermented nectar and "tafia" (an early type of rum).
Quality improved drastically in the 1800s with the introduction of copper stills and the first attempts at ageing. Pedro Diago, known now as the father of Cuban rum, can be thanked for this. He had the idea of storing the "aguardientes", or eaux-de-vie, in pots and burying them in the ground. The second half of the 19th century saw the production of a lighter and more refined rum, known as "Ron Superior".
This was developed on the instructions of the Spanish Crown, which wanted a more delicate rum that could "satisfy the court and the elite of the Empire". El Ron Superior is the father of today’s Cuban rum: light, smooth, delicate, crisp and exceptional straight or in cocktails. Its popularity was such that by 1860 there were more than 1,000 distilleries in Cuba.
Following the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the Havana club brand was nationalized by the government. The brand was established in Santa Cruz del Norte in Cuba in 1878 by José Arechabala. After his beloved company was nationalized, Arechabala emigrated to Spain with his family, before finally moving to America. In 1994, the company was owned by a fifty-fifty partnership between the Cuban government and the drinks giant Pernod Ricard. Havana Club’s rums have become synonymous with Cuba and have become the back bar darling of many a cocktailian bartender. The range is made up of a few standard bottlings which are essentially mixing rums, as well as the seven year-old, which is intended for sipping. November of 2006 saw the release of the ‘ultra-premium’ Máximo Extra Añejo – “There will never be a rum that better expresses the Cuban rum culture” says Havana Club’s Maestro Ronero.
Today Havana Club, the leading Cuban rum in Cuba and in the world, continues to embody the heritage and supremacy of the Cuban rum-making tradition. Relying on the unique know-how of its Maestros Roneros, Havana Club has kept alive the art of añejamiento : the art of distilling, ageing and blending premium rums. The name "Havana Club" captures Cuba’s rum-making heritage and the unique atmosphere of Havana, the country’s capital. Havana Club is closely entwined with Cuban culture, and Cubans take pride in what has become a true national icon.
Don José Navarro, together with his team of Maestros Roneros