Cuban rum landscape

Hello RumX!

I want to expand beyond Havana Club to try some other Cuban brands so am looking for some experience.

If anyone has had experience with several of the following it would be great to hear a bird’s eye overview of their profiles and styles (particularly as compared to other Cubans):

Varadero
Caney
Legendario
Santiago
Mulata
Arecha
Cubay
Santero

Much appreciated, thank you!

Also as a bonus question does anyone know if it is true that all cuban rums are required to not have sugar added? I found an article on cuban rum regulation but couldn’t find details on maquillage (other than that it seems to be allowed for super premium rums that get an exception from the regulations).

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I assume you already read this

and this

If not, definetely recommended.

Well, there’s not a world of difference between them. They’re all Cubans, and (to me, at least), that is a style/category in itself. Wouldn’t go so far as to devide them any further (into something like east vs. west Cuban style). They’re too similar for that, IMHO. (The export juice – not talking about age or the special stuff you might get via backchannels on the island itself).

If you want something different, you need to switch country :slight_smile:

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I tried a few different Rums from Sancti Spiritus (Paraiso, i guess, is the name of the distillery). Some of them also older single casks.

They were all the same to me with different variations. And not much else to other cuban rums ive tried. Not an exciting rum country compared to others.

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Yup found those already. Ok so in your opinion not much point dividing between cubans, much obliged for your input!

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Yep. Of course there is a certain gradient of quality between them, but the overall profile remains the same. I’d recommend trying the Santiago 12yo and the Mulata 25yo.

If you want to evolve, I would suggest Barbados and Belize as next destination.

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Yes the reason I am exploring a bit is to try to find some personal preferences within the Spanish style of rums specifically but generally speaking I tend to prefer English/French style. It’s just that spanish style rums I know comparatively less about so figured I’d poke around a bit starting with cubans to see if anyone has any nuggets of wisdom.

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Thanks may check those out for sipping purposes. As for Barbados there is also a cocktail aspect for me here with recipes often specifying a spanish style for it to work so part of it for me is just to build a preference base of brands in the cuban and more widely the spanish style when a recipe calls for it.

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There is a Spirit of Rum Release from Cuba coming up, that might be an option too.

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Well if you want the more interesting Cubans, and this is nothing more than a personal opinion, try Puerto Rican rum. I find that there are really, interesting and flavourful rums coming from there. I really like some of the DonQ rums, they are about as interesting as ‘bacardi style’ tend to get. And let’s be honest, there is not much of pre Bacardi Cuba left, even nowadays…

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I was pretty impressed by ron del barrilito 3-star, particularly for the price you can get it for in PR/US. Tried multiple don q and took a good ribbing from my puerto rican friend who described it as a “supermarket rum” for people living there :smile:. Other than PR for the spanish style I’ve been quite impressed by rums from the dominican republic, Opthimus in particular. But despite the warnings I’m gonna try a few more cubans too I think :slightly_smiling_face:.

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It is not really a warning, it is just that through the lens of a state run monopoly there is a really strong curation of what Cuban rum is supposed to taste like. Eventhough I know that there is a broader variety it is almost not existent in bottles abroad…

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Also, this for me is the ultimate DonQ I loved It so much i bought way to many of them😅

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In one point I disagree:

To Europe exported rum from Sancti Spíritus (Paraíso) to me has a quite unique taste and is therefore different from rums from other Cuban distilleries (all state-owned without exception). Characteristical for me is the taste of fresh green apple.
Besides, Paraíso produced single casks for independent foreign bottlers. All the other Cuban distilleries don’t produce single casks, as far as I know.
So, Godspeed, try to get a single cask from Sancti Spíritus. That’s my recommendation. You can find some here at RumX. (Hint: If the label says “Secrete Disillery”, you can almost be sure that it’s a rum from Paraíso.)

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Thanks to whomever shared the links to my earlier articles.

I myself have noticed that many rums labeled Paraiso or Sancti Spiritus have a heavier, oilier taste.

Fun fact: According to an extremely well-placed source, it’s possible that some of the rums attributed to this distillery may have come from other Tecnoazucar distilleries.

Fun Fact #2: In writing the Cuban chapter for Modern Caribbean Rum, I learned a whole lot more about Cuban rum. My prior articles barely scratch the surface. The Cuban rum chapter in the book contains quite a few surprises. :blush:

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@cocktailwonk, thank you very much! I really look forward to your book, to deeper insights, especially, why at the beginning of this century most IBs stopped to name the distillery from Sancti Spíritus but wrote “Secret Distillery” and if Paraíso in Tuinucú still produces rums for the export.

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