Sunday, January 30, 2011

Havana Club Barrel Proof - Sunday, Jan. 30th

This is not the review you're thinking of.

I am a stickler for rules. I never break them. That whole phrase about rules are meant to be broken makes my blood pressure rise until blood starts seeping out my tear ducts. I weep tears of blood when rules are broken. You can count on it.

I have never done ANYTHING illegal. No sir. I have totally never drank underage. I have also never, ever, ever done speedballs with Chris Farley shortly before the filming of Tommy Boy. of those is a lie. (Hint: I don't drink.)

I am also a staunch supported of the United States. And, combined with the fact that I am all about the rules, I can assure you that I follow all of the laws of the United States while here abroad. I stop kids trying to drink before 21. I drink coffee instead of that dastardly tea that cost us so much way back when. I drive on the right side of the road and always at 55mph. But most importantly, I NEVER buy Cuban products. Ever. According to the United States Treasury (brings up a PDF):

"The question is often asked whether United States citizens
or permanent resident aliens of the United States may
legally purchase Cuban origin goods, including tobacco and
alcohol products, in a third country for personal use
outside the United States. The answer is no. The
Regulations prohibit persons subject to the jurisdiction of
the United States from purchasing, transporting, importing,
or otherwise dealing in or engaging in any transactions
with respect to any merchandise outside the United States
if such merchandise (1) is of Cuban origin; or (2) is or
has been located in or transported from or through Cuba; or
(3) is made or derived in whole or in part of any article
which is the growth, produce or manufacture of Cuba. "

However, there has been a large market for replica products of Cuban goods. While many are designated as "fakes", or copies of Cuban products sold as Cuban goods, there is also much trading of "Carbon Copy" products. Produced to exactly replicate the flavor profiles and nuances of Cuban cigars and rum, they are widely available in foreign countries for U.S. tourists to bring back. For all intents and purposes, they are exactly the same as their Cuban counterparts but are NOT their Cuban counterparts. Please bear that in mind.

It is with great honor that I got to try a recent addition to the "Carbon Copy" market, the Havana Clüb Barrel Proof rum. A masterfully done blend of the finest rums available by a secret group of rum aficionados located in Cologne, Germany, Havana Clüb (rhymes with "tube") Barrel Proof is the Western replacement for the highly illegal, super duper terrible Havana Club Barrel Proof. Here's a picture:

Totally and utterly NOT Cuban rum.
As you can see, it is clearly German. You can obviously see the umlaut. Completely German, not Cuban. Yup. Here are the flavor notes:

The nose is spectacularly flowery. Heavy hints of jasmine, and bergamot. An earthy quality as well reminiscent of mud or bitter coffee. Curacao peel as well. Quite complex.

The taste is rather nice. The flowery quality of the nose comes through with jasmine and a Earl Grey tea like quality. Not as sweet as I expected it would be. Some burnt sugar/creme brulee flavors as well. Slightly tannic and astringent too. I wonder what kind of wood they age it on.

Overall, a fine effort by those secretive German blenders. It is a fine example of what I've read to be the genteel, lighter Cuban style. Clocking in at 45% ABV, exactly like the Cuban counterpart, it has enough oomph to deliver that fragrant style. I think the taste might get washed out at a lower ABV though. Unfortunately, I won't be able to compare the Havana Clüb Barrel Proof to the Havana Club Barrel Proof any time in the near future. A shame but as I said, I stick to the rules.

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