Sometimes you have to go to the source.
Last week for instance, when we wanted to tell you how to make the most authentic Cuban mojito, we didn’t just ask anyone – we brought in Havana Club Brand Ambassador, Donnie Wheeler.
So it follows that when we want to talk about rum, we’re going to go beyond the bottle.
In fact, we went all the way to the heart of the Havana Club distillery in Cuba to talk with Asbel Moreales, a Maestro Ronero or master rum maker.
When you’ve earned the right to have the word master in your title, you’ve been doing something right.
And for Moreales, that something is making Havana Club. From harvesting the sugar cane to taking the final sip, he’s part of every aspect of the meticulous creation process and knows it as well as anyone in the world.
So we decided to ask the expert just what it is that makes Havana Club rum so notable.
What is the most important part of the blending process?
The heart and soul that are put into the creation of Havana Club is by far the most important part of the process, and indeed, what ensures such a high quality result every time.
Of course, the humidity and hot climate Cuba provides, as well as the class of the barrels we use, also helps a great deal in providing Havana Club with its unparalleled flavour.
How did you discover your passion for rum?
In Cuba, we are born with a passion for rum. But you only discover your passion to become a rum master through working in the industry.
I discovered my passion years ago while working at the distillery; it was not something I could have learned in university. Working there at such a young age gave me the passion for production. And I found out early on that I had the talent necessary to discern the most important aspects of a rum’s flavour with relative ease.
What would people be most surprised about when it comes to rum making?
The history of rum making goes back centuries—all the way to a specific type of spirit first invented in Cuba called life rum.
The cultural elements inherent in this first blend have been passed down for generations upon generations, and today, Havana Club is one of the most authentic representatives of the original composition.
Indeed, each glass of Havana Club offers the chance to taste the entire history of Cuban culture.
What makes Havana Club so superior?
The cultural history of Havana Club cannot be overlooked, but there are technical elements too, like the range of shades and flavours, colours and aromas.
Havana 7, for instance, is very full-bodied with a full range of scents, like tobacco, the tropics, and chocolate. The natural flavours are obtained through an aging process that employs white oak barrels previously used to age whiskey.
That’s why the taste and quality is so specific to Havana Club. It’s unique and exclusive. Furthermore, the yeast used is a secret only known to rum masters—and we’ll never tell!
How do you personally like to enjoy rum?
The Cuban tradition is to savour it neat and pure.
But it’s also a hot, tropical climate, so a mojito made with Havana 3 Year is also a refreshing option. I also enjoy Havana 3 Year with cola and lime. Or on the rocks… every way, really.
What food tends to pair best with rum?
Lighter rums definitely go well with seafood, while more aged rums pair well with red meat, pork, and cheese.
What’s the best part of your day?
The best part of my day, that’s also the most time consuming, is the blending, or creation of new rum.
In general, however, the ultimate moment comes when I can share the final product with my family and friends.