Category Archives: White Rum

Havana Club – Añejo Blanco

 Añejo Blanco is Havana Club’s answer to Bacardi’s Superior.  Both are aged for at least one year and are crystal clear white rums.  On paper, they are identical offerings.  But there’s far more to these brands than most people realise.

Bacardi and Havana Club are bitter rivals, both being founded in Cuba in 1862 and 1878 respectively.  After sharing the Cuban market together for over 80 years, both companies were changed forever by the Cuban Revolution, in very different ways.  Bacardi was smart enough to move most of its assets (including its trademarks) out of Cuba prior to the revolution, and although they lost their Cuban assets, the company was able to move production offshore and maintain its brand.

Havana Club however was nationalised by the government and the Arechabala family (founders) fled to Spain and later the United States.  Havana Club continued to be produced in Cuba, and in 1994 was released to the international market, under a 50/50 joint venture with French beverage company Pernod Ricard.  A further twist of the saga resulted from the Arechabala family selling the Havana Club trademark in the US to Bacardi.  This resulted in both companies spending 15 years between 1997 and 2012 in various courts fighting over the trademark.

Due to the US trade emargo on Cuba, Bacardi does not have to compete with Havana Club in the US.  However with relations improving, most commentators see a time in the not-to-distant future where the embargo will be removed.  Bacardi is worried – very worried – this will result in a considerable loss of market share.  Hence, it will do everything it can to reduce the impact.

It’s hard not to agree that Havana Club’s rums are generally of a higher quality than their Bacardi counterparts, at least for their commonly produced rums.  This is probably a result of Bacardi having an enormous market share, which at least in the case of Superior, gives the impression of a highly mass produced product.

Añejo Blanco does not give this impression.  Even when highly dilluted with a strong mixer, there is an obvious taste difference.  In simple terms, it just tastes more like a rum, rather than a generic filtered white spirit.  For this reason, we consider Añejo Blanco to be a mid-range white rum, and Superior to be a basic white rum.

Since the release of Havana Club Añejo 3 Años (3 year old white rum) in Australia, Añejo Blanco is becoming increasingly harder to buy, even in major retailers such as Dan Murphys.

Distilled at the Havana Club Distillery, Havana Cuba. 37.5% ABV.  Retail Price $34.90 (Dan Murphy’s).

 

Although its range of premium dark rums are becoming more widely available, Havana Club is still best known for its white rum, Añejo Blanco (Spanish for ‘Aged White)’. Bacardi Superior has long been the market leader in the white rum market, but in Australia has recently lost significant market share to Havana Club Añejo Blanco and Bundaberg Five.

Superior and Añejo Blanco are both aged for one year and are completely clear rums.  Añejo 3 Años (Spanish for ‘Aged Three Years’) on the other hand is aged for three years, which is shown in the rums slightly golden colour.  Despite the colour of the rum not being completely clear, it’s still well within the white rum camp.  To the best of our knowledge, this makes Añejo 3 Años the oldest white rum widely available on the Australian market.

We certainly don’t see a place for a white sipping rum, and if it’s going to be drowned in mixers, what’s the point?  Clearly, this rum is not designed to be drunk with cola or even a tall glass of pineapple juice.  However, it is the more subtly flavoured cocktails such as the Mojito or Daiquiri (both Cuban favourites) where Añejo 3 Años comes into its own.  Having said that, it sells for only $5 more than Añejo Blanco (at Dan Murphy’s), so unless you’re short on cash you can drink it anyway you choose.

In fact, with the relatively low price tag, we may see Havana Club Añejo Blanco all but disappear from the Australian Market, making Añejo 3 Años the direct competitor to Bacardi Superior – giving the former a definite advantage.

Distilled at the Havana Club Distillery, Havana Cuba. 40% ABV.  Retail Price $39.99 (Dan Murphy’s).