Pernod Ricard UK has launched a new recipe and new look for the Añejo Especial expression of Havana Club rum, promoting it for using in a classic Cuba Libre.
The new recipe, developed by maestro ronero Asbel Morales, provides a smooth, sweeter taste profile thanks to the choice of rums and a two-stage process of maturation.
With a rich aroma and taste profile, the rum has notes of vanilla and caramel and an underlying hint of tobacco, cinnamon and orange peel. It remains at 40% ABV.
The packaging has been redesigned to provide stand-out on the back bar and reflect the premium quality and provenance of Añejo Especial. New elements include lettering in a handwritten style and an oak-barrel effect on the label to highlight the craftsmanship and the Cuban rum’s core values of authenticity, quality and tradition.
The new recipe was tested in the UK by 15 leading bartenders who agreed that the new Especial would be more liked by their consumers and potentially lead them to drink Especial more often than the old recipe.
They also stated that the new recipe worked better for them in mixed drinks and was preferred in the traditional Cuba Libre they tried during the tasting. This is made by mixing rum with freshly squeezed lime juice and cola over ice. See below for the recipe.
The participating bartenders, all working in London, included Eoin Kenny of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Valentino Longo of The Ritz, Jack Hubbard of Callooh Callay and consultancy Strangehill, Adam McGurk from Hawksmoor, Joe Stokoe from consultancy Heads, Hearts and Tails, Alexx Mouzouris and Imogen Elliot from The Rum Kitchen, Andreas Tsanos from Baku, Renaud de Bosredon of Mash London and Manuel Alvarez of Milk and Honey.
Asbel said: “At the Havana Club distillery in Cuba, we are continuously working on developing new recipes that will appeal to a wide range of rum fans around the world.
“The new Havana Club Añejo Especial has a distinctive flavour profile due to the unique production process we have adopted whereby the rum bases are aged in white, young oak barrels before being blended and aged for a second time ahead of bottling.
“The influence of the barrel ageing is evident in the flavour profile with notes of vanilla and caramel really coming to the fore, which makes it an ideal base for Cuban cocktails, particularly the Cuba Libre.”
Adam Boita, head of marketing for Pernod Ricard UK, added: “We’re delighted with the new Havana Club Añejo Especial – our maestros roneros have produced an excellent rum for classic Cuban cocktails.
“With this new recipe and premium look, we are confident that Havana Club Añejo Especial will satisfy demand from sociable young adults seeking a sweeter taste profile but for whom authenticity and high quality are equally important purchasing cues.
“The new-look bottle design will also help deliver a stronger product message and provide the brand with heightened visibility within the on-trade.”
According to the tasting notes, the new recipe has notes of vanilla and caramel on the nose with a hint of woodiness from the barrels plus a touch of spice, orange and floral notes. On the palate, it offers notes of vanilla and caramel plus hints of tobacco, cinnamon and orange peel. It finishes on a dry note from the tannins of the barrel alongside the sweetness of caramel.
50ml Havana Club Añejo Especial
10ml Freshly squeezed lime juice
Fill a highball glass with cubed ice and add the rum and lime juice. Top up with cola. Garnish with a wedge of lime.