Bacardi

Review: Havana Club 7 Years Old (1980s) by Jason Hambrey

Havana Club.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
7 Years
Recipe
From molasses
Distiller Havana Club (Santa Cruz del Norte, Cuba)

This is an old bottling of Havana Club, and the air has certainly done good effect on the rum, hence the lack of rating. However, always fun to taste old stuff - the bottle is about 30 years old, likely from the 1980s sometime.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~1985

Dry, and spicy. Then edgy brown sugar comes in, with nuts and macadamias. An old oxidized note - like that of burning dust when you turn on a toaster that has been neglected for some time. The taste is dry and light, with molasses and a slight earthiness. A light, quick finish - a touch of a medicinal note at the end. Vanilla comes, throughout - nose, palate, and finish - with time.

Assessment: N/A (would be a C+ bottled, but clearly has oxidized so not sure what the starting point would have been)


Review: Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin by Jason Hambrey

Bombay Sapphire.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
None
Recipe
N/A
Producer Bacardi

After prohibition, complicated cocktails took a backseat to simpler drinks with fewer ingredients. Gin and tonics were popular, but largely with the upper class and tonic water was expensive - though President Kennedy liked a G&T which helped encourage its sophistication. The second world war hit a number of distilleries, and in the 1960s and 1970s vodka rose to immense popularity. In 1987, Bombay Sapphire launched and perhaps launched the era of modern gin - the bottle was presented in bottle that stood out - blue, with all 10 botanicals clearly listed. It was the first gin to use a vapour infusion process, whereby the spirit was flavoured by the botanicals through vapour infusion. This process sets the botanicals in copper baskets in the still through which the alcohol steam passes on its way up the still, as opposed to steeping, where botanicals are soaked in the spirit or beer before distillation is complete. This imparts a more delicate flavour - the focus, itself, was different - The gin's profile was more citrusy than other London Drys before it, and it started to move away from juniper-heavy gins.


Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: ~2018

Toffee, orange peel, a slight soapiness, and a slightly rough around the edges grainy character. The palate is slightly sweet, with a grainy „feel” to it – but light juniper, slight spice, and citrus. Relatively light, with a light „essences” rather than full-bodied infusions (to clarify, they use whole botanicals, not „essence”). Finish is sweet, with a touch of pepper coming forward and developing to citrus with a slight drying sensation.


Review: Havana Club Anejo Reserva by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
From molasses
Distiller Havana Club (Santa Cruz del Norte, Cuba)

Havana Club is the most popular brand of rum in Cuba, though, interestingly, it is also made separately in Puerto Rico by Bacardi. The reason for this is that the family left after Cuba nationalized the land (and the distillery), and Bacardi bought the brand from the family that left while the brand is also produced by a partnership between Pernod Ricard and the Cuban government in Cuba. It has been the subject of a large trademark dispute. I'd be interested to do a side by side with both, except the rums aren't that great to begin with.

It is the third rum up in their lineup, after the 3 year old white rum, and the anejo especial. Reportedly, it is aged about 5-6 years.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2016

Not a lot on the nose – oak, a hint of vanilla, coconut, sweet, and lightly vegetal. Light and easy – really, that’s all this one is crafted for. The palate is easy and simple, featuring many of the notes of the nose. Dried berries and light oaky spices on the finish. Brief tasting notes, but I think you get the picture…

Value: Low. It’s cheap, but I still think there are more worthwhile buys even at the price.


Review: Bacardi Gran Reserva 8 Year Old Rum by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
8 years
Recipe
From molasses
Distiller Bacardi (Catano, Puerto Rico)

This is the top of the line for the Bacardi branded rums - an 8 year old entry level sipping rum, aged in oak barrels and perhaps finished in sherry.


Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2013

Nose: Dark with some more woody notes and even cheese aromas as of brie. Dried fruits, vanilla, berries, dried plums, intriguing...

Taste: Much sweeter and fuller bodied than the Superior version, with the same characteristic berry notes. Not as sour or harsh. There is, as well, oak on the nose which isn't present in the white version. I still don't love it, however. There's a bit of tangy-ness on the finish.

Finish: A bit of butterscotch on the finish along with the clove spice which I didn't notice with the superior version. Not long lasting or complex; perhaps I've been spoiled by my whiskies. There is some vanilla on the finish, but it's not that significant. Fairly dry, and perhaps very lightly woody.

Though it is interesting, and perhaps well put together, the flavour profile overall has just been difficult to get excited by.

Value: Well, not expensive, but there are some better rums in the lower price brackets still (or it’s worth paying an extra 5$).


Review: Bacardi Superior White Rum by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
From molasses
Distiller Bacardi (Catano, Puerto Rico)

This is one of the biggest, most well known white rums from the rum giant Bacardi. The company used to be based in Cuba, but it moved on to Puerto Rico after Castro moved to nationalize all property in Cuba. Now, in North America, it is distilled in Puerto Rico or elsewhere depending on where it is exported.

White rum is typically aged (though not necessarily in casks, sometimes in steel tanks) for around a year and then filtered through charcoal. Bacardi superior, however, is still aged in oak casks.


Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2013

Nose: At base level, I find the nose from rums quite enjoyable. It smells both sweet and sour, with light molasses and milk chocolate coming off quite clearly. I don't love some of sourness, but it is reasonably light and easy going. The berry notes come on a bit on the nose as well, and a bit medicinal with light vanilla.

Taste: Sour molasses with some sharp berry notes that I noted as well in the 8 year old version coming through quite clearly. Slightly sweet, with some tangy sourness and light brown sugar as well with a touch of a burn towards the finish

Finish: Slightly sour with barely any flavour other than a light rum molasses note. there is a slight flourish of spices - mainly clove - as well on the finish which don't do it so badly. Slightly salty and mineral-y. Not really that great...

Value: it’s cheap, but there are better rums out there for this price. I don’t particularly favour this one.


Review: Cazadores Tequila Reposado by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
Reposado (2 - 12 months)
Recipe
100% Blue Agave
Distiller Bacardi Y Cia (Arandas, Mexico)

One thing I do really like about Mexico is that the distillery has to be written on the bottle - with Norma Oficial Mexicana (NOM) codes. (See here.) I wish whisky had the same...it might cut out quite a bit of misleading or illegitimate marketing, which is everywhere in the whisky world.

The stag on the bottle comes from the deer which grazed among the blue agave plants outside the house of Jose Maria, who founded the brand. The tequila is double distilled, and double fermented (like wine).


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2016

Quite candied on the nose, with some creamy and spicy notes as well.  Dry and spicy, with cilantro, and rising woody spice through to the peppery, methol, fresh orange, toffee, and creamy finish. Fairly clean, and also a bit sweet (too much perhaps). The finish also has some dried berries. Overall, again, no bad off notes – but lacking complexity I search for.

A decent tequila.

Value: Average. This sits in the mid-range of tequila prices, and is a decent buy.