Havana Club has launched a new bartender-only line called Edicion, which sees the company collaborating with bartenders to make the product. There are two products in the initial launch, Edicion A and Edicion B, with further collaborations in the pipeline. Leading on-trade figure Nick Strangeway was on hand at Bar Convent Berlin (BCB) to take us through the two different products, which both have a run of 12,000 bottles.
Watch out for further launches as part of this project, Alex Kratena has apparently signed up to work on the next iteration.
‘There are flavours in the Havana Club warehouse that have never been used, because they don’t fit the traditional picture of Cuban rum,’ explained Strangeway. The intention with this project is that some of these unusually flavoured rums will be used and celebrated.’
The Edicion project started last year with the 200th anniversary of legendary Havana bar Floridita, when the rum brand approached Floridita head bartender Alejandro Bolivar Rodriguez to join them in making a rum to celebrate the occasion. The result of the collaboration is Edicion A, which is an extra-aged dry white rum made in the style of ‘carta blanca extra’, a rum category that disappeared in the 1960s.
‘This is light and elegant like a Cuban rum, but has a bit more power and body to it,’ Strangeway said.
Bolivar Rodriguez’s original intention was for the rum to be used in a thrown Daiquiri – Floridita’s Daiquiris are usually blended – but Strangeway suggests that the rum works very well in aromatic, stirred drinks such as El Presidente.
It’s got a lovely body and sweetness for a white rum, with a hint of butterscotch, hay and unripe banana which heralds a drying influence on the palate that’s accompanied by a touch of salt.
40% abv, £POA, Pernod Ricard UK, 020 8538 4406
Strangeway himself was the key collaborator on this rum, which contains a blend of four different rum bases and has a smoky characteristic thanks to the inclusion of some rum that has been aged in Islay casks. The three other rums in the recipe are ‘oro’, which brings sweetness and typical rum characteristics; ‘centenario’, which is aged in very old casks and contains a small amount of rum from the 19th century; and ‘extra secco’, which feels bone dry, is reminiscent of oloroso sherry and is aged in American oak casks.
The result is an intriguing liquid with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce up front, followed by dried apricots, almonds and coffee beans, before it dries out mid-palate with some interesting salinity and a tiny hint of charcoal.
Strangeway thinks this rum works particularly well in the Nacional, a cocktail that he has struggled to balance before using this product.
40% abv, POA, Pernod Ricard UK, 020 8538 4406
Alejandro Bolivar’s twist on the Greta Garbo cocktail.
Nick Strangeway created Sweetheart to showcase the broader mixing opportunities for rum with the new range.