Things are getting downright cozy between the U.S. and Cuba lately, eh?
After more than half-a-century of acrimony, name-calling, muscle-flexing, and worse, the longtime rivals finally appear ready to patch things up and move on. This excites many Americans to no end, of course, anxious as we always are to get a taste of any and all things that have been kept from us.
Some of these heretofore forbidden tastes aren’t reserved solely for those lucky enough to visit Cuba either; especially the rum.
No, you won’t find Cuban rums on U.S. store shelves just yet, but if you live in the Seattle area you can learn all about them and enjoy a generous taste by participating in the Cuban Rum Initiative.
A first of its kind educational series on Cuban rum on U.S. soil, the Initiative is being organized by our friends at The Rum Collective. Exclusive Cuban Rum Initiative events to be held throughout the summer feature nine dynamic brands, including a new favorito for me – Ron Varadero.
(MUCH more on the Cuban Rum Initiative here.)
I discovered Varadero in St. Maarten back in April at the aptly-named Friendly Duty Free liquor store on Front Street, Philipsburg. I was originally looking for Havana Club 7, a top choice of mine in recent years, but was encouraged to give Varadero 7 a try by the Friendly staff.
Of course I bought ’em both. Tried ’em together in our typical “session” style too.
In the end, I emerged still loving Havana Club, but not markedly more so than Varadero.
Both were supremely well-balanced on the sweetness scale, with Varadero skewing a tad drier, smokier, and somehow, maybe, a little more mature. I later learned that there may be something to this as Varadero is produced at Nave Don Pancho in Santiago de Cuba.
One of the most legendary corners of the rum world, Nave Don Pancho dates back to 1862, making it the oldest of all Cuban distilleries. This is where the real, original Bacardi was birthed by Don Facundo Bacardi himself, a good 100 years before Castro’s rise to power led the family to leave Cuba, forever changing Bacardi.
In this way, Nave Don Pancho is widely seen as the birthplace of modern rum, a proud heritage you can taste in every sip of Varadero 7.