Experience: Santiago de Cuba Extra Añejo 12 Years Rum. As Scarce as a Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5980R.

Just as scarce as a Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5980R is one of Cuba’s most legendary rums. Less popular outside the Cuba than the well known Havana Club —produced by the same state company Cubaron—, Ron Santiago de Cuba takes its name from its birthplace, Santiago de Cuba a.k.a the craddle of Cuban light rum. Established since 1862 and produced by Cubaron since 1960 when the revolutionary government nationalized the Bacardí and Matusalén factories. It is the work of dedicated masters of rum and workers of old rum factories in that region, who became the owners of the factories with the triumph of the Revolution. Santiago de Cuba Rum much like a Patek Philippe Nautilus, constitutes the highest expression of Cuban Rum tradition as the Nautilus is the one of the highest expressions of Swiss watchmaking.

Scarcely available outside of Cuba, Santiago de Cuba Rum can be found in four different modalities that include Carta Blanca, Añejo, Añejo Superior and Extra Añejos. Its logo pays homage to Santiago de Cuba’s landscape with its mountains under the Caribbean sun and the sea along them. While the Extra Añejo or Añejo Superior can be found as an 11-year-old or 12-year-old rum, the notes on both of them are quite similar.

Often mixed with cola over ice to create a traditional Cuba Libre, the Santiago de Cuba Extra Añejo 12 Years Rum is better enjoyed neat or over a rock of ice for us connoisseurs of Cuban rums. A complex synthesis of the great attributes of rum aging in Santiago de Cuba, its long lasting flavor and aromas highlight the highly evolved oak casks in which it is aged.

Dry but soft and pleasant to the taste at the same time, Santiago de Cuba Extra Añejo 12 Years brings the best from the presence of the selected ‘eau-de-vie’ that is utilized as part of their ‘solera’ aging system with old but active barrels during its aging process. With a beautiful light amber color and notes of caramel and vanilla on the nose, Santiago de Cuba Extra Añejo 12 Years Rum is smooth but complex at the same time. On the palate, strong notes of apple, vanilla and oak are present as this very light rum goes down your throat. Relatively similar in taste to an extra-old Spanish brandy, Santiago de Cuba Extra Añejo 12 Years Rum is unlike any other rum you’ve had and as distant as it gets from a Zacapa 23 or an Havana Club.

Unique, bold, smooth and scarce are some of the words that come to mind when sipping this rum. A king without a crown when it comes to Cuban rums, especially without having to break the bank for an Havana Club Gran Reserva 15 Años, Havana Club Máximo or Havana Club Tributo 2018. In sum, Santiago de Cuba is a rum that can give many prize winning rums a run for their money.

Sticker Price $120 USD.