The history of Cuban rum is as old as colonization itself, as it is extracted from sugar cane, a product brought to the island by the Admiral on his second voyage to this continent. The following is known, the roots of sugar cane from the Canary Islands seized in the virgin and fertile Cuban soil where it found an ideal microclimate to grow, primarily around indigenous villages and trading.
There are many versions about the origins of rum, like the one from 1650 that tells that in the Caribbean area there was a rum made by the pirates and privateers who roamed the area and called it "rumbillion".
In Cuba, however, story tells that with the extermination of its first inhabitants, to the sixteenth century, and the arrival of black slaves torn from their lands, the story continued.
It is said that slaves were accustomed to drink what they called "guarapo", obtained from the fermentation of cassava and maize. Then they began to extract juice from sugar cane, which once fermented, gave rise to a strong liquor. The liquid was originally obtained using rudimentary devices, but later the mill was used in refineries and power plants; the juice was turned into alcohol and eau-de-vie came out.
Desired for its clarity and pleasant smell, distillation after distillation, rum emerged, but it was not until the nineteenth century that it turned into a quality and competent drink.
Then, various distilleries and brands appeared in the country. Distilleries in Cardenas, Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos and Havana were built. Several brands were imposed in the world, including the Methuselah Jiquí, Bocoy, Campeón, Obispo, San Carlos, Albuerne, Castillo, Bacardi and Havana Club.
Bacardi was established as the best and biggest exporter for most of the nineteenth and twentieth part. One of the main laws of the revolutionary government that triumphed in 1959 was the nationalization of large private companies. The owners of the Bacardí emigrated and although they took the brand, they failed to take or obtain abroad, the good taste of Cuban rum, "which remained on our soil, the reeds, wind, sun, molasses, alcohol, barrels and heritage of technological process "in the words of a renowned writer of this Caribbean nation.
Since then, the Cuban rum-making industry was reorganized and expanded. "Havana Club" emerged again, founded in Cardenas l878- dedicated to export, which emblem is the Giraldilla, a statue symbolizing the city of Havana.
From l993 this brand is presented under the Franco-Cuban company Havana Club International SA -French company Pernod Ricard is responsible for global distribution – and produces Añejos Blanco, Especial Tres Años, Reserva 5 years and 15 years and also of younger Cuban Barrel Proof and Extra Añejo Máximo, all of great national and international acceptance.
For a long time, Havana Club was alone in the world market. Currently, other equally important Cuban brands have achieved significance in the world, including: Mulata, Caney, Arecha, Legendary, Varadero, Santero and Caney.
Its current manufacturing
"Behind the secrets of one of the best rums in the world, there is an indispensable man, the master of time and his universe of flavors, the master of the winery, the Master of Rum, who knows each of the barrels as a shepherd knows his sheep "(*).
On one occasion, chatting to the First Master of Rum of Havana Club, Jose Navarro, from Santiago de Cuba, a chemical engineer by profession who has worked in the rum industry of our country from a young age, told us about his work and said that in the Cuban rum there was not any secret in their manufacture, their quality is not due to a well-guarded formula, but only to "an inherited and passed on from generation to generation, from Cuban to Cuban, heart to heart culture .... ".
Cuba seems to have the gift of sugar cane and rum, as this grass grows admirably in our land and the molasses extracted from it is of a unique quality, with a natural microflora that makes our eau-de-vie something truly special, Navarro said.
After enumerating the various stages needed to reach the rum, he highlighted the contribution made by men, mainly in the figure of the Master of Rum.
High specialist in his work, José Navarro recognizes the values of his peers and notes that these not only have high technical skills as well as being able to identify and select raw materials, as well as making equipment designs and technological improvements, keeping in every action the historical quality of national rums without essences or artifice.
He identifies the rum step by step, every stage of the manufacturing process up to the final blend, made with all the creativity born of their identity, culture and mixture of cultures in Cuba, we prefer to call Master of Rum, Master of Cuban Rum, since it entails a permanent and direct identification with the rum heritage and culture in our country, he said.
(*) History of Cuban rum