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When it comes to the world of indulgence and refinement, few pairings are as iconic as Cuban rum and cigars.

The world’s largest share of rum production hails from the Caribbean and Latin America, and for many years, it was closely associated with Cuba. Rum, a distilled spirit crafted from sugarcane juice or its by-products, such as molasses, holds a special place in the hearts of enthusiasts. Most rums are typically made at around 80 Proof.

Cuban sugarcane has played a pivotal role in making fine rum world-famous. Legendary producers like Bacardi trace their origins to Cuba, where the art of rum-making thrives.

Much like whisky and other potent spirits, there exists a market for the finest versions of rum, and it boasts its own aficionados. What sets fine rum apart is its primary ingredient: molasses. It is this ingredient that crafts high-quality rum, aged to perfection in barrels. Fine rums deserve to be sipped from brandy snifters or whisky glasses, either neat or on the rocks. The experience is an aromatic journey filled with oak, stone fruits, raisin, honey, apricot, and honeysuckle, among others. They are not overly sweet but rather, exquisite elixirs for the discerning palate.

Traditions around what to sip while enjoying a cigar have varied over the years. Some preferred port, others brandy, and then there were those who swore by whisky.

Winston Churchill, the iconic cigar aficionado, was known for his fondness for brandy and cigars. A frequent visitor to Churchill’s home, Chartwell, once remarked, “He is an exceedingly kind and generous host, providing unlimited Champagne, cigars, and brandy.”

In America, whisky and cigars have been a popular combination. Notable figures like Ulysses S. Grant and Mark Twain made this pairing famous. Mark Twain humorously quipped, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.”

However, when in Cuba, indulging in a fine Cuban cigar is incomplete without the accompaniment of a fine, barrel-aged rum. One of the most frequently used terms when exploring Cuban rum is “ronañejo,” which translates to “old rum.” Here are some exceptional Cuban rums to seek out:

1. Ron Edmundo Dantes 25-Year-Old Gran Reserva

  • Named after Alexandre Dumas’ novel, The Count of Monte Cristo.
  • Produced in Santiago de Cuba.
  • Limited to 3,000 bottles annually.
  • Notable for its smooth taste with strong hints of vanilla.
  • The 25-Year-Old Gran Reserva bottle is adorned with 24-carat gold, reminiscent of the Montecristo cigar brand.

2. Havana Club Maximo Extra Anejo

  • Founded by the Arechabala family in Cardenas, Cuba, in 1878.
  • Largest producer of Cuban rum, under Pernod Ricard.
  • Maximo Extra Anejo is a non-vintage rum, blended from older rums.
  • Known for oak, smokiness, vanilla, caramel, dried stone fruits, and dark chocolate notes.
  • Considered one of the most expensive rums globally.

3. Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros Triple Barrel Aged Rum

  • Part of Havana Club’s Cuban Barrel Proof edition.
  • Hand-picked casks by maestros roneros.
  • Impressive rum with honey, apricot, and robust character.
  • Truly exceptional.

4. Ron Varadero Anejo 15 Anos

  • Founded in 1862 with Spanish crown support.
  • Aged for 15 years in white American oak casks.
  • Features vanilla, brown sugar, and figs with an intense, long finish.
  • Highly prized.

5. Havana Club Gran Reserva Anejo 15 Anos

  • Crafted by continually blending selected aged rums and aguardientes.
  • Many of them mature in old oak casks.
  • Offers hints of vanilla, dried stone fruits, and honey.
  • Among the finest aged rums in Cuba.

Cuban Rum from the UK and France? Several European distillers have taken Cuban-made rums, aging and bottling them, introducing them to the global market. Here are a few examples of high-end, quality rums:

  • Sancti Spiritus 14-Year-Old: Bottled by English whisky producer Duncan Taylor, this unique rum is aged in oak and is known as one of the only single barrel aged rums in the world. Highly sought after and rare.
  • La Compagnie Des Indes Cuba 16-Year-Old Vintage: A French company founded by Florent Beuchet, offering a variety of vintages of aged Cuban rum. Each bottling is a testament to quality.

Other Aged Rums Worth Exploring Include:

  • Havana Club 5 Añejo Especial
  • Havana Club Añejo 7
  • Ron Varadero Añejo 7 Años
  • Ron Mulata Añejo 7-Year-Old

So, kick back, pour yourself two fingers of aged Cuban rum in a snifter or whisky glass, and let it enhance your contemplative cigar-smoking experience. Cheers to the perfect pairing of Cuban rum and cigars! For more tips and accessories, explore The Cigar Holder website.

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