Made in Cuba, Havana Club Especial is a blend of rums of different ages, matured for 4-5 years. It is made from fermented molasses, which comes from sugar cane grown in Cuba. The alcoholic molasses is distilled with a column still and then matured in American white oak barrels. Havana Club Especial is very widely available in the Baltic countries. A 70 cl bottle costs about 15 € in Estonia.
The smell has vanilla, honey, caramel and slightly spicy aromas. It is quite light, but in itself very pleasant. The taste is smooth, slightly caramelly and heavy vanilla at the beginning. After a sweet start, it becomes more spicy and includes aromas of oak, cocoa and coffee. The aftertaste is already quite dry and woody, slightly bitter. The burn of alcohol is quite pungent, but still short. The taste is not very mature and complex, rather quite straightforward. It is well balanced and medium-bodied, suitably sweet and spicy. The sharp and slightly bitter aftertaste slightly lowers the level of enjoyment. However, this can be patched up with a small addition of water or a couple of ice cubes, both smoother the taste, yet still retain the spicy nuances.
Although Havana Club Especial is drinkable neat, it is mainly intended for mixed drinks, which the manufacturer itself calls for on its website. Of course, it suits very well for that purpose and in its own price range it’s a good choice. Like Havana Club’s 3 Años is also an Especial consistently quality product and a recommended choice if you are looking for an affordable and good slightly aged rum for a variety of drinks.