Monday, 9 March 2009

Havana Club Rum - the world's fastest growing spirit

Distributed by Pernod since 1994, Havana Club is the leading Cuban rum sold in France and is the fastest growing spirit in the world today. Created in 1878, the brand is named after the famous Havana bar, the Havana Club. Authentic and festive, this "ron" with intense character is made from the best Cuban sugar canes, using the traditional methods of master rum makers. An international benchmark for Cuban rum.
Havana Club Añejo Blanco
A "ron" full of lightLight colours, delicate flavours … Havana Club Añejo Blanco is the lightest of the "añejos". The result of a long process of sugar cane transformation, this rum aged in white oak barrels reveals attractive, slightly sandy tones and rich, smooth flavours. Authentic, it is the perfect ingredient for traditional Cuban cocktails

Havana Club 3 Year old
Delicate fruity notes Rum with a subtle, supple flavour, Havana Club 3 years offers wooded notes, combining the flavours of toffee, vanilla, chocolate and spices. Aged for 3 years in oak barrels, until it achieves its delicate straw-coloured shades, this fruity "ron" can be enjoyed neat, with or without ice, or in cocktails.

Havana Club Especial
Exceptional fullness A distinctive association, Havana Club Especial brings together several rums cask-aged for up to 5 years, combining the lightness of young crus with the intensity of more mature "rons". This rum with its dark colours and fine roundness offers a floral fragrance of sugar cane and spicy notes of honey, vanilla and cinnamon

Havana Club 7 Year old
Complexity full of flavour With a beautiful mahogany colour, Havana Club 7 Year Old presents powerful and complex aromas. Obtained from rums aged for at least 7 years in oak barrels, this "ron" of remarkable quality has a very rounded bouquet and persistent taste, with flavours of cocoa, coffee, tobacco and spices.

Havana Club 15 Year old
An intense, gourmet rum Complex aromas, gourmet flavours of cream, almond, vanilla and toffee. Havana Club 15 Year Old is an incomparable blend of rums resulting from a long process of ageing in white oak barrels, for at least 15 years. A rum of great character, intense, supple and fragrant

Havana Club Maximo
A rare association Made specially by Don Navarro, the most experienced master rum blender in Cuba, Havana Club Maximo is a unique amber-coloured "ron", considered to be "the supreme expression of Cuban rum". This alliance of extra-old rums of great finesse is presented in a precious crystal carafe with elegant lines, blown using traditional techniques and numbered by a master glassmaker.

An ancestral rum

Cuba has become known as the "Isle of Rum". A sugar cane with a global reputation (introduced in 1493 by Christopher Columbus), the favourable Caribbean climate, a fertile soil and the unique skills of Cuban "Maestros Roneros" (Rum Blenders) have all contributed to establishing this image. The inhabitants of Cuba, as well as sailors and adventurers, used this exceptional sugar cane to make fermented nectars and the "tafia" that would later become Cuban rum.
In the early 19th century the quality of the rum began to improve considerably with the introduction of copper stills and the first attempts at ageing, thanks to the efforts of Pedro Diago, now considered the father of Cuban rum. It was his idea to store the eaux de vie (aguardientes) in pots buried in the ground.

In the second half of the 19th century, a lighter, more refined rum was produced: "Ron Superior". This was developed on the instructions of the Spanish Crown, which was seeking a more delicate rum capable of satisfying "the court and the elite of the Realm". "Ron Superior" was the forerunner of today's Cuban rum. A light, smooth, delicate rum, crisp and exceptional straight or in cocktails. It proved so popular that by 1860, there were over 1,000 distilleries in Cuba.

Today Havana Club, the leading Cuban rum in Cuba and worldwide, embodies the heritage of Cuban rum production. Based on the unique skills of its Maestros Roneros, Havana Club has maintained the art of "Añejamiento" at the heart of distilling, ageing and blending of premium

But the name Havana Club, which is an integral part of Cuban culture, also captures the unique atmosphere of Havana, the capital of Cuba. The finest proof: the life-loving Cuban people are the true ambassadors for Havana Club. They have made it a national icon.

The know-how of master rum-makers

The sugar harvest: this takes place during the month of December, in the dry season. The "Macheteros" proceed with cane extraction. Crushed, it produces rich, creamy black molasses (called "mieles" – literally honey - in Cuba).
Molasses purification: cleaned of all undesirable elements, the molasses are submerged in the purest spring water. Yeast is then added to this mixture, called the "baticion": the molasses ferment for around thirty hours.

Distillation: the volatile alcohol is released from the molasses through copper distilling columns. The precious "aguardientes" or pure spirits and eaux de vie are collected at the end of this operation.

Ageing: The "aguardientes" are then aged in unique ageing cellars, their walls lined with casks, filled with the aromas of wood, sweet almond and blond tobacco. To ensure that the mixture is imbued with the most intense aromas, no detail is left to chance. The casks are chosen with care, depending on the wood used to make them, their age and the spirits they previously held. The degree of aeration and humidity is strictly controlled. After a year and half of ageing in white oak casks, the alcohol content of the eaux de vie is reduced to 54°. They are then purified by settling over active charcoal, which removes any remaining impurities: a typical Cuban method.
Blending: the work of master blender Don Navarro, the different elixirs are blended in big oak vats. A pure sugar cane distillate is then added to the mixture before filtering it again. The most refined aguardientes, "Añejos" or matured rums, will develop over the months.
The colourful Cuban rum Havana Club Especial is perfect for Cuba Libre (see Cocktails). Havana Club 3 Year Old is perfect for cocktails such as the Mojito, Daïquiri or Collins. Havana Club 7 Year Old, 15 Year Old and Maximo are ideal for drinking as a digestif.In order to discover all the aromas of rum, we recommend drinking Havana Club in special glasses. Effectively the shape of the glass is a key factor in the quality of olfactory perception. For optimal tasting, rum should be served in tulip glasses, with a slightly enclosed upper rim. These are preferable to wide-based or over-large glasses, for example.
The recommendation of master rum blender Don José Navarro, Havana Club's premier "Maestro Ronero": The fruit of ageing and careful blending, Havana Club 7 Year Old and Havana Club 15 Year Old marry perfectly with the aromas of a Cuban cigar. Two island specialities of excellent quality, whose subtle aromas lend themselves perfectly to the most sophisticated tasting experience.
Cuba libre :- 3 measures of Havana Club Especial- 7 measures of cola- 1 slice of lemon- 2 or 3 ice cubes
Mojito- 1 measure of Havana Club 3 Year Old - ½ spoon sugar- Juice of half a lime- Crushed fresh mint- 2 or 3 ice cubes- Dilute with sparkling water
Daiquiri- Shaker- 1 measure of Havana Club 3 Year Old - ½ spoon sugar- Juice of ½ a lemon
Collins- 1 measure of Havana Club 3 Year Old- ½ spoon sugar- Juice of half a lime- 2 or 3 ice cubes- Dilute with sparkling water se

Excerps and pictures from website

Ballantine's Whisky Leaves an Impression

Distilled in Scotland for over a century, Ballantine's has become a veritable benchmark in the world of scotch whiskies.The producers of Ballantine's were the first to recognize the benefits of long ageing in the barrel. This technique, previously reserved for ports or fortified wines, gives Ballantine's premium whiskies their very distinctive flavour.

Ballantine's is the 2nd largest whisky in the world today with sales of 6.4million 9 litre cases worldwide equating to 2 bottles every second being purchased. Ballantine’s has won over 60 trophies and medals in the last 10 years at international competitions.

Ballantine's Finest
The refinement of aromas since 1910Both subtle and elegant, Ballantine's Finest is the most famous whisky in the Ballantine's range. Produced from over 50 single malts, it reveals an inimitable, perfectly balanced taste. Delicate nuances of chocolate, apple and vanilla make this blended scotch whisky a "must".
In the spotlight Colour: Pale gold.Nose: Deep, with spicy notes.Palate: Well balanced with hints of chocolate, apple and vanilla followed by a delicately floral finish.Finish: Sophisticated final notes add a fresh and floral touch.

Ballantine's 12 Year old
Complexity of aromasBallantine's 12 Year Old is a premium blend revealing mellowness and complexity. It is produced by selecting and combining over 40 malt and grain whiskies aged 12 years and over.Launched in the 1950s, Ballantine's 12 Year Old is recognised as an international benchmark for premium scotch whiskies.
In the spotlight Colour: GoldenNose: Notes of honey, sherry sweetness and oaky aromas.Palate: Mellow and complex, floral, revealing notes of honey, vanilla and oak.Finish: Long, fresh and slightly salty.

A Scottish adventure
The brand's beginnings date back to 1827, when George Ballantine opened a grocery store in Edinburgh and sold whiskies selected for their high quality. He went on to specialise in the wines and spirits trade, then to creating and perfecting his own blended whiskies. George Ballantine was then appointed supplier to the British royal family.To cope with the growing demand, he asked his second son to go into business with him, and founded George Ballantine and Son Ltd. The company then began to export and expanded fast.

In 1895, the company was granted the Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria, rewarding the prestigious reputation acquired by Ballantine's in high society.
In 1919, the Ballantine family accepted a buy-out offer from Barclay and McKinlay. The new owners undertook to develop Ballantine's as a commercial brand, thereby promoting the excellent blends they had inherited.

In 1937 the company was rewarded by a Grant of Heraldic Arms, recognising George Ballantine & Son as an "incorporation noble on the Noblesse of Scotland". The heraldic arms that decorate the Grant still appear on bottles of Ballantine's today. The label reflects the key ingredients for making Scotch whisky and is the only whisky to do so.
Since then, Ballantine's has developed to become the leading seller of Scotch whiskies in Europe, and the 2nd global brand of scotch whiskies. Bought by Pernod Ricard in 2005, the brand has been distributed in France by Pernod since January 2006.

An association of character

Ballantine's blended scotch whiskies combine malt and grain whiskies from the most famous regions of Scotland, to create elegant, balanced scotch whiskies of unique complexity.The age shown on bottles of Ballantine's corresponds to the youngest whisky used in its composition.
Two signature malts give Ballantine's its identity and style: Glenburgie and Miltonduff.
Opened in 1810, the Glenburgie distillery is one of the oldest in the Speyside region. It produces a single malt that gives sweet notes of fruit to Ballantine's.- The Miltonduff distillery, also in Speyside,. has produced a floral malt with soft vanilla notes since 1824.Ageing in oak bourbon casks gives it vanilla notes, revealing the floral and lemony characters of the malts.
Each malt and grain whisky therefore offers its own character, whose blending is skilfully orchestrated by the cellar masters to produce the Ballantine's range of premium scotch whiskies.
This range is therefore the result of the work of a dynasty of cellar masters who, in the tradition of George Ballantine, use all their skills in the service of making high quality Scotch whiskies - complex, elegant and balanced.

How to taste

The taste then confirms the olfactory analysis. Take a small mouthful and swirl it around your mouth so that it comes into contact with all areas. Identify:The body: is the texture, the sensation in the mouth, oily, silky, round, velvety, hard?The palate: is the flavour of the whisky spicy, wooded, malty, fruity?The finish: is the taste of whisky remaining in your mouth rich, prolonged, light, dry?

When to drink
We recommend drinking Ballantine's whiskies as an aperitif or digestif, neat, with mineral water or on ice.
Ballantine's Finest makes a great aperitif, ideally as a whisky sour: shake together 4 cl Ballantine's Finest, 4 cl lemon juice and 2 cl cane sugar syrup in a shaker with a few ice cubes and serve in an "old fashioned" type glass, decorated with a twist of orange peel.

Excerpt and pictures from the website.

Aberlour Single Malt Whisky

We all have our soft spots - mine is Aberlour.
Winner of 16 gold medals at the International Wine & Spirit Competition, Aberlour is the jewel of whiskies. The inheritance of carefully-preserved skills, these single malts are made in the distillery of the same name, in the renowned Speyside region, a veritable "golden triangle" for malts in the Highlands of Scotland. Combining excellence and purity, they have a taste of unique complexity, with rich and authentic aromas. Aberlour is 'The Definitive Single Malt Taste'.

Aberlour 10 Year old

Roundness and balance.A well-rounded blend with a spicy finish, Aberlour 10 Year Old is a single malt offering both complexity and a perfect balance. Aged in old oak bourbon or sherry casks, it reveals delicate sherry and honey notes, with hints of mint and toffee.

History has it that well before the Christian era, Celtic Druids from Ireland founded communities in Scotland before emigrating to the East. Druids settled close to a source of very pure spring water. Convinced that the waters were haunted by spirits, they called the place "Aberlour", meaning in Gaelic "the mouth of the chattering burn".

In 1879, James Fleming set up the Aberlour distillery on this legendary site in the eponymous village of Speyside, at the heart of the Scottish Highlands.

Today, Aberlour is the 5th largest selling single malt whisky worldwide. Aberlour 10 Year Old Single Malt is available throughout South Africa at liquor stores and all reputable restaurants, pubs, clubs and hotels.

Aberlour 10 Year Old Colour: A beautiful amber colour with slight reddish-gold tints.Nose: Malty, smoky notes, typical of Scottish malts. The aromas are dominated by fruit esters: plum, apple and pear characteristic of great Speyside Malts. Palate: Balanced and complex, slightly creamy with soft aromas of sherry, honey and toffee. Finish: Long and warm, with spicy notes.