Havana: My worst find on this trip


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I have been going on about the value of Ron Caney Anejo Centuria for years, since Hamlet told me about it in November 2011, that it had been his favourite rum.

Every time I visit Havana have have a guy have some bottles ready for me.

For the last couple of years he has had a harder time finding it.

Last February, there was only one shop that had it that we could find. A supermarket at 12 and Linea in Vedado.

They had about 100 bottles on the shelf.

For me, it was the best value rum in the world at $7.60 for 7 year old and very very nice.

February.thumb.jpg.72cf400a2838e2548fe7bbcc7d013bd4.jpg

 

I had been hearing rumblings about discontinuation or repackaging, and I had seen a different package style in Italy.

Then last week my worst fears were confirmed

They have repackaged it and upped the price by 600%

November.thumb.jpg.14dbf08cf627d226f7ed0c1306ba1acb.jpg

 

It's a nice tin tube and all but for $42 extra?

To be honest a part of me feels vindicated in going on about what great value it was all those years.

Mostly, it's sh**e. My favourite rum and rum-deal now costs more than Santiago 11.

And if anybody's wondering, it's the same rum. I've done a few side-by-side tastings and can't see a difference at all.

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I have been going on about the value of Ron Caney Anejo Centuria for years, since Hamlet told me about it in November 2011, that it had been his favourite rum.
Every time I visit Havana have have a guy have some bottles ready for me.
For the last couple of years he has had a harder time finding it.
Last February, there was only one shop that had it that we could find. A supermarket at 12 and Linea in Vedado.
They had about 100 bottles on the shelf.
For me, it was the best value rum in the world at $7.60 for 7 year old and very very nice.
February.thumb.jpg.72cf400a2838e2548fe7bbcc7d013bd4.jpg
 
I had been hearing rumblings about discontinuation or repackaging, and I had seen a different package style in Italy.
Then last week my worst fears were confirmed
They have repackaged it and upped the price by 600%
November.thumb.jpg.14dbf08cf627d226f7ed0c1306ba1acb.jpg
 
It's a nice tin tube and all but for $42 extra?
To be honest a part of me feels vindicated in going on about what great value it was all those years.
Mostly, it's sh**e. My favourite rum and rum-deal now costs more than Santiago 11.
And if anybody's wondering, it's the same rum. I've done a few side-by-side tastings and can't see a difference at all.


Damn, will be there later today. Been wanting to try the Santiago and this. Guess I will but at a higher price now. Thanks for the heads up.


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I remembered you talking about this rum but could not recall the name. When Agnes and went to Duty Free at the Havana airport, they did not have any Santiago at all but they did have a rum called Ron Bengay that comes in a tube and says not to be taken orally. I passed and got some Havana Club Maestros and Rob Cubay 10 year old.

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6 minutes ago, Monterey said:

How much Rum can you take to the US?  Some places I see 1L other places 2L.  I don't drink but people always ask me to bring back rum for them when I go to Cuba.

The limit is 5L I believe. From Cuba, only the first liter is duty-free. The duty free $ limit if $800 for rum+cigars. After that, the duty rate is 4%.

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4 hours ago, amberleaf said:

Gibraltar duty free sells Cuban rum cheaper than anywhere in Cuba. When I was there in 2016 HC7 was £10 and Maestros was £20.

 

Gibraltar has great deals on rum alright. The Selección de maestros is now £23 a bottle. Their best deal was a 1 liter bottle of HC Barrel Proof for £10.70 until about 2010. My heart sank, but not much, when it went to £11.20 a liter there. All gone now. Someone I know there got the last 200 cases of Barrel Proof at £2 per bottle.

i saw I liter bottles of Barrel Proof in Lebanon 2 months ago at $40 and thought that was a great price.

Caney has never been available in Gibraltar though.

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2 hours ago, Ken Gargett said:

i've brought back caney back a number of times. still have a bottle or two. what a shame. 

i remember on one of my earlier trips paying $3 a bottle for havana club blanc, away from the tourists. $50 plus here. 

The white Havana Club isn’t available anymore in most of the touristy shops. Normally they start with the slightly-colored 3 year old. It’s still available in shops and bars in Havana a little off the beaten path though. The price hasn’t gone up much. I can’t remember off the top of my head but it’s certianly less than $5. That stuff needs a mixer though, unless you’re up for a bit of punishment!

The White isn’t available in ireland. Though the 3 year old is getting very popular, it can be had for about €23-€25. Good for mojitos and daiquiris. It’s actually better in a daiquiri than an aged rum.

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2 hours ago, Derboesekoenig said:

The limit is 5L I believe. From Cuba, only the first liter is duty-free. The duty free $ limit if $800 for rum+cigars. After that, the duty rate is 4%.

With a duty rate of 4%, 10 bottles of rum at, say, $50 per bottle, has a duty of $20. 

Am I missing something or is there any reason that that could ever be a problem for anyone?

its a serious question. Similarly for cigars, isn’t the duty something similar, 4% to a maximum of 40c per cigar, or $10 per box.

i don’t understand how paying that kind of tax on, for example, a $330 box of 25 Sir Winston’s could be a problem for anyone.

We have it different here, about €400 per kilo of tobacco over 50 cigars. Or about 7 euro import duty per double corona.

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Yes, since the changes just a few years back it's become quite affordable to bring in a fair amount of cigars and rum for personal consumption.

When we landed I was asked if anything to declare. I stated 4 bottles of rum and around 250 cigars. The Customs agent asked us if we thought Cuban cigars were really better than others, assured him we thought so and he waved us by,

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17 hours ago, Çnote said:

Spirits premiumization has hit Cuba? Someone thinks rum is the next bourbon....hmmmmm

I happen to think that rum is the next category that will see more consumer interest.  Higher prices and scarcity will soon follow. 

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23 hours ago, Çnote said:

Spirits premiumization has hit Cuba? Someone thinks rum is the next bourbon....hmmmmm

It's coming. There are more premium rums coming from every rum producing area.

I've been going to Cuba twice per year for the last few years and every time I go I see 2-3 new aged rums at $40-$80 a bottle.

Over the summer I had drinks with my brothers-in-law. One a long-time scotch fan, the other a fan of Irish whiskey and other premium whiskeys. At a barbeque, I brought out a bottle of Havana Club 7 year old. HC 7 wouldn't be in my top 10 of even Cuban rums but it's the best I could get in rural Ireland. We drank it neat and on ice and they both couldn't get over the fact that rum could taste like that. They had no idea that aged rum was "a thing" and how different it is to the white stuff. Two new fans there who I presume will be raiding my rums when I see them next.

Aged rum as a trend has started and will see a lot of growth, until the next recession that is.

On that note, Havana Club 7 year old (along with Especial and 3 y/o) is now available in nearly supermarket and bottle shop in Ireland. In small towns in backwaters etc. Places where 10 years ago Bacardi (at one time the best selling spirit in the world) would have been exotic. It says something for the marketing and distribution of the stuff. 

Still, there are times when a 200 ml carton of white rum with a straw for 40c sitting on the Malecon is the greatest thing in the world.

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