Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Unveiling Cuban Rum in the USA: The Private Sessions

The quintessential forbidden fruit of the American is now ripe for the picking. Sipping Cuban Rum, smoking a 'Cuban'; temptations that only a handful of US citizens seriously considered or acted on up until December 17th, 2014. That is the day when President Obama, after earlier discussions with Cuban President Raul Castro, broke the ice in US-Cuban relations with a formal statement to ease trade restrictions and overall improve diplomatic ties with Cuba. Whoa! Yes, it was true and after 53 years, it seemed there might indeed be some thawing of the 1962 Cuban embargo that brought chills in the Cold War era. It was certain, effective January 16th, 2015, a licensed US Citizen, could spend money in Cuba and bring back up to $400 in Cuban made goods, of which up to $100 could be rum and cigars. So this meant you could now go, have your passport stamped legally (pretty cool if you are a US citizen) and not sweat the disposable Visa scenario, dread a lost passport or fear fines and imprisonment after spending a bit of money on daiquiris down in Cuba upon return. Oh yeah! If that wasn't enough of a confidence booster for securing your next travel date, on May 26th, 2015, US Secretary of State removed Cuba from the list of countries identified as being a "state sponsor of terrorism". Thank you John Kerry! This was fantastic news and although it will take an act of Congress to lift the existing embargo, these friendly gestures have given hope to Cuban rum producers for increased trade and US citizens' more opportunities for future travel to Cuba to know more about this country and its people. Even Bacardi, with its Cuban roots and precarious history there, voiced a magnanimous reply to these developments, "We hope for meaningful improvements in lives of Cuban people and will follow any changes with great interest." Such a statement resonates with many and is worthy of praise. Today, despite these positive steps forward, Cuban Rum is not yet legally available for sale in the USA and is technically still illicit contraband unless procured in Cuba in accordance with the above regulations. However, the billion dollar prospect of selling Cuban Rum in the USA is not being taken lightly. One Cuban Rum brand, Havana Club, owned jointly by Pernod-Ricard and government-owned Corporation Cuba Ron, is ready to deliver. Until then, we will hope for more positive developments towards lifting the embargo. In the meantime, as America packs its bags for Havana, there's one question on everyone's mind.

Which Cuban Rums should I bring back? 

Well, soon after the news broke, a CNBC video surfaced about what your $100 USD limit could buy you in Cuba. Sadly, Eamon Javers' disappointing blurb on basically one brand and a few prices attempted to sum it up. Come on, seriously? If you are going to travel to Cuba, one would think a more informative production might arise. No, not so much. Then, there was Conon O' Brien's fun video series on his trip to Cuba. Despite its comedic value, it wasn't really that helpful in regards to understanding or choosing a Cuban Rum. Honestly, nothing substitutes for first-hand knowledge gained from a personal tasting or a trip to Havana. So, how can we learn more before the flight? In light of the friendly open communication between our two countries, the time is right for taking the initiative to open up guided educational opportunities to learn more about this island's rum.

The Cuban Rum Initiative

This Initiative will be composed of a three-part series of private, educational Cuban rum tastings. This foremost comprehensive series will feature vertical tastings of various expressions from nearly every brand of Rum in Cuba. Its purpose is to promote awareness of and offer further insight into Cuban-style Rum. Seriously, who doesn't want to know more about, and better yet, actually personally experience Cuban Rum? Well, naturally, The Rum Collective does!

The Cuban Rum Initiative tastings are private events.
Invites will go out to members of The Rum Collective. 
There will be limited seating.
Reservations will be required.
Cuban food, music and original cocktails will be present.


Edmundo Dantes
Havana Club Rum
Ron Arecha
Ron Caney
Ron Cubay
Ron Mulata
Ron Legendario
Ron Santiago de Cuba
Ron Varadero


If you have questions or feel you should receive an invite as a guest member, please contact: nick@therumcollective.com


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