Havana Club is the gold standard - Añejo blanco and añejo 3 años are the rums to use when light is called for. I find Cruzan has gone downhill fast, with Brugal and FdC being the most easily available good options, with FdC having a slight edge. Don Q Cristal is OK and relatively ubiquitous, better than Bacardi, but I think the previous two are better.
Posted 27 November 2013 - 04:57 PM
Haven't had Havana Club yet, sadly, but I agree on all other counts. Don Q is what I was reared on, but while perfectly inoffensive it's also rather flavorless, like a nice enough vodka with some rum around the edges. I find that Plantation 5, though a Bajan rum, does nicely when amber Cuban rums are called for; I tried it side by side with Brugal Extra Viejo and found it smoother, better-integrated, and just as flavorful.
Eta: I haven't tried it yet, but Caña Brava, a rum distilled in Panama by a veteran of the Cuban rum industry, is supposed to be a very good Cuban-style white rum and the closest thing to HC Añejo we can get (legally) in the states. It's produced by The 86 Co, the industry heavyweights (Jason Kosmas, Simon Ford, Dushan Zaric) behind Fords Gin, Tequila Cabeza, and Aylesbury Duck Vodka.
Edited by Rafa, 27 November 2013 - 05:05 PM.
”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937
Posted 28 November 2013 - 01:00 PM
I'm sure someone in New York has some under-the-table Havana Club...keep looking!
Having tried HC blanco and Caña Brava side by side (perhaps in my kitchen), I will confirm that they are quite similar. Though, my wife, who is the bigger rum drinker & huge HC fan, does not care for the Caña Brava, claiming it has some additional funk that she finds off-putting.
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DeVoto, The Hour
Posted 04 December 2013 - 10:08 PM
Tonight I mixed up a meyer lemon daiquiri with Barbancourt 5 star. Not the best. Barbancourt 5 star is nice for sipping but I haven't found anything with which it mixes all that well. Busted Barrel is still my go to rum for Daiquiris. Really would like a second Daiquiri, but must resist.