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Moët Hennessy to ‘challenge the usual perception of Cuban rum’ with Eminente

Luxury goods group Moët Hennessy is to “challenge the usual perception of Cuban rum” with the European launch of Eminente.

The new brand, which is being officially launched in the UK now by the drinks division of LVMH, is a near £50 Cuban rum with a seven-year age statement that’s been blended for sipping on its own; over ice or in cocktails.

Speaking during an online launched of Eminente Reserva on Friday, co-founder of the top-end rum, Briac Dessertenne, said, “We hope to challenge the usual perception of Cuban rum and Cuba as a whole.”

This is because of the rum’s upmarket positioning, style, sourcing and imagery, he explained.

Speaking further about the latter, Eminente co-founder and brand director, Camille de Dominicis, stressed that the packaging was novel for a Cuban product, before revealing the inspiration behind the rum’s appearance, which features a crocodile logo and ribbed glass, resembling the reptile’s skin.

“When people think about Cuba they think of the colourful streets, the cigars, the revolution; there is an amazing visual patrimony for Cuba, which is very related to what you see on postcards… but when we went to a distiller on the centre of the island, we realised it had much more to offer,” she said.

Among these elements is the country’s high level of endemic species, including the Cuban crocodile, which the islanders are trying to protect. It also gives its name to the local term for Cuba, which is the Isla del Cocodrilo, because the shape of island resembles the reptile when see from above, and it is this image that Eminente has chosen for its logo.

Other differences relate to the rum itself, which takes its inspiration from nineteenth century flavours of Cuban rum – these historical rums tended to be “more intense”, according to de Dominicis.

It also relates to the rum’s creator, César Martí, not only because he is considered especially talented, but also due to the location of his upbringing on the island. Martí is one of the island’s ten Maestros Roneros (master Cuban rum distillers) – the youngest ever to acquire this status – and he grew up in Cuba’s Central Province of Villa Clara, where he was born into a family of sugar cane farmers.

It is in this part of the island where the rum is distilled, giving a specific character to the spirit, according to de Dominicis.

“The taste of rum from the centre of the island is a bit unknown,” she explained. Continuing she said, “When you try and summarise the two main styles of Cuban rum, one is the western style, called occidente, the source of Havana Club, and the other is the eastern style, or oriente, and our central style is a mix of the two.”

While the western style is generally heavy and robust, and designed for making cocktails, the eastern style is generally lighter, fruitier and made for sipping on its own. As for the central style, that tends to be “where both frontiers meet”, according to UK brand manager for Eminente, Max Helm.

“It is a rum with versatility; it is great for cocktails because it has structure, but at the same time it has fruit, making it great for sipping as well,” he said.

Continuing he commented, “You don’t see many central styles coming out of Cuba,” which makes Eminente unusual in the world the world of Cuban rum.

César Martí

There are other distinctive elements to the rum too. These relate to the “fully-ripe” sugar cane used for the rum-making process, ensuring that the base material has a high sugar content, along with the short fermentation times employed, which yield something “light and fruity”. Then there’s the rum’s minimum ageing period of seven years in white oak barrels, which provides depth and richness to the product.

Considering that one year of ageing a spirit in Scotland would be the equivalent to three years in Cuba’s tropical conditions, the seven-year period is significant.

But a “massive part of Eminente” in terms of its impact on the character of the rum is the high content of “pre-revolution aguardiente,” according to Helm, which reaches a new high of 70%, with the remaining 30% being Cuban light rum.

According to Helm, it is more normal to have less than 20% of agudiente de cana in a Cuban rum.

“This [high level of agudiente] is unseen before, and it gives lot of depth, complexity and length to the rum,” he said.

Referred to as ‘the soul of Cuba’, aguardientes are the most flavourful and complex eaux-de-vie that the island produces from molasses distilled to 75% ABV, which are then aged in white oak barrels that were once used for ageing whisky, blended and aged again with traditional light Cuban rum distilled to 96% ABV.

The aguardiente brings the complexity and depth of aromas, while the light rum adds vitality, thanks to the strength of the alcohol.

Eminente Reserva is aged for a minimum of seven years and is one of only a handful of Cuban rums to be classified ‘Denominación de Origen Protegida’ (D.O.P. Ron de Cuba). This status is granted by a Regulatory Council: the D.O.P. Ron de Cuba which dictates strict rules to ensure the authenticity and high standards of Cuban rum.

Eminente Reserva is available now from with an RRP of £47.

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