Review: Havana Club Tributo 2017

Review: Havana Club Tributo 2017

The second rum in Cuba-based Havana Club‘s Tributo Collection has hit shelves, but not many of them: Just 2500 bottles of this expression will be released globally.

We missed out on Tributo 2016 but were excited to land a sample of the new release. The company explains a bit about why it’s so special.

Havana Club Tributo 2017 has been crafted by Asbel Morales, Havana Club Maestro del Ron Cubano, from a new blend of hand-selected base rums and a decades-old ‘aguardiente’ – or spirit base. The ‘aguardiente’ is at the heart of this rum, and has been enhanced by maturation in barrels that are over 80 years old. The result is an exceptional rum with a distinctive dry note and an intriguing array of flavours, highlighting and paying homage to the finest Cuban sugar cane. The 2017 edition is bottled at 40% abv, with an amber glow and flavours of chocolate, tobacco and coffee.

This unique blend of Havana Club’s exceptional rum reserves honours the passion and knowledge of the Maestros del Ron Cubano, a role that has recently been declared a Cultural Patrimony of the Cuban nation by the Culture Ministry in Cuba. As such, each bottle of Havana Club Tributo is individually numbered and adorned with the signature of Havana Club Maestro del Ron Cubano, Asbel Morales. The outer packaging will entice rum connoisseurs and spirits drinkers alike with luxury green gold cues evoking the sugar cane lands used for generations in the production of authentic Cuban rum.

A sultry experience from the start, this rum offers an impressively deep aroma that mingles Madeira wine with coffee, tobacco, and toffee. This is the barrel doing nearly all the talking, intense and well-integrated wood notes doing the heavy lifting for that fortified wine character that only comes with many years of mellowing in cask. The palate is just as complex and rarefied, loading up immediately with flavors that run from coffee bean and dark chocolate to dried raspberry and green banana. The overwhelming flavor element throughout all of this is a slightly smoky blend of vanilla and caramel, not too sweet as it laces in notes of coconut en route to a finish that echoes more dark (very dark) chocolate. It all comes together quite beautifully, lingering on the tongue for ages and demanding significant thought and analysis.

All told, this is an enchanting and beguiling rum that can go toe to toe in terms of the complexity with some of the world’s most enigmatic spirits, including well-aged Cognac and Scotch whisky. If you happen to encounter a bottle in your travels, strongly consider picking it up (despite the hefty price tag).

80 proof.


Havana Club Tributo 2017




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. neandrewthal on June 15, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Are they trying to say there’s some 80 year old rum or they used a barrel that’s already been used for 80 years?

    • Christopher Null on June 15, 2017 at 4:20 pm

      The latter I believe… though that might imply there is an infinitesimal amount of 80 year old rum in there.

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