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Havana Club Cuban rum experts to share knowledge

MEDIA RELEASE 31 October 2008

Havana Club Cuban rum experts here to share knowledge

Havana Club is bringing a team of top rum experts from Cuba to share their knowledge with New Zealanders.

“This is the first time that Cuban experts of this stature have visited New Zealand,” says Pernod Ricard's Nigel Kelly, national brand ambassador for Havana Club. Pernod Ricard distributes the icon international Cuban rum brand in New Zealand.

Havana Club brand ambassador Miguel Angel Diaz Vargas and distinguished bartender Damian Dominguez Perez from Havana Club International will present a series of masterclasses to members of the New Zealand hospitality industry.

Damian Dominguez Perez, barman for Havana Club International since 2003, attended the International Bartenders Association 2005 world championship as a member of the Cuban delegation. He has visited more than 35 countries to share his knowledge of Havana Club.

Miguel Angel Diaz Vargas, Havana Club brand ambassador, has been working with the rum producer since 1999. Among his responsibilities was managing the Havana Club Music Band, a role which took him to more than 25 different countries. He became full-time brand ambassador earlier this year.

Their visit to New Zealand includes an exclusive celebration at the Cuban ambassador’s residence in Wellington on Tuesday 11 November. This event will be attended by dignitaries and select members of the New Zealand hospitality trade and media.

“The Cuban Embassy in New Zealand is delighted to welcome the Havana Club experts from Cuba. We look forward to them sharing the flavours and culture of Cuba so New Zealanders and Cubans can celebrate Cuba together,” says Mr Jose Luis Robaina Garcia, Ambassador for the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba, Wellington.

The masterclasses are presented in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown. Here, members of the New Zealand hospitality trade will gain first-hand information on the history, production and “culto de la vida” of Havana Club. This will be followed by an interactive cocktail training session.

One of the highlights of the masterclass is the opportunity to taste the rare Havana Club Cuban Barrel Proof, a unique concept in rum. Hand-crafted by Cuba’s most respected distiller, Don Navarro, Havana Club Cuban Barrel Proof is a blend of different rums aged in old white-oak barrels. This blend is then put to rest in younger oak casks and finally bottled straight from the cask at 45% alc/vol without any dilution.

Since the founding of the La Vizcaya distillery in Cardenas in 1878, all Havana Club rum is made from premium, locally grown sugar cane. This cane typically produces molasses of low viscosity with a hint of acidity. Pure water, slow distillation, patient ageing and subtle blending are the keys to producing this superior rum.

Pernod Ricard offers four authentic Havana Club rums in New Zealand:
• Havana Club Añejo Blanco is a light, white rum, the ideal mixer for refreshing cocktails such as the traditional Cuban national cocktail, the Mojito.
• Havana Club Añejo Especial is a premium golden rum that combines the lightness of white rums and the robust aroma of dark rums. It is the perfect base for classic Cuban cocktails such as the Cuba Libre.
• Havana Club Añejo Reserva is a subtle blend of many aged rums, selected to combine a powerful taste with a light aroma. It can be enjoyed neat, “a la roca” (on the rocks) or in an exceptional Cuba Libre.
• Havana Club Añejo 7 Años is composed from rums aged for a minimum of seven years in white oak barrels. One of the best aged rums in the world, this is best enjoyed with ice to enhance the complexity of the aroma.

The popularity of Havana Club is growing worldwide, with more than three million 9-litre cases sold over the last year. This success is emulated in New Zealand, where the brand is becoming increasingly visible.

Next year, for the first time, Havana Club is to be the spirits sponsor of New Zealand’s largest street party, the Cuba Street Carnival, held in Wellington on 21 February 2009.


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