I plan on sampling it shortly and hopefully it will be as excellent as I remember it. Anyone have any comments?
When I first tasted this last year, I thought it was sensational.
However, I tasted it again in a line up a few weeks ago - it was featured amongst two Balvenies (Double Wood & 15yo), the Glenfiddich 12yo, and the Glenfiddich 30yo.
Either the bottling has changed a little, or the company it was in played a part, but my thoughts this time around was that the Gran Reserva seemed a little flat.
It certainly featured a toasty butteryness that was not evident in the other Glenfiddichs, but it seemed a little dry (woody), if not lifeless. The spiciness I recall from my first tasting was not there.
As a 21yo, it was certainly inferior to its older brother!
If it's so then it must be a sad day for Canadian bordershops, aspecially those who sold the Havana Reserve at greatly inflated prices to US shoppers who just had to have it (it being illegal and all).
If it's got to do with the legalisation within the US, I think that's going a littlebit to far. The embargo would have taken act immediately after releasing the Havana Reserve and not leave on the market for a year or so. However it's possible that the Cuban Rum affair overshadows the name of a whisky. But why leave it on the market for so long?
When I tasted it for the first time some years ago, I immediately said: 'that's not my cup of tea' . It was to sharp of flavors.
I think a bit of both about what's mentioned here might be the case. The name Havana and the US embargo against products from Cuba. However it's still possible for the US Customs & Excise to prove that the barels came from Cuba. I believe if they use Jamaican Rum nobody else would disagree, might be even well worth a try. But in the other hand lots of people think of Rum as in origional Cuban Rum, at least that's the common thought.
My 2 Euro cents,
As for Havana Reserve being on the US marked for a year that could account to the US Customs not realising a 'cuban' product could come from the UK - but upon discovering it they immediately banned it from sale (this happened in 2002 I think).
I do belive it's impossible for US Customs & Excise to prove that Fiddich is using Cuban barrels unless Fiddich themselves tell them. But then they may demand that Fiddich prove they don't use Cuban barrels anymore.
For starters they had to change the name because of the embargo. At least thats what the brand ambassador of Maxxium said, and he's usually very correct in these things.Nothing that comes from Cuba is allowed in the US, and "Havanna" is a name from Cuba. Still they use casks previously filled with Cuban rum so i have no idea wether this namechange makes it legal now.
As for the taste of it. Once more i totally agree with admiral, the Havanna was superb, creamy, spicy but mild, wonderfull, the Gran Reserva is much more lifeless. The rum seems to have flattened everything down, its not even creamy anymore. just light and without much flavor. However, Finishing in rum barrels is tricky as you can only keep it in there for i believe maximum 14 hours, after that the rum adds bitterness to the whisky. So i think and hope that it will depend on what cask was used for bottling, so im hoping the gran reserva is inconsistent and some botlles(from the same cask) will be better then others. They said on the tasting bottlings may vary alitlle because some casks might be finished just enough, while the one i tasted had too much i think.
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