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Cuba's signature rum, Havana Club, competes with the best known brands in the world even though it cannot be sold in the largest rum-consuming market. In Cuba, there are barrels that have been used to age rum for more than six decades – as long as the U.S. embargo on the island has stood – and that give the liquor distilled from sugar cane its unique flavor.Despite the U.S. embargo, global sales of Havana Club, which is available in 120 countries, grew 6 percent in 2017, led by Germany and France.London-based rum expert Ian Burrell told AFP that the 3-year-old versions of the two Havana Clubs are very different, and he can pick out the Cuban style – aged in Scotch and Irish whisky barrels – in a blind taste test with its light woodiness and citrus notes.The Bacardi version – aged in barrels used for American bourbon – "is lighter compared to the modern-day Cuban rums. Rum master The human touch is key to a rum's flavor.In Cuba, there are eight rum masters – including one woman – who benefit from a tradition passed from generation to generation.The highest quality rums are aged in 60-year-old barrels.
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