Cuban rum brand Havana Club has launched Tributro 2018, the latest edition in its ultra-premium range, at Havana’s Cigar Habanos Festival.

This edition is the third in the range and it differs from previous Tributo expressions because it was finished in smoky whisky casks; a first for Cuban rum. The maturing process provides notes of smoke, seaweed and iodine, which Havana Club claims perfectly complements the unique flavours of Cuban rum.

Havana Club Maestro del Ron Cubano Asbel Morales said: “This rare rum finished in smoky whisky casks is a manifestation of our proud Cuban heritage interpreted for modern rum drinkers. We proudly present Havana Club Tributo 2018, a true Cuban rum with a unique taste that pays homage to the influence of the cask in the different varieties and styles of Cuban rum.

“The Tributo 2018 edition is a testament to the craftsmanship at Havana Club Distillery, and we celebrate the expertise and passion of everyone who carefully monitored every stage of the distillation, maturation and blending process.”

Havana Club International global marketing director Nick Blacknell said: “Following the success of Tributo 2016 and 2017, we are now pleased to introduce the latest edition in the collectable Havana Club Tributo collection – a prestige Cuban rum with a delicate, peated whisky flavour and presented in a first-class design to emphasise its luxury credentials.

“We are confident that Tributo 2018 will appeal to whisky and rum connoisseurs alike looking for high quality and authentic drinking experiences.”

For the Tributo range, Morales selects the finest aged bases from the brand’s cellar reserves, which he experiments with to create each distinctive annual edition. The range is aimed at spirits connoisseurs and collectors.

Morales said: “Creating the Havana Club Tributo Collection is a fascinating process, as each release will provide a new and unique taste experience, achieved through experimentation with rum bases from our reserves.”

Only 2,500 bottles of Tributo 2018 will be released to 21 markets, which is five markets more than for the 2017 edition. Each bottle is presented in a white wood box to communicate the role of oak in the 2018 product and will be numbered and authenticated by Morales’ signature. It is bottled at 40% alcohol by volume and will retail at €400 per 70cl.

Havana Club is the third most popular rum brand worldwide and the most popular premium rum brand. The brand uses traditional Cuban techniques to produce its rum products, including blending the spirit with fresh sugarcane and aging the products naturally.

It was chosen in the 1970s by the Communist Cuban government to represent the island by exporting the country’s best rums under one label. It was acquired by alcoholic beverage conglomerate Pernod Ricard in 1993 to help the brand with international marketing and distribution.