By Web Editorial
Almost two hundred people remained attentive, on the morning of August 18, in a room at the Havana Club Rum Museum. They wanted to know how and why the knowledge of the Masters of the Cuban Rum and the industrial spaces where this knowledge is transmitted, had become from 2016, in Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Cuban nation.
If the incredible variety and quality of the products developed by the Corporation Cuba Ron S.A. is corroborated when you taste them, to have the opportunity to listen to some secrets revealed by the people responsible for the miracle: the Masters of Cuban Rum, confirms that there is a deep cultural scaffolding that makes it possible.
The conference took place as part of the special “Heritage and Memory Route: from Cuba to the World”, organized by the Trails and Gaits program belonging to the Office of the City Historian, in collaboration with the National Council of Cultural Heritage (NCCH).
The initiative shows the cultural expressions that have been declared Cultural Heritage of the Nation and have been inscribed in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Similarly, it delves into the inclusion of several Cuban projects in the Memory of the World program.
After a presentation by Lic. Lina Nodo López, specialist of the Intangible Heritage group of the National Council of Cultural Heritage, First Master Juan Carlos González Delgado spoke about how each of the regions of the country has its peculiarities and these are reflected in the final product.
“The intrinsic characteristics to the brands of the West, Center and East are due to both the traits of the people who work them, and the soils and the climate, resulting in different rums despite the fact that they arise from the same tradition and technological knowledge”, he said.
However, something unifies all territories and makes Cuban light rum unique: “The main contribution to its taste and smell is its completely natural origin. There is no artifice. It is a product achieved by men and traditional methods of aging, not by machines”.
The attendees learned about the process, from the cutting of the cane to the obtainment of the brandy, “whose sensory properties we later modified with mixtures and different stages of aging, during an extremely complex process that continues to contribute to the evolution of rum”.
Juan Carlos González believes that the best rum, “just like the people of this country, could not be anything other than an excellent mix.”
In obtaining it helps the work of the Movement of Masters of the Cuban Rum, founded by the First Master José Pablo Navarro Campa and compounded by professionals of great sensitivity and “depositaries of a knowledge, a culture that is not only ours, for that reason we have the responsibility of preserving it and developing it. "
The specialists explained to their audience that they must have mastery of the technology, but it is more difficult to demonstrate that they are consequent with this heritage.
The master Asbel Morales Lorenzo explained the history of rum in Cuba, from the first drinks brought by colonizers and pirates, to the producing in 1862 and under the leadership of Facundo Bacardi of the light version.
“It was a new kind that quickly spread throughout the world, dragged all producers and today is the predominant style. Today Cuban rum is identified as a spirit as fine as the most prestigious distillates in the world”, he stated.
Master Manuel Calderón Echevarría stressed the importance of ensuring the quality that characterizes the current brands, preserving that connecting thread of knowledge that comes from the beginning and should continue to develop in the next Masters of Rum, a movement that currently counts with eight qualified members.
One of them, and the only woman, is Salome Alemán. The master exhorted to drink responsibly and spoke about the challenges of developing in this specialty, commonly associated with men. However, she explained that there are several women training as aspirants to the Master of Cuban Rum title and said that it is very important that females know this cultural expression to prevent excesses in their families.
The file containing the knowledge of the Rum Masters and the industrial spaces where their knowledge is reproduced, is among the next ones prepared by the NCCH specialists to achieve their inclusion in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Gladys Collazo, president of the Council, attended the conference and thanked “the privilege of having a large part of the masters and the president of Cuba Ron, Juan González Escalona, who supported us since the first moment to achieve the declaration of National Heritage in 2016".
He added that the entity wants to continue working with Cuba Ron S.A. to “encourage visits to industries, which are also part of the heritage”.
González Escalona stressed that “if the Masters of Cuban Rum did not feel so deep their responsibility with the work, love, dedication and patriotism with which they do it, this spirit would not be so important for culture”.
Finally, he offered details about the Havana Club brand “leading with 95% of exports. It is the brand that more Cuban rum has carried to the world, exceeding all those that existed before the Revolution. To preserve the prestige of this product we have a constant battle for intellectual property".