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Press release from CNW Group

Havana Club® presents Havana Cultura? returns to Toronto with Cuban music, art, food and cocktails on lower Ossington

Friday, August 19, 2011

Havana Club® presents Havana Cultura? returns to Toronto with Cuban music, art, food and cocktails on lower Ossington10:00 EDT Friday, August 19, 2011Iconic rum maker also launches new, super-premium rum in Canada at popular festivalTORONTO, Aug. 19, 2011 /CNW/ - For culture junkies, history buffs, cigar smokers and rum aficionados, Havana is a one-of-a-kind destination that seems almost frozen in time. But, for one weekend this summer, Toronto residents can again experience the unmistakable vibe and contagious spirit of Havana without having to leave their own city.Those heading to regular hangouts on the hip Ossington strip August 18 to 21 should expect to hear the sounds of Havana Cultura™ — authentic Cuban jazz, salsa and rumba, Afro-Cuban soul and reggaeton — flowing into the street from many of the top establishments that have made Ossington one of the trendiest neighbourhoods in town. While there, revellers can check out contemporary Cuban art and graffiti, incredible photography as well as enjoy tasty Havana Club® cocktails and Cuban-inspired food at some of the best bars and restaurants in the area. And if they'd like to smoke a hand-rolled cigar, they can do that, too."Following three successful years, Havana Club presents Havana Cultura returns once more to Toronto," says Dominic Kreutzner, Brand Manager for Havana Club rum, the festival's creator and key sponsor. Now globally celebrated in seven markets, this festival was brought to life in Canada by Havana Club International S.A., before launching internationally. "This project and festival continues to provide Cuban artists of all disciplines with a platform to showcase their talents to the world," adds Kreutzner. "They get to share their perspective on the modern Havana, through their music, art, film and photography. These artists' work is a direct reflection of their life and their city."The cultural project originated in Havana in 2007 with the website, the backbone of the global initiative. Twenty artists have been added this year on the website. But, Havana Cultura has further developed through two central production projects in the field of music, with world-renowned DJ/producer/musician Gilles Peterson's collaboration in two albums in 2010: "Havana Cultura Remix" and "Havana Cultura Sessions", and visual arts, with a grants program that finance yearly the production of six visual art pieces from emerging Cuban artists.Over four days, lower Ossington Ave. will be transformed into a little Havana, brought to life by visiting artists and musicians as well as Cuban expats living in Toronto. Participating venues in the neighbourhood (on Ossington between Queen St. W. and Dundas St. W.) will host a unique, Cuban-themed activity. The festival is once again headlined by world-renowned Peterson, who returns to Toronto on Aug. 20 at The Mod Club and will be playing some of the latest tracks from his soon-to-be released follow up to last year's hit albums. Also appearing on the bill is Havana-based musician Edrey from Ogguere, as well as local drummers and deejays.The festival will also mark the North American debut of emerging Cuban photographer Alejandro González, who is showing his work in Canada for the first time. Supported by the Havana Cultura project, González's striking portraits of young, independent, socially active Cubans — who are equal to the myriad other youth subcultures around the globe — capture the true essence of ascending, modern Havana, from the streets of Centro Habana, to the all-night salsa parties of Vedado through to the tobacco fields dotting the Cuban countryside.Coinciding with the popular festival, Corby Distilleries Limited will also be launching the newest addition to the award-winning Havana Club rum portfolio, Selección de Maestros. This gold-medal winning, super-premium rum ($59.95 at the LCBO) has been hand-crafted for sipping, and is sure to be a new favourite with the growing number of Canadians who appreciate fine spirits."To create Selección de Maestros, we choose the finest aged rums from its reserves, which stand apart for their exceptional qualities," says Damian Dominguez, Havana Club's Brand Ambassador. These hand-picked rums are then aged in specially selected barrels, chosen by our Maestros Roneros for the aromatic potential of their wood, where they develop their character and intensity. "At the end of this aging process, the Maestros Roneros select collectively the rums that will compose the final blend, bottled straight from the barrel," Dominguez continues. "This unique finishing process gives the rum its unequalled aromatic bouquet and exceptional quality."Selección de Maestros has a light nose of caramel, toasted pecan and spice, which reveals more robust origins with tobacco aromas and the presence of wood character. A round and buoyant entry leads to a complex, flavourful, full-bodied palate of dark caramel, cocoa, coffee, sweet tobacco and brown spices, and a pleasant smoky oak and spice finish blended with caramelised fruits to give the experience a remarkable balance. Havana Club Selección de Maestros is best enjoyed as a slow sipping rum, neat or on the rocks.Classic Havana Club cocktails will be on hand at participating venues on Ossington. And, just for the 2011 festival, two brand new Havana Club cocktails have also been created, which will be available at select venues in the neighbourhood.Torontonians looking to spice up their summer with a little Cuban culture and fun, should mark August 18 to 21 on their calendars and head to the Ossington strip. With great food, cocktails, music, dancing, art and cigars, Havana Cultura is a truly unique festival that is guaranteed to get your feet moving, your hips swaying and leave an authentic Cuban imprint on your soul.About Havana Club RumSince 1994, Havana Club has been a priority brand for Pernod Ricard, and today it's one of the company's 15 key brands. Based in Havana, Cuba, Havana Club International S.A. exports Havana Club to 125 countries across the globe. It is the second largest international rum brand worldwide, and comes in a range of eight aged styles. In Canada, Havana Club is distributed by Corby Distilleries Limited.About Corby Corby Distilleries Limited is a leading Canadian manufacturer and marketer of spirits and imported wines. Corby's portfolio of owned-brands includes some of the most renowned brands in Canada, including Wiser's Canadian whiskies, Lamb's rum, Polar Ice vodka and McGuinness liqueurs. Through its affiliation with Pernod Ricard, Corby also represents leading international brands such as ABSOLUT vodka, Chivas Regal, The Glenlivet and Ballantine's Scotch whiskies, Jameson Irish whiskey, Beefeater gin, Havana Club rum, Malibu rum, Kahlúa liqueur, G.H. Mumm champagne, and Jacob's Creek and Wyndham Estate wines.Please enjoy our products responsibly.For further information: visit, or contact: Alistair Kyte LexPR Canada 416-542-9140 ext. 3362