Rum Journal: Toasting Bacardi’s Birthday

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Above: a Bacardi ad from 1902 (Photo: Bacardi)

Just like Haiti’s Barbancourt, which Rum Journal tasted last week, another major player in the rum world is celebrating its sesquicentennial.

It was 1830 when Don Facundo Bacardi Massó, a wine merchant, left Cataluña in Spain for Cuba.

In 1862, Bacardi purchased a modest distillery in Santiago de Cuba, eventually helping to turn rum in the country from a relatively unrefined drink overshadowed by other spirits into a worthy competitor to the more popular cognac.

While unrest in Cuba led the company to move operations across the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico and the Bahamas (with its base now in Bermuda), Bacardi remains true to its Cuban roots.

The company’s famous bat logo, the brainchild of Don Facundo’s wife, Amelia, has also stood the test of time.

In honour of Bacardi’s 150th birthday this year (which it celebrated on Feb. 4), Rum Journal tasted Bacardi Reserva Limitada, a limited-production rum first launched in 2003 and expanded to major markets in 2010.

Reserva Limitada was originally launched in Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Cayman and Aruba, and can now be purchased widely (in decidedly limited quantities, of course).

It was first produced for the Bacardi family in honour of Don Facundo, initially called the “Founder’s Blend.”

The rum, which blends rums aged in lightly-charred American white oak barrels for between 10 and 16 years, is produced in Puerto Rico.

Reserva Limitada, bearing a golden amber colour, has a very slight aroma of oak.

Its crisp flavour profile hints of maple, vanilla, and honey. But what stands out is the rum’s smoothness — few, if any rums are this smooth. It is, indeed, a “special” rum (see above).

While the mass-produced Bacardi Superior belongs in the company’s signature Mojito, Reserva Limitada should be enjoyed all on its own.

Here’s to another 150 years.

— CJ