The Bacardi distillery was founded on 4th February 1862 in Cuba, by Don Facundo Bacardi Massó. This man bought a small distillery and brought forth the revolutionary drink that we have all come to know and love; the smooth Bacardi rum. This popular company was a family owned business for about seven generations. Bacardi Limited employs over 8,000 people and sells in roughly 170 countries. Aside from production and sales activities, the distillery also offers a rum tasting experience.
Credited with the creation of classic cocktails such as the daiquiri, the Cuba Libre, and many others, Bacardi is probably one of the most iconic rums in the Americas.
The Bacardi Rum Tasting Experience
The Rum Tasting Tour lasts for about one hour and fifteen minutes and is offered seven days a week and you will need a reservation to participate. It costs about $75 per person and the Legacy Tour is $30. It is important to remember that you must be of legal drinking age in order to be a part of this tour and children absolutely cannot accompany adults.
The tour gives you the opportunity to indulge in good quality liquor and allows you to learn about how it is made. It is basically a ‘behind the scenes’. You will briefly be shown around the distillery and be allowed to taste some of the best and most exclusive rums that Bacardi has to offer, after which you will get the chance to lounge at the blissful Bacardi Pavilion where you can enjoy the cool, gentle breeze and scenic views.
What to Expect from a rum testing
You can expect to be given a souvenir cup and a token for a free drink at the start of the tour. It is advised to arrive a little earlier than the starting time so you have time to relax and get yourself in the mood for the experience. Once you have checked in to the tour, you will be given a beeper which will notify you of the tour’s starting time. A tram will take you on a short ride around the Bacardi complex as the tour guide informs you about the sights you see along the way.
You will stop at the ‘Cathedral of Rum’ and have a look at the art, the historical views, and a bar all while the tour guide explains the history of Bacardi, and how the various rums are made. You will be given some time to take pictures and soak everything in- best not to forget your camera of camera-phone!
Proceeding this, you will visit the ‘Classrooms’. Here, you will be assigned a place to sit with six covered snifters of rum. You will be taught the correct way to taste rum and the special qualities if the respective samples. During this interactive session, you will compare answers with other participants and share any likes or dislikes. This tour may be a little overwhelming for you if you are not used to drinking rum straight (not as a mixed drink).
Be sure to come along with some sunscreen, a hat, a rain jacket (just in case of showers), and some comfortable walking shoes.
The History of Bacardi Rum
As mentioned earlier, Bacardi Was first established in 1862. It got its name from the surname of a prominent Cuban family. Don Facundo Bacardi Massó bought a small distillery and revolutionized the rum-making process to bring forth a smooth, light-bodied spirit. His wife, Doña Amalia was the one who came up with the ingenious idea of using a fruit bat as the logo since fruit bats signified good health, family unity, and good fortune to both Spanish and Cuban Taino natives. Following this initiative, locals bean to ask for what translates as ‘the rum of the bat’, hence signifying its popularity.
The son of Don Facundo later on planted a coconut palm at the front of the new distillery and this later on became the logo. It signified strength and resilience since the affectionately named tree- ‘El Coco’- was able to withstand many tribulations of her own.
A key moment for Bacardi rum was in 1888, when its popularity began to spread rapidly. It even won a gold medal at the Exposición Universal de Barcelona and was named the ‘Purveyor to the Royal Spanish Household’. Ten years later in Daiquiri, an American mining engineer invented the Daiquiri cocktail using Bacardi rum as a refreshment for his crew and has since caught on. In 1910, Bacardi became Cuba’s first multi-national company by expanding its horizons in Barcelona and New York. It’s safe to say, Bacardi has had many milestones since then and has more than earned its premium status.
The Production Process of Bacardi Rum
Bacardi makes use of a parallel distillation process. Sugar cane molasses or juices and patented Bacardi yeast are used in this venture. The extracts are set to ferment for about 30 hours in closed tanks. The fermented mixture is distilled twice; the first, stronger liquor is used for heavy body rums and is later re-distilled to produce a lighter-bodied one.
To identify some key characteristics of different types of rum, take a whiff of the rum to detect any notes of flavour. Next, take a small sip and swish it around your mouth before swallowing so you can detect the different qualities and flavours in each rum.
Not only rum tasting at the Bacardi Distillery
Some other experiences that might interest you at the Bacardi Distillery are: a mixology class and bottling your very own Bacardi bottle.
In case you are wondering what to do before or after visiting the distillery, here are some ideas. You can walk through the panoramic streets of Old San Juan and take in the views. You can also embark on a Flavours Food Tour in the same place. You can equally participate in the Segway Tours of Puerto Rico or visit Paseo de la Princessa in San Juan.
If you are not beside yourself with excitement you should probably check if you are okay. Hurry on down to Casa Bacardi Puerto Rico and fall in love with the history and art of rum making and tasting!