When Bacardi family members get together to dine or share after-dinner cigars, they sip exclusive, aged rums poured from their private reserves.
Now, their namesake company is unleashing to the public a collection of four such luxury sipping rums, culled from the company’s 151-year-old history of rum-making.
Priced from $45 to $250, the new Facundo Rum Collection — named for company founder Don Facundo Bacardi Massó — will be sold in limited quantities at select stores and restaurants in Miami and New York, beginning in mid-November. The line represents a significant departure from Bacardi’s popularly priced rums and follows a national trend of spirits aimed at luxury markets.
“Rum aficionados, rum drinkers are going to be surprised with the flavor profiles of these rums,” said Facundo L. Bacardi, great great-grandson of founder Don Facundo and chairman of Bermuda-based Bacardi Limited, whose U.S. headquarters are located in Coral Gables.
The four rums, aged up to 23 years, have been under development secretly for the past few years and were crafted from the Bacardi family’s reserves of 300 variants of rums. Bacardi Master Blender Manny Oliver said he came up with the final blends after numerous variations and tasting sessions.
During a party celebrating the company’s 150th anniversary last year in Puerto Rico, the family decided to launch the collection. Now in its eighth generation, the family counts about 600 members.
“The 150th anniversary celebration was a time of introspection and reflection for family members,” Facundo L. Bacardi said. “There was a consensus that now is the time to share this with our customers.”
Juan del Busto and Robert Burr, local members of the International Rum Expert Panel, participated in tastings as the new products were developed. .
“It was like James Bond rum — it was considered a secret project,” said Burr, who hosts the annual Miami Rum Festival and leads the 37-member panel.
“Rum has always been considered accessible or common, but in the last five or eight years we have seen some of the world’s greatest master blenders suddenly be allowed to create something that is a prestige product,” he said.
Founded in 1862 in Santiago de Cuba, Bacardi ranks as the top rum brand in the world and the second-largest spirits brand after Smirnoff Vodka, according to Adam Rogers, senior analyst at the Beverage Information Group.
The new rums — one light and three dark and named Neo, Eximo, Exquisito, and Paraíso — are designed to be sipped slowly. All are made from three ingredients: sugarcane molasses, water, and yeast — the same proprietary yeast Bacardi has used for the past 151 years, said Oliver, who has been with Bacardi for 37 years.
The rums are encased in heavy glass bottles, each with a different Art Deco motif that “harkens back to the glory days of Cuba” and the company’s heritage, said Toby Whitmoyer, vice president and brand managing director for rum at Bacardi U.S.A.
Even for those familiar with Bacardi rums, the taste of these is distinctive.
“People are going to say ‘Wow, that doesn’t taste like the last Bacardi I tried,’ and it will cause them to reevaluate their perception of the company and what they can do,” Burr said.