Don Pedro Fernandez would carry it around in a small wooden barrel, rum in arm, giving tastes to his friends and those who wished to try it. A third-generation sugarcane grower in Puerto Rico, He studied the art of brandy and cognac distillation in France. Upon his return to Puerto Rico in 1871 he wished to impart in rum the finesse of the French spirits, and in a few years Puerto Rico’s first rum was born on an island covered in sugarcane plantations.
“Ron del Barrilito,” or the “Rum of the Little Barrel,” was produced in the pot still that he brought back with him . Ron del Barrilito “three star” quickly became very popular, during Prohibition, Puerto Rico, being part of the United States, was soon a rum-free zone. The company switched its operations to the production of alcohol for cosmetics and other purposes for the duration. When Prohibition was repealed, the family quickly returned to return to rum.
The rum making tradition lived on, and Barrilito’s true art of barrel aging, became the focus of the company, using bulk rum blended with a hints of their secret blend of macerated fruits and spices combined with onsite aging methods that date back to Don Pedro’s brandy days.
Barrilito remains the island’s oldest, most beloved rum, the one that gets you an approving glance from the barman when you ask for it. It’s the pride of Puerto Rican rum making. Balanced by the sherry aging adding just a whisper of sweetness to the rum. This is a story that is still to this day being written and I’m sure will be carried on for years to come.