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Ron del Barrilito 3 Stars / Partagas de Bronce

43% ABV 

Aged Rum

Puerto Rico

While studying engineering in France around 1860, young Pedro Fernández decided that he could produce a unique rum for his family in Puerto Rico using a process similar to what the French did with Cognac. In those days, well-to-do families would distill their own spirits and serve them to guests out of a small barrel or a “barrilito.” 

The Fernández family’s homemade rum from their “barrilito” became so popular among guests of the Hacienda Santa Ana that by 1880 they started selling it in the local Puerto Rican market. Coming up with a name for this product was easy – guests would always ask for it as “el ron del barrilito”. The first product was called Ron del Barrilito 3 Stars, the name it still bears today. The Fernández family claims that the name is not the only thing that remains from the 1880s, as the recipe and process are reportedly unchanged as well, even though the family no longer ferments or distills on-site. 

The Cognac process that Fernández adapted to rum to give it its unique flavors and aromas involves a maceration step after distillation. Maceration in spirits is the extraction of essential oils from roots, fruits, and spices into the spirit. Which exact roots, fruits, and spices does Ron del Barrilito employ? Good luck getting an answer to that. To this day, the recipe is a fiercely guarded secret by the family-owned company. One note to clarify here is that the macerated rum is married with white rum and watered down with purified rainwater to achieve the rum’s signature profile, but the macerated portion can never exceed 2.5%. If it did, the rum would have to be re-classified as a specialty rum, like “spiced rum” or “flavored rum.” 

Pairing by: Erik Calviño

Tasting Notes: Ron del Barrilito 3 Stars

The rum’s delicate and well-balanced flavors of cinnamon, dates, dried fruits, and oak comfortably piggyback on the cigar’s profile. The result is an experience close to that of a rum-soaked Christmas cake.

Cigar Pairing: Partagas de Bronce

The Partagas de Bronce is a limited-edition blend produced at the Little Havana institution known as El Titan de Bronze. The factory produces cigars in the Cuban style. In other words, rather than split the cigarmaking duties among two artisans, a buncher and roller, as it is done almost everywhere else, El Titan de Bronze’s “tabaqueros” handle every step of the cigar-making process. In the case of the Partagas de Bronce, the interior of the box contains the signature of the person who made your cigars. 

The cigar opens with a flavorful combination of roasted nuts, cedar, and rich vanilla balanced by a smooth dash of peppery spice.

This article appeared in the Jan/Feb 2024 issue. Subscribe today to get the magazine in your mailbox.

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