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Ron del Barrilito 3 Star rum is produced in Bayamón Puerto Rico by the Fernández family, which has been producing rum in the area since 1804, making it the oldest rum manufacturer in Puerto Rico. The rum is first blended and then aged for a minimum of 6 years.
A single barrel of Ron del Barrilito rum was set aside in 1942 called the 'Freedom Barrel.' When Puerto Rico gains its independence the Freedom Barrel will be opened in the Bayamón town square for all to share.
This is Old School Rum at it´s best. No sugar, no colour, just Rum. The nose has a little glue, with deeper sweetness. After a few minutes in the glass there are raisins and a hint of Vanilla.
The taste fills your whole mouth and will stay for minutes. If you find a bottle, make sure to buy it, mostly it is hard to find.
This is a cult classic rum, so to speak, for those who have spent time in Puerto Rico. From what I hear it is quite difficult to locate for much of the US (and maybe the world?) but for some reason is abundantly available in most spirits stores in the Atlanta Metro area where I live. I am a big Atlanta United fan and hang out with a group of Puerto Ricans on game days. They recommended this rum to me. It took me a while to get around to it but I finally went out and bought a bottle a short while back.
The question I set out to answer is, Puerto Rican pride and cult vacation rum legend aside, is this actually a good rum compared to the wide world of rums across the spectrum of styles?
First, a bit about the rum. Ron del Barrilito is an old single family distillery native to Puerto Rico. It is not a “Cuban Exile Rum”, but rather a traditional Puerto Rican distillery. This particular rum is a blend of column still rums tropically aged between 6 and 10 years in American White Oak Sherry Barrels. It is not a Solera, but rather a blend of select individually aged rums. **Update** Although the rumproject lists this rum as containing 7gpL of added sugar, that is in fact not the case as the link in the reply comments below shows. Rather, like Barbancourt, a tiny amount (less than 2.5% of the total distillate) is set aside prior to aging in 25 wooden barrels and is mixed with locally sourced stone fruits and spices, but not sugar, grown on the island. This tiny portion of distillate is then mixed back to the blend after aging. No coloring is added. The color is achieved solely using longer aged (and naturally darker) rum to achieve consistency. This entire process is apparently explained and shown to visitors in open tours of the distillery.
On the nose I get Brown Sugar, deep rich Caramel, Toffee, Williams Pear, Molasses, Tawny Porto, and Raisins. I must say the nose is richer than I anticipated and the richness of the caramel is almost Foursquare level, though accompanied by different fruit notes. It is a very rich and synchronous aroma that fills the nostrils.
Taking a sip the palate mostly mirrors the nose but then adds a few more notes. On the palate I get a strong wash of Williams Pear and a deep rich Brown Sugar note. This is followed by Brown Figs, Caramel, Toffee, Tawny Porto, and hint of Lime peel. The palate comes across as extremely fruity but not funky - more like rich, perfectly aged dried fruit with a burst of fresh pear and brown sugar. It’s is quite harmonic and delightful.
The finish is medium long and is comprised of mainly Caramel and Toffee with a surprise hint of Raspberry. Nothing overly complex but still quite enjoyable from a “comfort standpoint”.
I must say, this is far, far better than I anticipated. I am rather surprised with how much I enjoy this rum. The total experience is very, very similar to the Cuban Havana Club Añejo Reserva but dare I say it is richer and better composed than that rum. This is a very enjoyable sip that continues to grow on you as you sip it. The harmonic balance between dried fruit, fresh fruit, and desert notes is very well done. I can enjoy all types of rum (pot and column; molasses, cane juice, and cane syrup; and aged and unaged) and for a Spanish style rum this ranks very highly for me. It is deep, rich and very comforting. It’s one of the very best Spanish style rums I have had maybe behind only Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros and Grander Single Barrel 8 Year. This is definitely worth the hype for those looking for the perfect aged Spanish style rum. Given that it is widely available to me I am going to be making this my go-to Spanish style aged rum. Well done Puerto Rico, well done indeed.
Short Description: a richer and simultaneously more balanced version of Cuban Havana Club Añejo Reserva. The perfect Spanish style dual purpose sipper and mixer
Nose: Brown Sugar, deep rich Caramel, Toffee, Williams Pear, Molasses, Porto, Raisins
Palate: strong Williams Pear, strong Brown Sugar, Brown Fig, Caramel, Toffee, Tawny Porto, hint of Lime Peel
Finish: medium length, Caramel, Toffee, faint Raspberry
Country of Origin: Puerto Rico
Distillery: Hacienda Santa Ana en Bayamon
Aged 6-10 years, this rum is very good. More complex than its younger sibling, it's sweet, light and smooth. It has a long, tasty finish.
Sometimes I want a rum that has that nice barrel aged flavor. This is one of my favorites of the barrel aged rums. This one is nice to sip on and does not need to be mixed with anything.
Sugar: Tested by others at 7 GPL but it seemed a bit sweeter than that. Tried this rum at a friends house and was quite surprised. I first I thought it was a Dominican rum, but upon further inspection found it was from Puerto Rico. Oak, vanilla, and a bit of caramel are the major tastes in the profile. There's a bit of alcohol on the nose, but overall the rum is quite smooth and goes down easy. There's a nice afterglow from it. Aged for only 6 years this rum has the profile of a 12 year old rum. Definitely a 7 and a low end sipper, high end mixer.
I tended bar in San Juan in the 80s, and although we poured a ton of Don Q, what we drank was Barrilito 3 Star on the rocks. It's a delicious aged column still rum, and makes a great daiquiri as well.
In case anyone is wondering, we kept Bacardi rums behind the bar for tourists and Bacardi employees -- Puerto Rican's don't drink that stuff. Don Q in cocktails, Barrilito for sipping, and Palo Viejo for the jibaros ;-) It was still the same when I went back for a vacation 30 years later.
I'd rate this a 10, but I don't give out 10s...
The upfront nose is the charred oak followed by the sweetness of some caramel and even a little earthiness and almost some jungle! The initial taste is a fair amount of alcohol on the tip of your tongue and then heat against the back of your throat. Almost bourbon like in complexity. I would place it at a mild smoothness. This is about my 20th dram and it will certainly warm you up and bring a flush to your cheeks!
Taken neat the 3-star starts harsh and then the palate adjusts to the caramel and vanilla. With rocks it’s a pleasure and with water it’s a joy. A lovely sipper. This is the stuff the locals drink in PR and I can see why.
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