Track down its greatest rum-making dynasties and you might meet Fernando Fernandez, heir to the family that has been making Ron de Barrilito since 1880. His office lies inside the shell of a graceful windmill built in 1827, surrounded by aged photographs of his grandfather and dusty bottles of what many believe to be the world’s finest rum.
The rambling hacienda contains cellars crammed with white-oak barrels of rum, once used to mature Spanish sherry, the air thick with the burnt, sweet aroma of sugar molasses. Workers bottle the rum by hand, slap on labels and then pile them, delicately, onto trucks for distribution.
Real connoisseurs drink Barrilito on ice – a spicy, rich spirit that goes down like fine Cognac.