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What to get from Puerto Rico?


Scott S
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A friend is making a trip to Puerto Rico and has offered to bring me back a bottle or two of rum. Any ideas on what to get - something that isn't so easily available here in the US? I'm not looking to save a buck, but rather looking to try something great that isn't available around here.

Any suggestions are appreciated.

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Another for for the Barrilitos. The 3 star is in my top

"Traveler, you who sail into the Caribbean in silvered yacht or gilded cruise ship, pause as you enter these waters to remember that deep below rest three men of honor who helped determine the history of this onetime Spanish Lake: Sir John Hawkins, builder of the English navy; Sir Francis Drake, conqueror of all known seas; Admiral Ledesma, stubborn enhancer of his king's prerogatives and the interests of his own strong family"

James A. Michener - Caribbean

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I agree with the selection of Ron Barrilitos two star or three star, its your own personal selection. So why not get one of each, then you can compare. I have not got hold of a two star

for my comparison as yet.

Patrick Garcia mentioned Serralles having an older rum and it is....." Serralles DonQ Grand Anejo" 750ml. Its listed as an ultra premium Puerto Rican Rum. I bought mine in St Thomas USVI. for around $40.00 (a few years ago and at Island Prices). I liked the rum (now gone). But there was no mention of age, but I think its only a five year old with a few drops of an eight to ten year old. Its bottled in a very atractive Decanter Style bottle in a clear styrene box. Advertising hype again in its packageing.

I have seen on the internet stores, another PR Rum, but know nothing about it. ....

" Riserva Aneja Rum " Ultra Premium Rum. Internet price $37.00. Comes in a limited edition hand blown decanter bottle designed to look like a caraff with a cork and a clear lable with gold lettering. But I know nothing about the Rum inside or who distilled it or bottled it or shipped it then bottled it etc etc. In fact it might be a USA mainland rum with lots of advertising hype and build up. I have noticed that various PR rums recently state that the are the best in the world. While the Best in the World never need to state that they are .

Bacardi 1873 ... I always state one should aquire the best one can afford, and the most that one can carry when traveling as one might not be in that area again. So why get a straight forward good clean but very ordinary rum.

A competitive rum distiller years ago, said about Don Bacardi." He makes to much rum to make good rum ".

Unless your friend goes to the Bacardi Distillery and gets a bottle hand signed by the Head Rum Blender or the CEO of the Company, to authenticate its originalityand as a souvenir....why bother. A trip just outside San Juan to Ron Barrilito would be very enjoyable and educational, and some thing I want to do one day.

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JOHN REEKIE,

Thanks for the info on the older Serralles Rum (Don Q Grand Anejo). I will be going to P.R. in October and plan to find it.

Also, I have a bottle of "Riserva Aneja" I bought online. I think the company that makes it is called Ron Bocoy. It says it is from Toa Baja P.R. on the bottle. I have yet to taste it.

I spoke with someone who has tried it and said he was dissappointed. I can imagine he was drawn by the impressive presentation as was I.

Salud,

Patrick

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Patrick.... What you said about ..Riserva Aneja.....is what I suspected. What I found interesting was that Bocoy was a Cuban Rum company in the Fifties (that I wrote about many months ago back in the archives now) I thought that they would surface some where and here the are in PR. Like Barrilito, I think they are buying aged rums from a PR distillery then further aging, blending (taste marrying) then bottling. Very much a Madison Avenue NY promotion. of a designer bottle and a designer blend. With a few more years of aged stock to help with the blend they could have a reasonable rum. ....But thats my opinion.

Serralles Rum Distillery. on the other hand is a very well established family distillery, that will have aged stock going back many generations and although Don Q Grand Anejo is the oldest they sell , ask around for 'Private stock'-Reserved for family Etc.

Good Rum Searching.......John

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  • 5 weeks later...

I just returned from Puerto Rico yesterday, and it seems that there is a "new" (i.e. higher) tax on liquor than before and the Barillito 3 star I used to get for approx $11.00 is now $16.00! The cheapest place I found was at the Duty Free at the airport ($13.00 for the 3 star, $10.00 for the 2 star), they also had the DonQ Grand Anejo for $38.00 which was cheaper than I saw it anywhere else.

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With the increase popularity of rum and the number of rum labels that have enjoyed success in the past, look for several new labels in the coming year which have Cuban, or Dominican Republic origins, though Madison Ave prefers the Cuban slant.

Though some of these will definitely be overpriced clones, you will find the occasional offering that will exceed your expectations.

Edward Hamilton

Ministry of Rum.com

The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Patrick... Its October and the Island honeymoon is very soon..... congratulations. I have recently been told of a PR rum that you might look for (if you are there for more than just the hour transfering planes to the VIs.)

Its....BACARDI RESERVA LIMITADA ...12 year old......Disrtilled, aged, blended, and bottled in Puerto Rico......What ?....We all know about their 8 year old. But this 12yr is only available at the distillery I am told. But could also be available in the better licquor stores in Old San Juan.

So if you want (can) add a day at the end of your trip and go for a trip to the Bacardi Distillery. Also the Barillito Plant and warehouse can be seen in the same day.... While in the Islands is a good chance to find and buy Ed Hamiltons Rums of the Eastern Caribbean, If you have not already bought and read it. My fist copy I found in St Thomas then I bought another one two years later in Antigua . The first got rum soaked and some of the pages were stuck together.

Have a great Honeymoon ....from all of us.... and drink the best rums,..... in moderation.

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Patrick ..... I forgot to add that this is a recent marketed rum as its bottle is similar (could be the same ) as the 8yr old which is a squat design with bacardi etc embossed on the glass, and with a label that looks like its in two parts joined together with a 'bat logo' seal. The bottles are also individualy numbered. I thought I would just pass this on.

...good luck. and have fun...... john rum searching.

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My $0.02 worth on this post.

First the caveat/classification – I am not some connoisseur of Rum – I just grew up in Puerto Rico (and thus have drunk a LOT of RUM).

That said I would go for the Don Q Gran Anejo on the trip back to the USA. Gran Anejo is a blend of 8-12 year old rums. You flat out can’t get Don Q outside Puerto Rico – Seralles can barely keep up with demand in Puerto Rico so they do not export. The cheapest place to get it (believe it or not) is @ the airport. I went to the distillery in Ponce and they distillery shop sells it for $37 and the aiport Duty Free has it for $32 (as of Sep 2002). The Seralles Distilery DOES NOT have tours like Bacardi so unless you know someone that works there do not expect a tour of the place if you go (my uncle works there and got me the hookup – can you say Contact Alcohol High?).

If you have the time take the tour of the Bacardi Distillery – if anything its worth it because of the free drinks – the best time to take the tour is the last tour (16:30 I think) because when you take the tour you get 2 drinks from the bar – but @ the end of the day they have a LOT (at least every time I have gone on it) of Mix left @ the bar that the bartender does not want to waste & they can’t keep overnight because of health code – so instead of the 2 drinks you pretty much can get hammered there (BTW – Tip the bartender he will be MOST kind to you). How ever if you take the Bacardi tour DON’T believe the hype, Bacardi 8 (8 year old Rum – Really nice), 1872, Anejo, and Reserva can all be bought in the USA – they will tell you that you can’t but I buy it in Fort Wayne, Indiana at Meijer so I imagine that it can be bought anywhere in the USA. In fact the Bacardi 8 that sells @ the distillery for $23 and the airport Duty Free for $19 can be bought in the USA for $14.

For the REAL taste of Puertorican rum - go to Old San Juan – next to the Cruise Ship Piers there is a tourism office that has ALL the rums made in PR that are worth trying – and they give free samples so its well worth the trip there and the you can walk off the booze in Old San Juan.

Do not buy Rum @ the docks/port authority/pier they have outrageous prices ($50 for a bottle of Don Q Gran Anejo that you can buy @ the airport for $32).

With all that said I mailed most of my clothes last time I was in PR so that I could pack more rum in my suitcase – total of 16 bootles of Don Q Anejo, 6 Bottles of Barilito, 6 bottles of my Grandmother’s “Canita” if you can find Canita (that should be an N with a tilde) its worth giving it a try – nothing more than Puertorican’s version of Moonshine.

Carlos

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Carlos,

Thank you for the assessment of the Ron situation in P.R. You are right about the Don Q. I can get the Oro y Cristal here in Iowa but can't get Don Q El Dorado anywhere in the US. I will need to get a bottle or 3... My cousin used to make Canita, so I hope he has some when we go as I remember it being quite good with fruit in the bottom of the bottle.

John Reekie,

Thank you for the great continuous info on Rum searching. I will see if I can find a bottle of 12 yr Bacardi.

We leave in 3 days and I can't wait!

Salud,

Patrick

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  • 2 weeks later...

To echo other comments and add 1:

1. Get Barrilito

2. Get Don Q Grand Anejo

3. Get Bacardi Reserva Limitada from the distillery - its quite good

4. You may even consider some basic "Bacardi Reserva" - not sold in U.S. where Bacardi thinks it would cannibalize Bacardi 8. I like it a little more than Bacardi 8.

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  • 2 years later...

I'm heading to Puerto Rico at the end of this month so I thought I would bump the thread to find out if the rum recommendations still stand. I'll be in San Juan for a conference, so it is unlikely that I'll be able to head anywhere other than local venues.

Thanks-

Linda

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Linda,

Riserva Anejo is worth trying. It's Bacardi distillate aged by Trigo corp located a little west of San Juan.

The two Barrilito rums are interesting; they soak nuts and berries in the rum for a unique flavor. Barrilito also uses un-aged Bacardi distillate.

Don Q has re-released the regular Anejo blend of rums up to 6 y/o. Stop by Casa Don Q in Old San Juan and ask for samples of Don Q Anejo and Grand Anejo (3-13 y/o) to sample side-by-side.

The Bacardi Reserva Limitada, a blend of rums aged *up to* 12 years and is sold at the Bacardi Visitor's Center. It was nice to try once but $50 is a lot to pay for such a young blend of rums. I remember that I thought this rum was very clean and had hints of vanilla and banana.

Enjoy,

David

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  • 3 weeks later...

It was just pointed out to me that I will be leaving Puerto Rico at an inappropriately early hour on a Sunday morning, and the duty free might be closed :shock: . What's the number two place to shop for rum?

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