‘Definition of untamable in English: not capable of being controlled.’
It’s hard to imagine going through life as free as a bird and living as easy as one, two, three. There will always be obstacles, there will always be hard times and there will always be surprises that can alter your path and set you off in a different direction. It doesn’t matter what, or indeed who, you are, a life of an object will go on until it ceases to exist. Within the drinks world, the many brands of wine, beer, spirits and soft drinks can be counted into the thousands. Many new names come into the fold, replacing ones that been forced to shut, dipping sales or indeed just run its course. Some though, go through times of hardship, and battle through to win. With this, I welcome to you Bacardi.
Bacardi are highlighting over the next twenty years that despite the obstacles they faced since their opening year back in 1862, they have grown, adapted and can now be counted as the largest privately held, family owned spirits company in the world. Over the next few months, you’ll be seeing the result of a multimillion pound investment into the likes of TV commercials, a series of Bacardi Parties held in Manchester, Glasgow and London, as well as entwined events within your favourite bars and restaurants.
To kickstart the campaign, I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of the festivities in Manchester, and had the opportunity to speak to Lisa Jazwinski (UK Brand Director for Bacardi), Shervene Shahbazkhani (UK Brand Ambassador) and the now retired Master Blender of Bacardi José Sanchez Gavito. It was with these three that I learned the passion that Bacardi have had to power through, the determination to succeed and the joy that they all receive when walking into a bar and catching the famous bat symbol on each bottle. For José Sanchez Gavito, it could be relaxing with friends and enjoying a splash of Bacardi Superior with plenty of water. Shervene on the other hand is a true believer in one of the most famous cocktails to be created, the Daiquiri. Invented by an American mining engineer named Jennings Cox, who was in Cuba at the time of the Spanish-American War back in 1889, it was said that he enjoyed one at 8am everyday to start off his shift. Today, Shervene has perfected his recipe to the following –
2 Heaped Tsp Caster Sugar
25 ml Fresh Lime
50 ml Bacardi Superior
Shake all the ingredients over ice and double strain into a coupette glass. No garnish required.
To get to where Bacardi are today can be put down to the success of the portfolio that is produced. For 30 years, José Sanchez Gavito was the Master Blender, becoming the first non Cuban and first non family member to be appointed the role. To cap it off, he was head-hunted in the summer of 76 due to his work with the tequila arm of Bacardi at the time with the role of engineer. Not bad for a man who started out as applying for a job in Bacardi seen within a newspaper article.
It’s with this gentleman that Bacardi has been able to enjoy such highlights as amassing over 1.2 million cases of Bacardi Solera, despite having a target of just 40,000 in the 1st year. Another example would be the release of the Ron Bacardi de Maestros de Ron, Vintage, MMXII. Invited to be one of the eight family members to craft this expression, they brought together the best rums from the Bacardi cellar. The rum was then laid to rest in American oak barrels for 20 years and then swapped into 60-year-old Cognac barrels to age. Once the process was complete, the eight Maestros de Ron were left with 4 different rums to choose from. Over three days, they deliberated to find the perfect one that they could bottle within a glass decanter, ultimately giving it as a present to the Bacardi family. I myself have been very lucky to experience the blend, with my tastings notes below –
Ron Bacardi de Maestros de Ron, Vintage, MMXII – 43%
Slight dried fruits of raisin and fig on the nose, with plenty of dried woods coming through and balancing nicely. The palate enjoyed a strong flavour of wood, interacting with sharp cherry, then softening with honey notes that created a very long finish. Utterly superb.
It’s not all been highlights though, with plenty of heartache happening to the family since its inception. Earthquakes, fires, the verge of bankruptcy the Cuban revolution and exile from their home country have dealt major blows to Bacardi, but with the launch of the ‘Untameable Since 1862’ campaign, it shows to highlight that despite the obstacles thrown at them, they have managed to counter this with numerous award-winning expressions, and the belief that rum will carry on its popularity around the world.
China and India are two countries that they will be focusing on in the coming years, which according to Lisa, would attempt to capitalise on the growing trend within the two of acquiring rare expressions of rum alongside the already established whisky market. They may be interested to hear then that come April, four new expressions of the Bacardi range will be available to enjoy within your favourite bar as the likes of Bacardi Gold have upped their abv to 40% compared to 37.5% that you can purchase now, as well as Bacardi Black, the return of Bacardi 1909 and finally the Reserva Limitada.
With Bacardi throwing out all the stops over the coming years, and with the impressive performance I received in Manchester, I think a new-found love for the brand could be seen to consumers.
Just imagine, a hard, stressful day at work. You overcome your objections, the tasks set to you, and you win with a perfect Daiquiri, or Bacardi served in a cut glass tumbler.
Welcome to the way of the Bacardi family.
Check out the rest of the photos from the event via my Facebook page.
© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.