In Miguel de Cervantes’s world-famous 17th Century book Don Quixote, the novel’s bumbling hero and namesake sets off on a journey atop his old horse with his faithful “squire”, the simple peasant Sancho Panza. Quixote’s search for chivalry in a world which he felt had lost the noble virtues of the past is considered to be one of the world’s greatest works of fiction and a major influence on generations of writers. The tale has inspired plays, ballets, films and works of art, as well as one of the Caribbean’s finest rums: Don Q.
Named in honour of Cervantes’s hero, Don Q is produced in the town of Ponce in the fertile valleys of southern Puerto Rico, where founding father Juan Sebastian Serrallés’s own journey from Spain led him. It was Juan Sebastian’s son Don Juan who first produced rum in Ponce in 1865, establishing a tradition that has been maintained and built on by successive generations of the Serrallés family. Just as Don Quixote travelled in search of a perfect world, six generations of the Serrallés family have contributed to a quest to produce the perfect rum, using only the purest of ingredients, the fresh water flowing from the Río Inabón and a copper still imported from France.
Over the years, Destilería Serrallés’s journey has seen them grow from being local sugarcane growers to their current status as one of the largest rum producers in the world and one of the oldest family-owned and operated companies in the USA. Along the way Don Q has inspired the creation of iconic cocktails. In 1954, for example, Ramon “Monchito” Marrero used Don Q to make the world’s first Piña Colada in San Juan.
Today, Don Q is Puerto Rico’s best-selling rum. It is available in all 50 states of the USA and is expanding overseas. The portfolio includes the smooth clear rum Don Q Cristal, the classic Don Q Gold, the complex Añejo which is aged up to 10 years, the elegantly powerful 151º and a range of rums infused with the natural flavors of coconut, mint, passion fruit and lime.
One of the most highly acclaimed products in the range is Don Q Gran Añejo – a masterful blend of rums aged for 6 to 12 years in charred American white oak barrels and rums aged for up to 20 years in Spanish sherry casks. Gran Añejo is blended to great effect according to the solera (“fractional” aging) system to produce a golden hue, a complex nose of molasses, cigar tobacco and dark caramel and a smooth taste with pronounced notes of vanilla, cinnamon and honey. The result is the only rum in the world to win the coveted 5 Star Diamond Award.
In the past five years the family’s rums have received plenty more awards too – in total, over 200 awards and accolades. Each bottle is a testament to the family’s dedication and commitment to craftsmanship. It is this commitment that has made Don Q the spirit of Puerto Rico and a testament to their quest for perfection.