Facundo Bacardķ, a wine merchant, was born in Sitges, Catalonia, Spain in 1814 and emigrated to Cuba in 1830. During this period, rum was cheaply made and not considered a refined drink, one rarely sold in upscale taverns. Don Facundo began attempting to "tame" rum. After experimenting with several techniques he hit upon filtering the rum through charcoal, which removed impurities. In addition to this, Facundo aged the rum in oak barrels, which had the effect of "mellowing" the drink.
Moving from the experimental stage to a more commercial endeavor, he and his brother José set up shop in a Santiago de Cuba distillery they bought in 1862; that distillery housed an alembic made of copper and cast iron, and was in a building in whose rafters lived fruit bats.