Matusalem & Company was founded by brothers Benjamin and Eduardo Camp, who left Spain and settled in Santiago de Cuba in 1872 for the purpose of establishing a rum distillery.:38, The Camp brothers brought with them their knowledge and expertise in the solera system of blending and distillation used in making Spanish cognac and sherry.:38
During the 1950s, the brand was one of the top premium rums in Cuba, competing with Bacardi and Havana Club.:175
Following the Cuban revolution 1959, the family-owned Matusalem brand went into exile, and was established in the United States. The Cuban government continued to make rum in the former Matusalem factory in Santiago de Cuba.
Three branches of the family began feuding in 1981, resulting in court cases that extended into the mid-90s. These ended in 1995 when Dr. Claudio Alvarez Salazar, the great-grandson of the founder, gained control of the Matusalem trademark in an out-of-court settlement.