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Rhum Barbancourt 8 Year Old

Dupré Barbancourt, who founded the Barbancourt rum company in 1862, came to Haiti from Charente, which is located in the Cognac region of France. Using double distillation methods, originally used in the production of cognac in France, he began distilling rum after perfecting his special recipe. Barbancourt was married to Nathalie Gardère, who after Barbancourt’s death took control of the business.

Later, on her deathbed, Nathalie Gardère left the company to her nephew Paul Gardère, as she never had children with Dupré Barbancourt. To this day the rum business remains in the Gardére family.

Rhum Barbancourt Réserve Spéciale is an agricultural rum made from freshly pressed sugar cane juice that is distilled to 90% alcohol. The distilled product is cut with water before it is put to rest in large white Limousin oak vats. The finished product is an 8 year old rum, 43% alcohol per volume.

Rhum Barbancourt is the most internationally decorated rum and the people at Barbancourt are proud to show it as the label is decorated with multiple medals won from various competitions. The label has a total of 22 medals - two medals under and ten medals to the left and right of the blue star that is supposedly a symbol of a Voodoo god (waiting confirmation from Barbancourt). You can view all the awards and medals at the Barbancourt website.


Having rushed off the screw-cap and poured a measure of the rum in a glass I can begin to examine the appearance; clean amber in colour with thin needle like legs. Barbancourt gives a first impression that it is not one of the sweetest of rums.


First whiff from the glass is quite fresh, almost like freshly cut grass and from thereafter a series of aromas are introduced to the nose - progressing from fruits (possibly apricot) and vanilla into brown sugar. 


Bittersweet introduction leads to strong essence of vanilla and swirling the rum over the tongue, like cigar smoke, reveals some caramel and makes you notice that Rhum Barbancourt is indeed, quite smooth. 


Lightly bitter coffee notes quickly turn into soft, creamy toffee yet some of the bitterness lingers for a while on the sides of the tongue. Light, ripe banana flavour as well as vanilla is noticeable in the palate when breathing out through the nose. 

Final thoughts

Adding a few drops of water does not mellow down other flavours but takes off some of the bitterness found in this rum. This is probably the best way to enjoy Rhum Barbancourt.

I am eager to try Rhum Barbancourt five star Réserve Spéciale with a cigar as I feel this Haitian rum could make a nice pair with cigars from the neighbouring Dominican Republic.

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  • Details at a Glance

 Traditional Rum

Details at a Glance

Country: Haiti
Aged: 8 Years
Barrel(s): Limousin oak vat
Style: Traditional Rum (Double Column)
Société du Rhum Barbancourt, T. Gardère & Cie
ABV: 43%
Hydrometer Reading: ?

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