Barbancourt 15 year old review

20160622_133411Happy Black Tot day! To celebrate I’ll do a review of something totally un-related to British Navy rum…..

What is it? Rum (rhum) from Haiti. Distilled from sugar cane juice, making this an agricole via…well….from what I’ve read I’m not entirely sure. The website states that it’s distilled using the Charentaise method of distillation and evaporation is done in the distilleries columns. This is slightly confusing as the Charentaise method is double  distillation in alembic pot stills, not column stills. Again, according to the website they get a spirit up to around 90% abv on the second distillation, which I would assume means they are using column stills…..either way, it’s double distilled. They produce a white agricole (locally called Clairin, which some of you may have seen knocking about now thanks to Vellier) and then distill it again to get the end spirit for maturation. Maturation is done in Limousin oak casks, the same stuff they mature Cognac in, and provides quite a spicy tight oak to the spirit. I’ve seen Limousin oak work wonders in some whiskies so looking forward to seeing how it effects a rum at full maturation in tropical climates for 15 years minimum.

Filtered, coloured and bottled at 43% abv.

Sugar? No

Nose: Ah yes, French oak. Lots of lovely spicy prickle. Deep caramels, Crema Catalana (Spanish answer to Crème Caramel, heavier, thicker and more yummy), shoe leather and freshly polished, tobacco and dry earth. There is an almost heathery sweetness on the nose too, a touch of honeycomb, toasted brioche and some coffee grounds. Slight cane’y notes but it’s covered in a lot of oak.

Palate: Yep, oak baby, oak. 15 years is a long time in French oak, especially in Haiti, and it’s verging on too much. Ground black pepper, fresh black peppercorns, chillies, black tea, tanic. Musty earth, warehouses, maybe even soil. A little touch of that new leather from the nose along with a slight tobacco note, well, when it makes it past the oak. I think it just about managed to pull it off before it turned into a pencil chewing session.

Finish: Long and spicy, as expected from the nose and palate. Dry, tanic tea again and wait, what’s that, some banana…..well not sure where that came from, maybe it was there all along and waiting for the oak to finishing being all bolshy.

Thoughts? Good this, very good. I think it’s had a little too long in the cask but they’ve blended any beasts away well and it pulls through ok. I’ve not tried the 8 year old (5 star) yet, but I imagine that’ll be more to my liking. Not that I don’t like this, I do, I’d just like to get more of the cane juice through that’s all. At £40 (or there abouts in the UK) it’s well worth it and I’d buy again.

Nice box by the way.

Update: I’ve now tried the 8 year old (here) and it was more to my liking!

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