Barbancourt 5 star (8 year old)

What is it? Haitian rum, from cane juice, so an agricole. Produced at the Barbancourt distillery and aged tropically in Limousin oak casks (French oak) for 8 years. There is some more background on Barbancourt and the distillation method in my review of the 15 year old here, so I wont go over this again; linky link.

Chill filtered, coloured and bottled at 43% abv.

Sugar? 6 grams/litre – pretty much residual cask sugars, this isn’t added sugar content.

Nose: Quite hot and spicy, as expected from the French oak and youth. Some cloves, cinnamon iced buns, ginger root and black pepper. Once the nose gets used to the heat there are some really lovely toffee apple (red apple) notes, vanilla buttercream frosting, golden syrup and Seville orange rind, maybe even coarse cut marmalade. There is a caramel, crème brulè, toffee type background to it and an ever so slight smell that does remind me of Cognac. The faintest rolling of tobacco smoke flutters about.

Palate: Not as hot as the nose would suggest, medium mouth feel with a weighty but fresh presence. Quite an indulgent set of flavours here with egg custard tarts, more crème brulè, salted caramel, runny honey, those toffee apples from the nose as well as the vanilla buttercream. Behind the sweeter notes is a light grassy cane and a handful of mixed herbs (marjoram and parsley). It’s not very “agricole”, more as if cane syrup was used or even a very light molasses – there are the grassy and herbal notes in there but not as much as you’d expect from a normal French Caribbean style agricole. There is an oaky buzz throughout the whole palate and a prickle of heat on your tongue to let you know it’s been in French oak casks.

Finish: Quite long on the spices, like one of these modern chefs who has infused chilli into a caramel or black pepper into toffee sauce, or something. It’s got the residual sweeter notes there but the real heat of spices from the casks – gotta love that French oak influence on spirits.

Thoughts? Great rum. Lots of gorgeous flavours but it’s tempered with the spice. There is a lot less oak on this than the 15 year old, and I prefer it – personally I think it’s a better all round rum for it and you can see the spirit more. It’s basically got all the flavours I expected to get in the 15 year old but that got lost under the oaky onslaught.

Price wise, this cost me £32 in the UK, which I think is stunning value for money. One I’d definitely get again.




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