In my continuing search for the world’s best rums and rum bargains, this entry reviews Rhum Barbancourt, a sugar cane dark rum from Haiti. The rum is produced by one of Haiti’s oldest companies, Société du Rhum Barbancourt, T. Gardère & Cie in Port Au Prince. The company began in 1862 by a Frenchman Dupre Barbancourt. Currently the fourth generation of the family still runs the company. The bottle states it is pot-stilled from 100% cane juice, aged in imported white oak casks for eight years. Rum, like most wines, generally age well and improve with age and Eight years is longer than most rums are aged and should produce a fine product. We are trying the Five Star Reserve Speciale.
Given Haiti’s long tragic history, I was hoping for a rum of good quality and a good bargain. Spreading the word of a great product that could help the economy an impoverished country would be a positive outcome.
The bottle itself is dark, with a wheat colored label with a female figure (goddess?) in front of a blue star. The company’s website did not explain the history of the label. Upon opening the bottle, I was concerned with the fact that it was a screw-top. In the few years I have been reviewing rums, there have been some good rums with a screw-top, but no great rums with one. The great ones have a cork stopper. Letting the rum breathe before tasting straight up, I found the aroma to be very chemically strong, almost like dry cleaning fluid. The rum was dark as it should be, with a good dark rum texture. However, the first taste did nothing to dispel that mechanical flavor. Over several weeks of mixing it with Coke, Coke Zero, and various fruit juices, the rum was a great disappointment. It reminded me of old school Ben Gay sports ointment: not a good experience. Some rums may present better than others with soft drinks or perhaps fruit juices or boat drinks, but this rum didn’t blend well with anything. Unfortunately, the only recommended uses for this rum would be for cleaning carburetors or perhaps pouring on fire ant mounds and lighting them on fire.
At approximately $25 a bottle, I was extremely disappointed in this product. It may be the worst rum I have ever had.
The Rum Quest continues….
The Rum Guy