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Barbancourt 5 Star Reserve Especiale 8-Year Rum is agricultural, meaning it's produced from fermented sugar cane juice rather than the more typical molasses. The sugar cane juice is double distilled and aged for eight years in Limousin oak barrels.
Dupré Barbancourt created the Barbancourt rum recipe in 1862 in Haiti, where the rum is still produced today. A French national, Barbancourt incorporated traditional French methods including double-distillation in the process.
Tasty, but not quite great
Excellent on all fronts for sub $30. Bottled at 43% which makes it a great sipper. If I were to fault it I would say it's a bit generic and lacking a wow factor. But really it's far to good and enjoyable at it's price point to care about such a minor and petty thing.
It’s also an all around brown rum substitute. It can be perfectly used in any drink that calls out for brown rum.
Way back in the late eighties during leaner times when travel was preferred over fine rums (which were not even available back then), this was my occasional "luxury" rum. My usual ones in those days were Cruzan Gold, Appleton V/X, and Pusser's Navy Strength. In those days, El Dorado, Diplomatico, Pampero, and the like could not even be found on shelves in my area. The complete Barbancourt line of rhums could easily be found in French speaking Louisiana. They were not cheap, so this here 8 Year Old was always my "luxury rum". I had absolutely no idea back then why the difference in taste was due to it being an agricole rhum aged in Limousin oak casks. I just knew that it was totally different from all of the other rums that I had tried at the time.
So why have I waited so long to try this one again? The reviews that mention smoke and "after the quake" decline in quality threw me off. Recently trying their 15 Year old neat at a bar also did not help. So after carefully studying all of these reviews again, I figured that there was less than a 25% chance that I would wind up with a bottle from a bad batch. I took the $27 gamble on this bottle and brought it home along with two pricey aged rhum agricoles from Martinique. This one easily beat those other two and I really lucked out on my new bottle of Barbancourt.
Just as I remembered it, it is very buttery and delicate with no smoke flavor whatsoever. The burn is kept to a minimal. The aroma is more floral than grassy, as well as the taste. Had I rated this one back then, it would qualify as a perfect 10, but these days I have found many more rums that are better, even if they cost much more.
I don't know if I am being fair with this review since I didn't get a chance to truly appreciate it by itself! I was drinking it along with beer and food, so It was not the main experience. I remember it being very good for the price though, and I would love to try other older Barbancourts!
I was out looking for a good sipper but my local stores were all inexplicably out of anything good so I took a chance on this one based on reviews and my wanting to try another Agricole. The first drink I had was a small neat. It started out mellow enough but suddenly went south and kicked me in the teeth with a very whiskey-like booze taste with heavy oak and grass flavors. Not terrible. Just jarring/unsettling. For round two, I dropped an ice cube into a nice rocks glass, swirled it around with my finger and jumped back in. The ice cube definitely balanced everything out, but it wasn’t until the cube completely melted that I found it pleasantly drinkable. The light amber makes it a good candidate for mixed drinks or blender cocktails. I’ll end up drinking this bottle over time, but it is a really lackluster, anti-climactic drink. A decent price at $28, but nothing I’ll be breaking down doors to buy another bottle of.
Rhum agricole léger, mais pas doux... En bouche, épices, chaleur (alcool), mais un peu court. Nez léger. Sommes toute agréable pour déguster. Sera aussi agréable en cocktail, dans un cocktail mettant le rhum en valeur (plutôt que le masquer).
Nose - vanilla, light banana
Taste - Slight burn, orange, vanilla, oak, slightly grassy
Smooth sipper. Like to use in Mai Tai as a Rhum Agricola substitute.
"Barbancourt 5 Star rum review by the Ultimate Rum Guide"
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