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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.
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'm generally not a fan of agricoles. Others I've tried (and there have been several) have not appealed to me so I've not rated them. With that said, this is the best I've tasted and I like this one. It struck me as on the dry side but subtly sweet with a mild whisky-like flavor. Unfortunately, for my taste it's over-priced (around $30 US / 750 ml) where I can get it.
UPDATE: Whenever I drink rum I let them breath in the glass for about 10 minutes. I did the same when I originally posted this rum and the initial results were such. However I had a feeling something was wrong with this batch as a whole, like the factory missed a mixing step. The smoke flavor was just way too high to be normal. I figured to get the smokey taste out would be just to stir it. So I poured the whole bottle in a pryex glass and put it on the stirrer and stirred for about 20 minutes. After having the whole room smell like a burning log I took it off the stirrer and tried it. MUCH better, the flavors are all there like they should be. Definitely can get the argicole taste now. And doesn't taste like a burning log anymore. Still not that good but enough to be enjoyable in a rum and coke.
I'm leaving the original review below \/
This is bad rum at all points. Opening the bottle it smells OK at best (kind of like a failed pusser's batch). Drinking it straight is okay for a millisecond (imagine a better tasting bacardi gold) and in comes a whoosh of harshness with so much smokey/tabacco flavor you mine as well suck the tail pipe of an 84' ford, there is only a faint hint of the grassy agricole part but that flushed out by the smokey too. In coke its much the same, it is less harsh but there is so much smoke flavor its not very good. It's not even a pleasant smoke like smoked jerky. It's more like the new guy left the space heater too close to the barrel and it caught them all on fire and they said "screw it we waited 8 years we are going to sell it anyway". Clement makes 100x better agricole. This could be good to marinate foods in for a smokey taste.
Beautiful colors. Smooth, with pleasant notes of oak and a soft scent of the cane sugar.
I heard about this Haitian rum in the forums, which uses sugarcane instead of molasses and thought I would give it a try. I picked it up on sale for $18.99 which is a good price. I found it to be surprisingly good for the price. Nice color, good notes and quite smooth. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a great rum at a great value.
Got it as a gift by a Haitian friend that just returned from a visit there. Absolutely awful! Taste like Nyquil cough medicine mixed with prison hooch with a hint of sweaty ass! Didn't have the heart to tell my bud how bad it was. The toilet seemed to cringe as I poured it down its gullet. Really God awful stuff!
If 4 years old was not drinkable even with coke, this you can take if nothing else is available.
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.
a pesar de que no es el de 15 años, llena todas las expectativas de los conocedores roneros
I found this has a distinct taste compared to D.R. Rums, must be something in the distillation or aging process. Still a fairly good drink when mixed, but not a lot of complex on its own.
There's nothing wrong with this rum, it's well made and has a certain appeal. But there's nothing that jumps out and grabs you by the short and curlies and makes you go wow. The fruit is nicely balanced with the oak, and there is a nice kick from the alcohol which is warming and has good length. Normally I prefer to drink straight up at 40% but this at 43% is perfect.
Note that this is comparable to a Martinique AOC Rhum at about half the price, and as such is going to have an unusual flavor due to its cane juice origin, as opposed to most rums which are made from molasses. The aging imparts a Cognac-like taste to it.
I tried several glasses of this just to make sure I gave it a fair shake. I never made it through more than 2 sips on any glass. I tasted nothing but alchohol. I did not enjoy anything about it. This is a hard pass for me.
..nos,ez egy remek kis 8éves ital, olyan rendezettek benne az illatok és az ízek.Fűszeres ,tölgyes, pici vanilia..de illatában és ízében is VISSZAFOGOTT...viszont torokban már ÉREZNI hogy magasabb az alkoholtartalma mint az átlag !! Valahol ez a kettősség jellemzi a rumot !!! Finom , vagány az üveg :)
Al naso non regala sentori particolarmente dominati,arriva fatto l'alcool a coprire tutto. In bocca subito forte l'alcool che lascia il posto a pepe e erba verde. Il finale non é granché e lascia un po di amaro in bocca
Vic's recipe, according to B. Berry, calls for 2 rums: an aged agricole and a dark Jamaican. (There is some confusion about whether Barbancourt is truly an agricole, but the label says "100% sugar cane rum" and that's close enough for my standards). There isn't enough character or complexity for this to be a top-notch, stand-alone sipper, but it deserves respect (and an 8) for making authentic Mai-Tais shine like the sun.
This rum is pretty delicious. It has strong oak flavors but not overpowering. Reminds me of Appleton 12 with a hint more complexity and bite from the agricole
Great stuff lots of flavor good and drinks but actually not bad on its own.
Please don't be fooled, just because this is made from sugarcane juice (as opposed to molasses) and Haitians have a heavy French cultural influence, it's not rhum agricole. It doesn't even remotely resemble it, I'd rather hear someone incorrectly guess a cachaça as a rhum agricole than this. OK, now that this is out of the way...
I consider this to be the best of the Barbancourt lines, it has a good flavor profile that strikes similarities to Spanish-style rums (Think Havana Club 7yr) and some hints of fresh sugarcane, although the ferocity of the true aguardiente is long gone from the barrel ageing process. It's got more body and character than the 4 star, and probably appeals to whiskey/scotch/bourbon drinkers in that it tastes like that barrel. Mmmm, old charred wood.
Recommended straight or on the rocks if you can't score good aged Cuban rums in your sphere of influence (*ahem* USA), or used as a reliable aged rum cocktail ingredient, on the higher proof side, but nowhere near overproofs. It'll add just enough heat without burning...
I would say this is more a mixer than a sipping rum
A bit too much oak for my taste
Just a nice rum at a very good price. Not too harsh, just a good rum for shots or sipping. Best value I’ve found!
This is one of my favorite mixers for a rum and coke with mexican coke. Biggest its a dryer rum it goes extremely well with the real sugar in mexican coke. It also has a nice complex flavor that comes with an aged rum. Good for the price
i don't remember the name of the Agricole that i had years ago, but i hated it. maybe it was too young, maybe i was too young, but it didn't taste like rum to me. i tend more towards the Jamaica style, more aged sipping rums. Then i tried this one neat (at Smuggler's Cove in SF - great place...). i really enjoyed the contrast of this one vs molasses based styles - grassy on the nose, herby and grassy notes on the initial taste, with a full flavor lingering taste experience. its not delicate, by any means, but reminded me of a fragrant sauvignon blanc (but obviously higher proof). i'd go back and try the Martinique Argicoles now after this one - nice change of pace but also stands on its own as very enjoyable.
Good. Yet too much of an alcool burn. Not as sweet and vanilla as I like. Missing some molasses and such.
Barbancourt 5 Star rum review by the Ultimate Rum Guide