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Review: Barbancourt Estate Reserve (15 Year) Rum

 
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How do you rate Barbancourt 15 Year Estate Reserve Rum (five is best)?
5
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
4
75%
 75%  [ 3 ]
3
25%
 25%  [ 1 ]
2
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
1
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 4

Author Message
Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot


Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 3474
Location: Paradise: Fort Lauderdale of course...

PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2008 8:15 am    Post subject: Review: Barbancourt Estate Reserve (15 Year) Rum Reply with quote

Barbancourt Estate Reserve (15 Year) Rum: "Rum Flan"

Barbancourt Estate Reserve is the eldest of Barbancourt's four offerings: the white, 4 year (Three Star), 8 year (Five Star) and Pango (flavored). All the others have been reviewed.

This was the last of the lot primarily due to its price $38 (compare to the world class Five Star at $20 and Three Star at $18. For purposes of rationality and economy I tend to draw the line at around $30. A rum has to be quite special for this barrier to be broken. So far a mere handful have qualified: Mount Gay Extra Old, Seales 10 Year and now this special cane juice rum from the incomparable Barbancourt of Haiti.

On this night we also took the opportunity to do a flight of the 4, 8 and 15 year, along with 10 Cane and, believe it or not, Zaya 12 Year (Trinidad). But first this review:

Sue Sea:

Quote:
Barbancourt 15 year Estate Reserve comes in what is the usual Barbancourt bottle - classic, unpretentious, and old-fashioned, with a screw top cap. Unlike the Three and Five Star, the amber glass bottle is enhanced by a brushed finish. Like the others it has classic, gold-leafed labels featuring the multiple (21) international medals and famous teal "star" and staff carrying maiden.

Now what was special about this night too was that we organized a flight of the three Barbancourts. Naturally, we started with the Three Star and finished with this 15 year Estate Reserve. This turned out to a terrific plan, as I learned so much more about all three and how the differences developed among them.

Estate Reserve opens with an aroma that begins to approximate a good molasses rum. A heavenly vanilla, caramel, burnt sugar maple with also a candy/syrupy honey effect. I picked up a definite pineapple, and a hint of deep orange. Unlike some molasses rums, these were not additives! And all over a nice background of caney reed and oak.

This rum is entirely consistent from aroma to finish. The taste is rich and almost (but not) syrupy, hearty and flan-like, with a nice full body. It bordesr on - but is not - a dessert rum. This rum is quite exceptional and is the full fruition of the development of its younger siblings. The finish affects both mouth and chest and is white peppery hot. Like the other Barbancourts it has what I call an exhale, or what Jim refers to as a secondary olfaction. A aroma and lingering taste and burn that is extremely rewarding and characteristic of only the best rums.

Now I did not give Barbancourt Estate Reserve quite the same rating as the Five Star, but you might well reach the opposite conclusion. This is partly due to my personal preference, but also due to the intensity of this fine product.


Me:

Tasting Estate Reserve was a rare experience. As always, I will add only my additional impressions. The aging has resulted in a nice clear amber, with a thin light olive rim reflecting its aging. Reserve opened with a nice vanilla maple over a background of reed and pungent oak. This rum features a deep orange, leathery, tarry oak (a deep oak) furniture polish aroma. The full bodied taste is entirely consistent, with early smoothness and buttery sensation and ending with a growing hot white pepper end palate and long finish. Chest and especially mouth warming. Reserve is almost syrupy, but thankfully is not. There is only very little of the younger rums astringency.

This rum has reached the practical limit of aging. It is important for the distiller to know when a rum is fully mature - but without being over-oaked - and Barbancourt has hit it on the head. What made this tasting really special was including Reserve in a flight of the three gold Barbancourt cane juice rums.

Only in this way can you truly appreciate each of them. Be sure to read the post on this flight, in this section.

Rating (ten is best): Sue Sea - 7.5, Jimbo - 8.
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Kawaller
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Joined: 23 Aug 2009
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Location: Land of Big Canoes

PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:35 am    Post subject: Barbancourt 15yr Reply with quote

Early in January, I found Barbancourt 15yr in a duty-free shop called Bristol's, in Nassau hidden in a cozy little nitch surrounded by hundreds of bottles of Bacardi. Knowing there was no Bacardi shortage in my home state of Missouri, and finding no favorite of mine like Appleton 12yr, I snagged it for 28USD.

Last week on the occasion of my 50th birthday I opened that bottle for a few old friends of mine in the lounge of a cigar shop. As I poured, we all wondered on the fate of the Barbancourt Distillery after the dreadful earthquake, and though my friends and I differ in politics, we all felt blessed of the opportunity to safely age gracefully in America.

Hmm, we all noted that rhum this old carries a lot of bourbon characteristics in the nose as vanilla and oak dominated. The alcohol was very mild and smooth, but it could have been muted by the cigars. Tropical fruit such as pineapple was dectectable by me as the velvety sweetness at last cut through the oak. The aftertaste was that of spun sugar, or even cotten candy.

I would recomend this rhum to anyone who drinks rum not only because it is excellent, but also Haiti could use the export money.
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adri_dand
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Joined: 11 Jan 2010
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Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I truly wish that we would be blessed with some Barbancourt up here in Quebec, Canada..... I was speaking with a friend of mine that works for the liquor commission and he informed me that there was a specific ingredient found within the Barbancourt rums that they will not authorize to be sold....
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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot


Joined: 11 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 8:25 am    Post subject: My research shows... Reply with quote

Adri, an intriguing question (...is Barbancourt disallowed from importation in Canada?)...

My research revealed that Barbancourt was indeed prevented from import for a time.

Quote:
Indeed, Barbancourt has survived some tumultuous times, most recently a total economic embargo declared against the Haitian military government in October 1991. The blockade, enacted by the Organization of American States, was intended to force the return of exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

"We were not allowed to export to the United States or Canada," Gardere (owner of Barbancourt) recalled. "In 1994, during the last four months of the embargo, even Europe joined in, so we were not allowed to export to anybody. The market was very depressed, so we worked on inter-nal affairs, trying to reduce our costs. We had no electricity, so we used gasoline-powered generators, but gasoline was $10 a gallon. And it was difficult to get spare parts. It finally ended in October 1994, when Aristide returned. Then we had to restart everything."


Actually, it appears you should be able to get Barbancourt in Canada, particularly Montreal.

Quote:
Surprisingly, only 48% of Barbancourt's production is exported, mainly to the United States and Canada. Barbancourt sells especially well in Montreal, which -- being the world's second-biggest French-speaking city -- also has a substantial Haitian immigrant population.


Credit: Luxner News, 1999

I have also found that the SAQ.com in Quebec lists Barbancourt Pango for sale at $29.99 US. I would assume their other products must also be available. LCBO.com in Ontario does not list Barbancourt, but I've sent them an email for confirmation.

To be fair, the preceeding article is 1999. Since then WIRSPA - no friend of Barbancourt - has colluded with Canada to restrict rum competition in Canada, and it is entirely possible you are right.

If anyone can confirm this issue, please do so.
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adri_dand
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Joined: 11 Jan 2010
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Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, allow me to clarify my last post....

A few weeks ago, I visited an SAQ (the signature store in downtown Montreal) and had a nice chat with one of the employees who was in charge of tasting. He approached me by the rum section and asked me if I was into the stuff.

Of course, I told him that I was truly in love with rum and that I was simply frustrated at the lack of variety up here in Quebec. That being said, he told me that he and a friend had been wanting to import rum to our province, but that the laws (ultimately the SAQ's testing of all substances sold here), were very strict in terms of substances found within any product sold by them. In other words, importing something without knowing if the product would pass SAQ screening would prove to be expensive.

Now, YES, Pang Pang is available lol... And i'm not really keen on trying it. I'd much rather have the 5 star etc....

There is an internet source that stated that Barbancourt (except Pango) was not allowed on our shelves because of the levels of ethylene esters in the product... It is legal in Canada however...
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Capn Jimbo
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the clarification. I'll add any emails I get if and when I get them. Now as far as Pango is concerned, it is made from the same base product as all the other Barbancourts, with the addition of pineapple, mango and various Haitian spices.

Bottom line: if Pango passes the testing, I'd assume the others would also. Stay tuned...
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Capn Jimbo
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 4:37 pm    Post subject: Adri got it right! Reply with quote

Adri got it right!

At least in Montreal. Here's an email I just received from SAQ.coM:

Quote:
Good day Sir,

Further to your e-mail, please note that Barbancourt rum is not consistent in terms of rate of ethyl carbamate too high in the product.

Barbancourt is so difficult to rectify the situation; they themselves decide to stop servicing the Quebec market.

The only product we have is Barbancourt Pango rhum aux épices et fruits ambré @ 29,00 $; SAQ code : 10938967

Hoping this information will be helpful.

Best regards,
Micheline Martel
Agente de bureau
Service à la clientèle
Société des alcools du Québec


Apparently the culprit is a bit too much of a chemical compound called "ethyl carbamate" in the other Barbancourt products. I still find this curious, as it is my impression that Pango is made from the same base.

Go figure...
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Hassouni
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Joined: 05 May 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While cruising through a rough part of DC today, I pulled over at a liquor store in the hope that they might have some ancient bottle of something interesting at a reasonable price. They had some old Aalborg Akvavit, ANCIENT DeKuyper Curaçao, but the only thing to really stand out was what I ended up buying:





Covered in dust, priced a buck or two more than a current bottle of the 8 year at normal market prices.

Obviously, I'm pretty excited. This looks to be ancient. Anybody know what era this label is from? I can't find one like it online, but the barcode would suggest late 70s at the earliest...[/img]
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da'rum
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Joined: 29 Aug 2012
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice find. Good stuff?
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Hassouni
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haven't opened it yet, I just bought it a couple hours ago.
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The Black Tot
Admiral


Joined: 21 Aug 2014
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Location: Houston TX and Caterham, UK

PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How about now?
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Hassouni
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still have not! And want to wait till I'm 100% sober to do a proper tasting
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The Black Tot
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Joined: 21 Aug 2014
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haha, well, long may you fend off that sobriety!

Just don't forget us! That's an awesome bottle.
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Hassouni
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Opened.

This is what Zacapa et al WANT to be. A stunner.
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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot


Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 3474
Location: Paradise: Fort Lauderdale of course...

PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hass...


...love to hear your complete review when you are able. Even though its generally the view that spirits stop aging when bottled, and while that is true insofar as wood effects, the view over at Malt Madness is that very slow oxidation still occurs to good effect.

Thanks if you do....
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