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Rum Review: Barbancourt Five Star (8 Year) Rum

 
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How do you rate Barbancourt Five Star Rum (5 is best)?
5
36%
 36%  [ 4 ]
4
63%
 63%  [ 7 ]
3
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
2
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
1
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 11

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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot


Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 3445
Location: Paradise: Fort Lauderdale of course...

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:08 am    Post subject: Rum Review: Barbancourt Five Star (8 Year) Rum Reply with quote

Barbancourt Five Star (8 Year) Rum: "Pineapple Upside Down Cake"

We are so very pleased to finally review a rum so special it nearly stands alone. Haiti and Barbancourt are synonymous with sugarcane, with Haiti arguably the first island in the Carribean to seriously grow sugarcane. At times Haiti procduced almost as much cane as the rest of the islands. The Habitation Barbancourt plantation was there from the beginning, and this French family began producing rum agricole around 1860. The company has remained in family hands since then.

Barbancourt's rhum agricoles are made from fresh cane vesou (wash) in the French style, harvested by hand from its own plantation as well as from over 200 nearby growers. Cane was originally transported for crushing and distillation by oxcart and some of it still is. Working phones are still a luxury in this poorest of countries. The fermented wash is double distilled with the final distillation in copper pot stills under the control of skilled artisans, to about 90% ABV. This is diluted to just 50% for aging, which requires extra years of aging but which results in a product described by Dave Broom "They don't only produce rum; they make rum with a finesse that is almost unsurpassed in the world."

Rhum snobs have a tendency to dismiss Barbancourt as operating outside of the AOC prison, er, system. What they can't dismiss is the fact that all of Barbancourt's products consistently receive the highest of ratings and reviews, matched only by a very few of the very expensive labels in Martinique. What also sticks in their throats is Five Star's easy availability and price.

$19. Yup, you read it right. Transplant Barbancourt to Martinique and you could easily quadruple the price. I'm serious. The reviews:

Sue Sea:

Quote:
I was sleeping in, locked away in my bedroom when I was awakened by the delicious smell of vanilla. "Aha!" I thought, "Jimbo's making vanilla pancakes". I finally stumbled toward the kitchen and to a much needed cup of coffee to accompany them when I realized the kitchen was empty. What was there was Jimbo's nearly empty IKEA tasting glass, having recently been filled with a shot of Barbancourt Five Star. We proceeded to taste and review the Five Star right then.

The aroma, as now evident was a heavenly robust vanilla with an immediate noticeable hint of cane, a bit of reedy straw and a light oak. I knew immediately this was an agricole, but so much better than the 10 Cane and St. James Ambre I'd tasted before. The aroma really draws you in, and arouses your senses. It is delicious and makes you want to drink it. On later reflection I definitely picked up a hint of pineapple. Five Star's body is medium and with a bit of crispness. I tasted a light honey, light oak, and light sensation of roasted pecan nuts - not heavy or candylike as pecan pie, but like the nut itself, roasted. The taste opens smoothly, light and pleasant then develops with a growing sweet spicy heat, like biting into a red pepper. It ends with a pleasant "kick" - not the "Jesus - Mary - Joseph!" kind, but a great warm kick that a real rum is all about. The finish is long, smooth, lingering and nicely warm with a little pepper, perfect, with a bit of caramel - like when a caramel melts in your mouth. This is a wonderful rum, one I'd definitely keep around.


Me:

Barbancourt is a rhum of immediately apparent quality and character. It is obvious this is a rhum made without compromise and at great expense in both time and money. That Barbancourt Five Star sells fora mere $19 defies rational analysis! I could make a handsome living simply buying this rhum retail, rebottling and renaming it appropriately and reselling it for four or five times as much. With rhum snobs shouting the praises of "Rhum Capitaine Enorme" and willing to wait in line for it. Five Star is smooth from beginning to end, with a light but sophisticated character. I'm a sucker for a great aroma - and Five Star has the kind that'll slow you way down just to make it last. The finish is likewise - smooth, lightly peppery and with a wonderful reassuring warmth and aftertaste. Five Star is consistent and balanced - sophisticated not harsh - light but interesting - pleasant and memorable.

Rating (10 is best): 8.

*********

Special Note: This score represents our bias toward fine molasses-based rums. With that in mind, "8" should be considered a very high score.
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Last edited by Capn Jimbo on Wed May 26, 2010 7:18 am; edited 3 times in total
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MJL
Oscar


Joined: 07 Nov 2008
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



One of the best bargains in the world of rums, this one deserves to be in the cabinet of even the most casual of rum drinkers.

NAME: Rhum Barbancourt Reserve Speciale 5 Gold Star

LOCATION: Haiti

PRICE: $22.00-$28.00

COLOR: Light brown like Scotch or Napoleon Brandy

NOSE:Clean exotic citrus; Kumquats, Myers Lemons. Very spirited, clean and elusive with a strong alcohol spirit and glycerin undertones.

TASTE: Very clean, thin and easily sprayed into the mouth producing a complex taste complex that tickles the nasal senses at the same time as the mouth. The flavors develop from a vanilla, oaken flavor to a peppery sensation with definite bitter citrus tones. Adding small amounts of water bring out a sweet taste and strongly inhibit the citrus tangy flavors. Instead, the addition of water allows vanilla, oak, white chocolate and creme brule flavors to emerge that are not apparent when sampled neat.

AFTERTASTE: Medium; lasting, ending in about 30-45 seconds with the flavors developing from the bitter citrus to a distinctive and pleasant anisette flavor on the tip of the tongue. The aftertaste is similar to Dutch Salt Licorice.

NOTES: Rhum Barbancourt 5 Star is an 8 year old Haitian rum. It is easily found in most better liquor stores and is a bargain at under $25 everyday. It is complex and reminds one of Cognac or Napoleon Brandy. It is recommended that this Rum be enjoyed in a snifter to allow the full complexity of flavors to develop. This rum is cheap enough to do some experimenting with so try it with some water and or some ice but it is strongly recommended not to mix this rum with carbonated or flavored mixers as these will interfere with the flavor development.
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RT
Quartermaster


Joined: 08 Dec 2008
Posts: 113
Location: Erie PA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have never tasted the Barbancourt 5 star. But I do have a bottle of the Barbancourt 15 Estate Reserve, which I enjoy very much. In fact it is by far my favorite (no pun intended) of all of the agricole style rums I have tried. Much more flavorful and interesting than the Clement, JM and 10 Cane products on my shelf.

So my question is, how does the 5 star (8 year) compare to the 15 year? Is the 15 a deeper, fuller interpretation of the 8? Or, as some have suggested, does the 15 go a bit too far with the aging and enhancements, and in reality the 8 is a better representation of agricole perfection?
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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot


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

PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 4:27 am    Post subject: Comparing the Barbancourts.. Reply with quote

RT wrote:
So my question is, how does the 5 star (8 year) compare to the 15 year? Is the 15 a deeper, fuller interpretation of the 8? Or, as some have suggested, does the 15 go a bit too far with the aging and enhancements, and in reality the 8 is a better representation of agricole perfection?


RT, that's a great question. Because you asked, Sue Sea and I retasted all three of the aged Barbancourts - the Three and Five Star, and the 15 Year - and the results have all been posted. I urge you to, uh, review the reviews, lol.

Do this first, then check the post in which we compare all three, and briefly discuss the effects of aging. Comparing all three was tremendously enlightening as this is the same distillate throughout (and not changing blends).

But I do want to answer your question, particularly does the 15 go too far? According to Sue Sea, this is entirely a matter of taste. For those who like the deep, robust effects of age, you may consider the 15 "perfection". If you like enough aging to develop smoothness, balance and complexity but without going deep into the oak effects, you may prefer the Five Star.

Sue Sea prefers the Five Star, and so do most leading reviewers. OTOH, I like them both equally. Bilge likes the 15. Do check "Barbancourt - Comparing 4, 8 and 15 Years", in this section.

And let us know what you think.
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sleepy
King of Koffee


Joined: 13 Nov 2012
Posts: 155
Location: Atlanta and points south

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:12 pm    Post subject: Newer releases Reply with quote

I'm just wondering, has anyone noticed a significant change in Barbancourt since the quake?

I've gotten two bottles of the 5 star since about destroyed a large fraction of their barrels. The first, I wrote off as a Nassau duty-free fraud. A recent bottle leaves me wondering. While one of my favorite rums always presented a bright, pleasant nose with a smooth, clean taste, this current bottle has dominant "old boat shoe". You know, the ones that you've been wearing for 4 years without socks!

That's a long way from the rich, well-kept leather scent of RL Seale! (I kept wondering why I kept thinking of that fine beverage, then realized that I was smelling my favorite old leather jacket that I'd pulled out for the cool weather.)




*******
Capn's Log: I highly recommend that you visit Mark's lovely blog and tasting notes for Barbancourt, Laphroig and Ardbeg and oh yes, Scarlet Ibis. Feel free to reprint these here, Mark - nicely done!


Last edited by sleepy on Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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bearmark
Beermeister


Joined: 02 Jun 2012
Posts: 268
Location: Near Dallas Texas

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:54 pm    Post subject: It took a while, but I'm now a Barbancourt fan Reply with quote

I just picked up my second bottle of this rum after struggling through the first one. At first, I wasn't too enthused with the style and didn't like the aged flavor with the flavor profile of the distillate. There was a time when I was ready to move down to the 3 Star in order to lessen the aging effect. As I sipped the last few drams of that first bottle recently, I gave the 5 Star a thorough evaluation and I'm now sold. I thank Cap'n Jimbo for the encouragement to persevere and to try the other agings in the line. This still isn't my favorite rum, but it's now one that I won't be without. I've come to really appreciate it's complexity and flavor profile. I'm even toying with the idea of venturing into a bottle of 15 Year... we'll see.

My best analogy is that of a song that really catches your ear right off, but becomes tiring after a while. Other songs take a long time to appreciate, but you never lose that appreciation. Barbancourt 5 Star is like the latter and well worth the experience. I highly recommend spending some time to get to know this one.

If you want to read more about my amateur tasting and experience, then visit my personal blog (not to be confused with any whisky/whisky or rum review blog... it's just for my personal notes for sharing).
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Rum References: Flor de Caña 18 (Demeraran), The Scarlet Ibis (Trinidadian), R.L. Seale 10 (Barbadian), Appleton Extra (Jamaican), Ron Abuelo 12 (Cuban), Barbancourt 5-Star (Agricole)
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Uisge
Cap'n


Joined: 04 Nov 2011
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Location: Marvelous Madera Ranchos, CA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After being unable to contribute to comment on the 5 star due to ignorance and not having a bottle, I was able to purloin said bottle (well, at $23 it sure felt like I was committing theft!) along with a bottle of the spiced Montecristo rum, also for $23, and a bottle of Cooley sourced Irish whiskey that is now being pushed by Beam Spirits after they bought it last year, 2 Gingers (makes one forget Mary Ann altogether? Wink ) for $16!!

So I'll do a tasting of the Barbancourt and also the Deadhead rum this weekend and post those results in their respective places.
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Uisge
Cap'n


Joined: 04 Nov 2011
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Location: Marvelous Madera Ranchos, CA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mea culpa for not posting a review sooner, also for dallying about with obtaining the 5 star. Just trying some now and I already regret my lateness to experiencing its greatness.

This IS a world class spirit as der Cap'n related via Dave Broom. Holy smokes this stuff is smooooooooooooooooooth.

No review (yet again), had some spicy "Beijing Beef" from Panda Express for dinner so I don't totally trust my palate to give a fair review of this fine rum, but I promise to try tomorrow to post a fair list of my experience with Barbancourt 5 star.
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Uisge
Cap'n


Joined: 04 Nov 2011
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Location: Marvelous Madera Ranchos, CA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to say that upside-down pineapple cake isn't the descriptor that comes to my mind, although its close for the initial taste, but what comes to my mind is vanilla meringues.

There is a creaminess that begins mid-palate and lasts longer than the front palate. Clove is what I notice at the beginning, maybe a slight hint of plum, and as it builds there is a quick shift away to the creamy vanilla meringue.
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Blade Rummer
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Joined: 03 Nov 2014
Posts: 77
Location: Montreal

PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love the 5 star, it just has a great balance with just enough sweetness and heat on the end to keep it interesting sip after sip. I would add figs to the list of taste descriptors, or am I just imagining something?

Also, I'm not one to usually mix cola with rum, but Dr Pepper and 5 star is really great and I could see it as a way to ease someone into the agricole style of rum.

Our liquor board here only stocks 5 star intermittently and I'm almost done my bottle with no chance to restock on the near horizon. They do have the 3 star available, should I take the plunge on it's younger sibling? Is it too harsh to enjoy as a sipper? I seem to find variable reviews on it.
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Hassouni
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Joined: 05 May 2013
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Their 3 star is as old as VSOP cognac or rhum agricole. Def worthwhile!
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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot


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

PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And don't overlook the "White"!


All these years and despite our love for all the aged Barbancourt's (not to mention a nice vertical comparison), we somehow managed to leave the very economical "white" on the shelf. Recently though I saw one at $13.95 and we tried it with an official review to follow any moment now.

But in the meanwhile know this: the White is absolutely sippable, smooth and extremely well done. In fact, when in comes to good cane juice rums, a fine white is really quite a gift to yourself. Remember this is distilled to tasty lower proofs. Definitely worth your money...
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DiploMATTico
Oscar


Joined: 23 Oct 2014
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So my introduction to agricole rums was Barbancourt 5 star because of this site mainly and a few others who which spoke of its quality. I bought a bottle and at first to be honest was taken back by its unique presentation. I was intrigued but still trying to figure this one out.

Move forward a few months and I am fully taken by this rum. Light but with such depth of flavor and a drying oak finish.

I seem to have started in the right place with agricole's because I had a Clement VSOP at a local cuban restaurant and rum bar tonight and was rather disappointed. It lacked so much in the flavor dept for me. Clement VSOP wasn't bad but pretty meh. I know its their entry level but it doesn't give me reason to explore their pricey more aged offerings. I mean if your base aged spirit is mediocre IMHO then why try more.

Barbancourt 5 star is an incredible rum and value!


Last edited by DiploMATTico on Sun Nov 30, 2014 3:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Dai
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DiploMATTico wrote:
So my introduction to agricole rums was Barbancourt 5 star because of this site mainly and a few others who which spoke of its quality. I bought a bottle and at first to be honest was taken back by its unique presentation. I was intrigued but still trying to figure this one out.

Move forward a few months and I am fully taken by this rum. Light but with such depth of flavor and a drying oak finish.

I seem to have started in the right place with agricole's because I had a Clement VSOP at a local cuban restaurant and rum bar tonight and was rather disappointed. It lacked the so much in the flavor dept for me. Clement VSOP wasn't bad but pretty meh. I know its their entry level but it doesn't give me reason to explore their pricey more aged offerings. I mean if your base aged spirit is mediocre IMHO then why try more.

Barbancourt 5 star is an incredible rum and value!


If you can find it in your area try some Westerhall Vintage Rum nice stuff. To me at least.

http://www.masterofmalt.com/rum/westerhall/westerhall-vintage-rum/
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DiploMATTico
Oscar


Joined: 23 Oct 2014
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Location: Connecticut

PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 3:16 pm    Post subject: Still one of the best Reply with quote

I have been away for a while from the site here and also a sabbatical from most of my sugar bombs which I offloaded to my sister and her lady friends after I came to my senses. I have settled here with barbancourt 5 star. I just bought my third bottle in last 12 months and am not disappointed.

I am predominantly a Bourbon and single malt drinker but because of this incredible RHUM with its vanilla and oak I am finding myself splitting myself 3 ways now. Always neat or maybe just a small drop or two of water to really dive in to the depths of this rhum. Amazing.

Also R.L. Seales is in the rotation. Incredible rum at a jaw dropping low price at totalwine.
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