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Rum Review: Barbancourt Three Star (4 Year) Rum
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How do you rate Barbancourt Three Star Rum (five is best)?
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4
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3
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Total Votes : 2

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Capn Jimbo
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 4:23 am    Post subject: Rum Review: Barbancourt Three Star (4 Year) Rum Reply with quote

Barbancourt Three Star (4 Year) Rum: "Smooth 'n Lite Cane"

I urge you to begin by first reading the Barbancourt Five Star review in this section for background. For months and months I've resisted buying the amazingly priced ($15) Three Star, even though I've seen plenty of reviews shouting its praises. And I'm not alone in this. The reason should be patently obvious, when you can buy the Five Star for a measly $19 - a cane juice rum recognized as one of the world's greatest rums of all time - well, why bother? Why risk disappointment, especially in comparison?

But there it was beckoning on every trip to the spirits stores. Always a goodly supply, always standing sandwiched between the white and the megafamous Five Star. Always for just $14 or $15. I was simply worn down, willing to face Sue Sea's wrath for buying yet another bottle of rum "for the website, for the website". Enough. Here's the reviews:

Sue Sea:

Quote:
As you may have read, I loved the Barbancourt Five Star. Although I'm not a huge fan of cane juice, or as the French call them, agricultural rum, Barbancourt Five Star really opened my eyes. It really does establish a standard for the category. Three Star's bottle looks the same. Classic, yet unpretentious, old-fashioned and unassuming, both sporting a screw top cap. Of course I'm a sucker for a great bottle and I prefer cork, but I also realize that a good screw top is much better for longevity.

Three Star's aroma struck me immediately as crisp. smooth and mellow. Now I know these are unusual words to describe an aroma, but I can assure you they work. My first impression was of a pungent cane and reed - what I call rice mat - over a background of light honey, a bit of cork, a touch of almond and a wisp of citrus (perhaps pineapple). As far as taste goes, again I'm going to use the adjective - crisp - and smooth. It's like biting into a Granny Smith apple. Something that bites back a bit, but in a good way. the taste is consistent with the aroma. Three Star then becomes astringent, then explodes into a medium, white peppery warm finish, leaving a mild aftertaste that, again, is completely consistent. And leaves you wanting more. Very, very nice.


Me:

A very nice cane juice rum, with some very, very good ratings. It must be hard being the younger sibling to the world class Five Star. Barbancourt's bottles are classic and traditional, a bit old-fashioned and have entirely resisted the world's wandering marketing departments. Good on them! The amazing prices $14 to $19 for the three and five stars, coupled with an "ordinary" screw top are no doubt the reason the rhum snobs go out of their way to try to reposition Barbancourt as something other than what it has been for over 150 years - a purveyor of the finest agricultural cane juice rums in the world. But I digress...

If you pour a dram and immediately nose it you'll be struck with its sweeter elements, but with just a bit of airing the cane and reed take over. You will have no doubt this is a cane juice rum, albeit a very good one. Three Star is a beautiful gold with some nice defined legs, medium-light body. The background aromas are indeed of honey which carries forward into the palate. The taste starts light, creamy, smooth and sweet then quickly moves into astringency and hot finish that's about to grab you: medium, distinctly peppery and very warm. Three Star leaves a most pleasant aftertaste of peppery sweet cane. I'd call it "dusky", but this is totally unfair, but you're gonna have to live with it, lol.

A fine sipping rum that doesn't hide its cane, but presents it with great smoothness and a great youthful finish. Real rum, er rhum.

Score (10 is best): solid 7.


Note
: The obvious question for us (and I'm sure for you) is just how does the Three Star compare to its dominating brethren, the incomparable Five Star?

Quite well, and I must say, there is no better example of what aging can do. I highly recommend you buy both and compare them. Here's what we found: the Three Star features cane/reed with a sweet background. Aging has toned down the cane, and what were the underlying tones come to the fore and are much more distinguishable. And enjoyable. Five Star is more complex, with more balanced elements and smoother. The Three Star is terrific in a different way. You now know where the Five Star comes from, and the Three Star shouts out its relative youth (4 years compared to 8 ) and astringent peppery vigor that hangs in the mouth and throat.

Frankly the young Three Star blows even Saint James' Extra Old out of the water. It's a funny thing. The rhum snobs have wet dreams over the notion of AOC-nannied "fresh cane juice" products, but the highest rated, extravagantly priced "vintages" (those going for, say, $90) are those where aging has come close to eliminating the "cane" they espouse.

An interesting contradiction. Bought because it's cane juice, and appreciated when you can't really taste it. Hmm...

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Mike.357
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i must be missing something. I cannot find anything redeeming in this spirit.

I am like 180 degrees from Sue and Jimbo.
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Capn Jimbo
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's because we're right and you're wrong, lol...


In all seriousness Mike - and honestly your opinions are welcomed and believed - the Barbancourts are more than well respected and have been for many years. They don't compete, and their marketing is simple. They exist on pure artistry and quality.

So why didn't you like it?

Now if you are saying there are other cane juice rums you like much, much more that's one thing. But if you haven't tried any that's quite another. Somewhere in this review we urged the readers to compare the Three with the Five Star. This is a wonderful vertical comparison because they are both the same distillate but the Five Star gets another four years in French oak. So before you walk away from this category I beg you buy the Five Star and spend some time with it.

The Five Star is an undisputed world class rum. That it is simply the Three Star with a little more time then becomes meaningful. There's another possibility though. Most new rum drinkers first experiences are the sweetened and highly altered molasses rums. It's like having a nice luscious bit of creamy triple chocolate cake with powdered sugar and topped with real whipped cream - then someone hands you a fine Jewish half sour garlic pickle.

Good luck!
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Mike.357
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did not like the finish of this rum at all. It seemed almost antiseptic or something. Seriously it made me make a face. This probably is the first cane juice rum i have tried. It just seemed the exact opposite of what taste I look for.

I use the Appleton v/x as my benchmark for rum. I definitely prefer Jamaican style to most any other aside from Pampero's Anniversario. I spoke to the sales rep that hawks the Barbancourt. He was also suprised at how much I disliked it. He is supposed to be bringing me a bottle of 5 Star to sample. It has been a couple of weeks since I spoke to him about it and no 5 star yet, LOL.

I am also not a big fan rums like Pyrat. That stuff gives me a mild case of heartburn. I believe the Atlantico is altered too but that one tastes really good to me and does not make stomach acid flow. Maybe I ought to just stick with Appleton. I tell my customers that there is nothing wrong with finding something you like and sticking with it. Maybe I need to take my own advice.

But to be sure I am not way wrong in my thoughts on the 3 Star I will make myself try it again. Maybe this weekend.

I will report back.
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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good on you Mike...


Thanks for your comments. Since you mentioned Sue Sea, I shared your comments with her, to which she wanted to reply...

Sue Sea:

Quote:
"Hi Mike, I hope you're doing well. I want to say that when Jim and I first started tasting rums it was a totally different experience for me. Years ago my only experience with rum was just "rum and Coke", which really doesn't do the rum much justice at all. It took me some time to learn to sip and savor. To take perhaps 20 minutes to explore less than an ounce in a good nosing glass.

The cane juice style is very different from all the other styles which are much sweeter, and often even have added sugar and flavorings covering up the molasses based rum. There is a real purity to the cane juice category and so the flavors and aromas are quite natural and real. Think of a good, highly hopped beer or maybe a tannic Cabernet Savignon. Or V8 vegetable juice. In the Barbancourts, and especially the Three Star you get a very vegetal, caney/reedy/straw sensation. It is fair to call this slightly medicinal but in a good and natural way.

Jim is exactly right when he has suggested moving up a few years to the Five Star. The longer a cane juice rum ages the more it picks up the wood and approaches the aromas and flavor of a good pure molasses rum. If I were you, I'd definitely wait for the Five Star, which I'm sure you will like much more, but which still retains some of the caney/reedy effects, but only a hint. The Five Star will be your avenue to the Three Star which is the very same product, but younger.

But please, take lots of time especially nosing, then interspersed with tiny sips which you may want to hold in your mouth for a bit before swallowing. Most beginning tasters go too fast, take large sips. It's also important to have a proper small tasting glass like a very small rounded glass (think the size of a plum), and pour perhaps 1/2 to 3/4 ounce. It's important to swirl the rum around it before each nosing or sip.

I'd like to add that the cane juice rums are an acquired taste and will grow on you, as it did for me. The beauty of the cane juice rums is the lovely effect that you will get but you have to wait for - a kind of anise or pitzel, almost a ripe banana. These rums are like sake and go well with Asian food.

One last thing is that a rum can be offputting until the level gets down to the shoulders. It really needs to air a bit in the glass too. Anyway, my best to you and I look forward to your experiment.


Wow! You sure got an earful, but it's all good advice. Judging from your experience with the Appleton V/X - a very good young rum, affordable and that both mixes and sips quite well - and also the Atlantico, which is heavily altered and very sweet in comparison, I can surely see why the Three Star was a shock to your system.

Please be sure to get the Five Star first, I'd say... Cheers!
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Mike.357
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry it has been so long since I posted. I got you message but have been absconded by life.

At any rate...

I revisited the Barbencourt. And I am struck by my distaste for it. It is bitter about all I get out of it. Thank god it has alcohol. It is the only redeeming value I can find in the bottle.

I do not understand how I am 180 degrees from Sue's assessment. I have several customers who I gab about rum with and they love the nasty stuff too LOL. One lady offered me ten bucks for what I have left in the bottle. She did leave the store with a bottle of Appleton V/X though. Maybe I have a convert?? LOL

and FWIW I can't stand Cabernet. It is the big boy of wine and way too tanic/dry for me. I don't even taste it anymore. I just listen to my coworkers and use their judgement when asked for a recommendation.
I recommend Martini and Lewis /Sonoma for about eleven bucks and Educated Guess for less than twenty. (Sue, if you like Pinot Noir's give Meiomi a try, it is 18.99 at our store, wow can't say enough about this wine.)

Okay OT enough for this post. To finish I just can't imagine I will pay to try any other Barbencourt rums.
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Capn Jimbo
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for giving it a try, but...


Just wanted to make sure. Both Sue Sea and I advised that you move up to the Five Star (which is double the age of the Three Star) and whose profile is much more complex, less caney, more comparable to a fine molasses based rum. The Five Star is a much better entry point, and for you the Estate Domaine (15 year) would be even better.

Did you try the Five Star? Or just retaste the Three Star, which did not favor you?
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Mike.357
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i revisited the low end Barbencourt.

I have sampled enough rum to know what I like and as money is not easy to come by I think I will just stick to what I like, which is the Appleton v/x or 12 year old. If someone offered up the higher end Barbencourt I would certainly try it but I don't want to waste money on a bottle that may sit mostly full and collecting dust in my bar.

Of the 15 or so bottles of rum under the bar I am not so sure more than a couple of them will be re-bought. I looked into acquiring a bottle of Appleton 21. NO joy there. I was told by our local rep that going to Jamaica might be the only hope.

I ought to make an entire new thread giving a brief comment on what is in the bar and what I think of them. Most are not very good actually.
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jankdc
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well if Appleton is what you prefer, I doubt that you would like the Barbancourt 5 star. There is a subtlety to the cane juice rums that is very different to the hit em in the head style of Appleton (I'm saying this as a fan, Appleton 12 is one of my top three favorites). If you don't want to collect the suggested reference rums, you may want stick to the Jamaican styles with lots of dunder, or try the navy rums like Pussers.
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Capn Jimbo
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Columbo... "Just another thing..."


Exactly so, Jank. But I'd be remiss if I didn't point out a few things. I commend you on you enjoyment of the Appletons, especially the 12 year, as both the V/X and 12 are terrific Jamaican style rums. And we should share that not a few people prefer the 12 year to the 21. We have had both and weren't particularly impressed with the 21, which is WAY overpriced and is really just a prestige sale.

Third, it's really a shame you didn't start with the Barbancourt Five Star, which is only $3 or $4 more than the Three Star, but which is much less caney and a better entry. Master of Malt sells the world's finest single malts and rums in small taster samples (about an ounce), so you can try them inexpensively before you commit to a whole bottle. Their prices start at 1.95 pound0s ($3.97 US) and they ship to the US.

http://masterofmalt.com
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sleepy
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:49 pm    Post subject: A few things to try Reply with quote

Keeping cost down (an obsession of Jimbo's) there are some outstanding rums out there that may hit your palette as well or better than the Appleton's (GA prices/750 ml):

Doorly's 5 yo $9 (Total Wine only)
Flor de Ca˝a 4 yo - $14
Doorly's XO -$19 (Total Wine only - a personal favorite)
Matusalem Gran Reserve $20
Mount Gay Gold Eclipse - $22 (meh - makes a good rum and tonic)
RL Seales 10yo - $23 (Total Wine only - a near absolute favorite)
Flor de Ca˝a 7 yo - $24
Flor de Ca˝a 12 - $30 (worth the premium over the 7)
...and the splurge:
Mount Gay Extra Old - $40 (overpriced, but worth it for an occasional taste!)

El Dorado 12 and 15 yo - in the $20s, but too sweet for me

I look at that list and say: "Thank the FSM that I love rum, because there's not a single malt whiskey that I love < $40!"
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mule1rider
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use both Barboncourt and Appleton Estate in my Mai Tais. I do find the 8 star much smoother than the younger Barboncourt.
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NCyankee
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:52 am    Post subject: Re: A few things to try Reply with quote

sleepy wrote:
El Dorado 12 and 15 yo - in the $20s, but too sweet for me.


Have you priced these lately? I have a friend who brings me stuff back from the Atlanta area, and Total Wine recently raised their price from $20 to $29 for the 12 yr and $43 for the 15 - and I have not seen the 15 yr in the $20's since I bought a bottle about 3 yrs ago for $29. Fortunately, I stockpiled several bottles of the 12 yr when it was $20 because I love the stuff.




*******
Capn's Log: here in south Florida the Total's prices are $25 for the 12, $33 for the 15yo. Actually these are high, since as some of you know we are blessed with a number of small Indian-owned chains for $3 to $5 less...
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 3:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good morning fellow rum lovers.... its a rainy thundery overcast morning here in cottage country. The gardens are laden with blooms and the air is rich with the aroma of hibiscus and hostas.

Just got back from a little trip ( spent some time on the boat ) and I confess to spending a little too much on some rums I haven't seen on my local suppliers shelf.

I came home with a bottle of Pyrat, a Barbancourt 3 star ( couldnt find the 5 ), a Dicatador 12 and a Dos Maderas 5+5.

Having read the posts on the Barbancourt I am looking forward to trying it. Until recently I have been a virgin to cane juice and when I first tried it I was caught unaware. My initial reaction was OMG Ive just wasted $40 on a bottle of Weber Hause! However the more I taste other rums the more I find myself expanding my appetite for other experiences.

The other night I was sitting in the living room when my girl Kitty came in. When she saw the glass in front of me and inquired as to what I was drinking it surprised the heck outa her when she heard it was indeed a rum, but not the typical older demerara rums which are my go to. It was a cane juice. I find that once in a while it is nice to switch it up, try a new position as it were.

All of this is just to say to other rum lovers that although a cane juice like the Barbencourt 3 may not have thrilled you, there may be others that you will like.

I think my first dark rum was from the "Captain", (shudder) If I had stopped there I would never have found the MGXO or older ED's, or Appletons 12. What a tragedy that would have been!
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NCyankee
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rum Lover wrote:

I think my first dark rum was from the "Captain", (shudder) If I had stopped there I would never have found the MGXO or older ED's, or Appletons 12. What a tragedy that would have been!


Don't be embarrassed LOL, my first "premium" dark rum was Private Stock, at the time it seemed very good and only after I had moved on to better rums - Bacardi 8, Pussers, Eldorado, etc (in that order timewise) did I realize what a faked up vanilla bomb it is.
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