Rumaniacs Review 003 | 0403
A craft bottling from 1977, made by Luigi Veronelli of Milan, who had visited Haiti and was so impressed with the Big B, he was granted permission to take a few barrels. Outturn 1196 bottles, 43%. Note the age statement…greater than 25 years. One can only sigh with envy.
Nowadays, fresh pressed cane juice is no longer used to make Barbancourt rums, but reduced syrup; and the old Charentaise still is gone, replaced by more modern apparatus. This allows greater volume, but perhaps some of the older taste profile has been sacrificed, as this rum implies.
Nose: Rich, very warm, not quite spicy. Nuts, caramel, coconut shavings, black grapes. Faint mint and hot tea. Excellent stuff. Invites further nosing almost as of right.
Palate: Medium to light body. Remarkably smooth, wish it had been a bit less thin. Fruity, of the just ripening, sharp kind – grapes, apples just sliced…wtf? Let me check that again. Mmm…yes, it was as I said. Also: the watery clarity of peeled cucumbers (no, really); more tea, some smoke, faint vanilla, toffee, nougat and caramel, but also well melded with more “standard” agricole flavours of grass, green tea. Really goes down well. Perhaps I was wrong, though…let’s try another sip. Nope, still good.
Finish: Not too long. Some last smoky, aromatic tobacco notes, a bit of dried fruit. You can help it along with another taste. Perhaps three. A rum this old and this rare deserves to be generously sampled. All in the name of science, of course.
Thoughts: there’s a subterranean voluptuousness, a complex richness coiling inside this rum that I cannot recall from the current stable of Barbancourt’s products, even the 15 year old. Maybe it was the 2010 earthquake that destroyed much of Barbancourt’s old stock; maybe it’s the still; maybe it’s just the history. Whatever the case, I understand why so many Europeans on a grail quest for it.
- 90 + : exceptional
- 85-89: excellent, special rums
- 80-84: quite good
- 75-79: better than average
- 70-74: below average
- < 70 : Avoid
Luca Gargano said in an interview (with Cyril on his site durhum) that the pot stills at Barbancourt were replaced with columns and that they now distill to a much higher strength.
But he did not mention when this happened. Do you have more information on this?
No, but I’ll ask him.
Luca informs me the stills were replaced in 1992.
There are several independent bottlings of Barbancourt that were distilled in 2004. Serge Valentin tasted the version from Silver Seal and he liked it quite a bit. I thought that vintage was distilled with the old stills, turns out I was wrong.
Thank you for the information