Barbancourt 15 Year Old Réserve du Domaine

Barbancourt 15

Product of:  Haiti
Aged:  15 Years
Price: $40
Alcohol: 43% ABV
Context: Rhum Vieux Agricole
RG Rating: 9

Tasting Notes
Very Smooth.  A brilliant mahogany amber color is but the first clue that you are about to experience an exceptional rum.  Aromas include beautifully soft scents of caramelized brown sugar that manage to intoxicate without overwhelming your senses, a light molasses aroma adds depth of character, oaken vanilla and notes of dried fruits (raisin, dried apricot, orange) are evident, as is a slight cane earthiness, subtly spiced with clove and cinnamon.  Those wonderful aromas prepare your mouth for a nicely complex suite of flavors delivered in direct proportion with those your nose detected, but smoothed with a touch more vanilla.  A medium weight body integrates heavy alcohols well into the overall liquor, allowing the flavors spread slowly and elegantly over the palate.  The finish is substantial and charismatically long; cocoa adds to the complexity, with a lasting sweetness in the throat finally ending in a sweet dry spell that calls out for more.

Barbancourt 15 Sign at Miami Rum Renaissance Festival 2012

Anecdotal Notes
The Barbancourt family is of French origin, hence the spelling “Rhum” on the label.  Sugar cane grown at Domaine Barbancourt as well as other parts of Haiti is hand cut between November and June, then thrice milled, and fermented for about 72 hours with a proprietary strain of yeast developed in-house.  Double distilled in a column still to 70% ABV, then second distillation yields a spirit of 90% ABV, which differentiates Barbancourt's rhum from the Martinique AOC agrcoles.  Ahh, the art of rum, where no rules are hard and fixed.  The newly distilled liquor is diluted with water to 50% ABV before storing solely in French Limousin oak barrels sourced from Seguin Moreauand set aside for aging.  

Barbancourt’s 15 year old Reserve du Domain is available in tropical latitudes and filtered once, whereas the version shipped to the USA (Barbancourt's largest export market) is called Estate Reserve and undergoes a second cold filtration to remove impurities and achieve clarity.  While more than one respected rum taster prefers the local/tropical version over the twice-filtered iteration, Thierry Gardere, Director General of Barbancourt and fourth generation nephew of distillery founder Dupré Barbancourt, told me: "There is no difference" between the tropical product and the version exported to higher lattitudes.

Opinion 
What strikes me so positively about Barbancourt Réserve du Domaine 15 year old rum is its fine balance of complex aromas and flavors.  Sure, it’s one of the most flavorful, pleasantly aromatic widely distributed rums in the USA, but it is eminently sippable anytime.  I Purchased bottle #073888 on Antigua for $39, and found the same rum for $26 on Carriacou a couple of years later. Regardless of whether you acquire the tropical or the northern export version, you’ll truly enjoy Barbancourt 15 year old.

Reviewed: March 2010 at the Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017