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Barbancourt 8 Yr Old Haitian Rhum

Review: Barbancourt 8 Yr Old Haitian Rhum (84.5/100)
a review by Chp Dykstra (AkA Arctic Wolf)
Posted February 19, 2010

Rhum Barbancourt is distilled and produced by Societe du Rhum Barbancourt,  in Port Au Prince on the Isle of Haiti. As I write this review the country of Haiti is still reeling from the effects of the earthquake which struck the country on January 12, 2010. My thoughts and prayers are to the people of Haiti and I fervently hope that the current level of aid and help arriving at the island continues and the natural disaster does not turn into a cascading series of human failures. If you want to help Haiti please check this link for further information.

Howling Highlight: Let’s Help Haiti

Now if you have been paying attention you will notice that I have called The spirit a rhum rather than a rum. That is because the Barbancourt 8 Yr Old Haitian Rhum is produced in the ‘french’ Caribbean tradition. French Rhum Agricoles are produced from sugar cane juice rather than from molasses. This is the very first rhum I have encountered and so I am very eager to get started.

In the Bottle 4/5

The Haitian Rhum Barbancourt is presented in a tall brown flagon style bottle with a professional label and pressed on metal cap. The presentation is neither inspiring nor displeasing.

In the Glass 8.5/10

I was instantly surprised when I poured the rhum into my glencairn glass. The spirit is the colour of pale straw, slightly brown and slightly yellow. It looks more like a young whisky, than an aged rum. The nose, however, is very much like rum, with mild brown sugar aromas mixed with butterscotch.  If I let the glass sit, I sense banana as well as a faint anise quality with maybe a hint of orange peel. All of this is very mild with even the oak aromas needing to be coaxed out into the open. I do seem to smell something very vaguely medicinal which may be part of that anise and orange peel I noted earlier.

When I swirled my glass I was happy to see nice long skinny legs forming on the sides of the glass.

In the Mouth 50/60

Upon my tongue the rum feels mildly soft and buttery. In fact I believe I can taste butter alongside the light brown sugar. For spices there is only light hints of cinnamon and oak tannin which begins to taste like anise and orange peel as I let it sit in my mouth. The spiciness is very mild. As I let the spirit rest in the glass and then taste againseveral times I decided  that it was a quality of butterscotch which always seemed to rise above the other flavours to dominate the palate. Bananas and a very mild nutty flavour weave in and out as well.

I find the flavour very inviting, but I must admit that my temptation to mix the Barbancourt 8 Yr Old Haitian Rhum into a cocktail is very strong. The subtleties of the various flavours will mix very well.

In My Throat 13/15

It is in the throat that I started to notice the medicinal quality which perhaps I overlooked in the other areas of the review. The rhum is a little harsher in the finish than I was expecting based upon the mild flavours I encountered. It is a long finish which turns slightly dry. Again this dryness bodes very well for mixing cocktails.

The Afterburn 9/10

The Barbancourt 8 Yr Old Haitian Rhum  is very mild and very delicious. Sipping he rhum neat is enjoyable, but when mixing, it becomes outstanding. The first rhum and coke I poured for myself knocked my senses for a loop it was so good. As well, I tried the spirit in various fruity cocktails and was never disappointed.

If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.


Suggested Cocktail

As stated earlier, The Barbancourt 8 Yr Old Haitian Rhum makes an outstanding rhum and Coke! I have no problem recommending any Cuba Libre style of bar drink for the rhum. However,  as I have a tendency to do,  I could not resist building something brand new.

Haitian Joie
A cocktail by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)

1 1/2 oz rhum barbancout
1 1/2 oz grapefruit juice
1/2 oz pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Peach schnapps
1/2 oz Grenadine

Shake of over ice and pour into a glass of your choice
Garnish with flamed orange zest and an orange slice

In case you are wondering about the name; Joie is french for delight. Therefore the name is Haitian Delight.


My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score as follows:

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)


10 Responses to “Barbancourt 8 Yr Old Haitian Rhum”

  1. mford said

    This is a great review. I’d only follow by saying you should use the Barbancourt 3-star for your Cuba Libres. It’s almost as good and cheaper. The best Barbancourt 5-star cocktail involves 2 shots + the juice of several key limes (hand-squeezed of course), some ice, and maybe a half teaspoon of sugar. That’s all you need on a hot day I say! Cheers.
    P.S. Get your hands on a bottle of the Bcourt 12 year (look for the most colorful box in your high-end spirits store). Then get back to me.

  2. mark said

    You must try Barbancourt White and the 15yr for posterity…in a mojito, the former’s spiciness is unique.

  3. Sendral said

    I have an equal number of bottles of RB 8 and RB 15 and was thinking of mixing them to see what happens. Any thoughts?

  4. Old Rick said

    Forty years ago the expats at the Grand Hotel
    Olaffson would order a drink they secretly
    (there was no other way) called a “Papa Doc.”

    Essentially a Cuba Libre, but with Barbancourt
    and Dr. Pepper. You may laugh, but try it; the
    sympathetic fruitiness in both make a fun

  5. Gramps Philip said

    Barbancourt 8 yr. is a very pleasant change from my
    usual dark and gold rums.
    The nose is missing, the palate/taste refreshing
    and the finish – lasting rum uniqueness. Very good
    as Fresca highball.

  6. Capn Jimbo said

    Hello again. I’m pleased you finally got around to one of the very finest rums in the world, and available here for a mere $19.

    Barbancourt is assuredly a cane juice rum that as Dave Broom put it “They don’t only produce rum; they make rum with a finesse that is almost unsurpassed in the world.”

    Barbancourt is rarely entered into the commercial competitions and really doesn’t need to. If you click on my name (above) you’ll find a number of reviews of this incredible cane juice rum at The Project.

    As far as mixed drinks go, Five Star is a bit too refined for them we’d say. The Three Star – much more reedy/caney – better represents the cane juice aspect which would be best represented in a Ti Punch.

    Which should be the mixed drink of choice.

    • Hi Capn

      This reply of yours ended up in my spam box, (probably a result of the link). I apologize if you had posted this much earlier but I rarely look in the Spam Folder.

      I admit I was suspicious of Rhum Barbancourt until I tried the 8 year. There is much conflicting information (or misinformation) regarding this spirit out in cyberspace. I am glad I tried it for myself, and made up my own mind.


  7. Aphelion said

    Very glad to read the same rum I had just picked up by reccomendation will not dissapoint! I was fearing I wasted my money (it always so easy to judge by the bottle/label and someone elses opinion). I’m particular thrilled that this is a sugar cane rum made in the French style, because I had read about the Rhum Agricoles of Martinique (through Savuer magizine), but have never wanted wanted to pay so much for something I had never tried. So thanks for the reassurance by a great review!

    I am surprised to see you have not ventured futher into Barbancourt’s older offerings, or into the world of Rhum Agricole. Since you seemed to like the Barbacourt so much, it must be calling your name.

    • Hi Aphelion

      I know the perils of purchasing a rum (or Rhum) when the contents are unknown. I believe you will find the Barbancourt 8 to be a worthwhile purchase. I suspect I will eventually wonder into the older offerings from this distillery, but there are so many rums…and so little time to enjoy them all!

      Welcome to my Blog! Your comments are always welcome.

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