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Old 10-11-2008, 08:30 PM   #1
SiriusA
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Default help sought: Jane Barbancourt "Special Rum"

I did a search both on Google and on this site and was unable to find any reference to this bottle of rum which I bought today at an estate sale.

The bottle came in a brown paper sleeve, wrapped in cardboard and then more paper. The label on the paper simply said "Special Rum, Jane Barbancourt - Haiti".

I've provided pictures of the front and back bottle labels and the paper label at the top.

The front label on the bottle reads "Special Rum" (with 5 fleur-d'lis (sp?) below). IN a circle on the face it reads "The Distillers Family, Since 1765 Hayti" Below: Jane Barbancourt Succrs. of L'Abbe Barbancourt. It is listed as 86 proof.

The back label reads:
"We have redesigned our labels for our Special Rum 86 proof made with finest sugar cane spirits according the [sic] formula of the Distillers Family, as well as our labels for our fine Rum Liqueeuers made from purest spirits of sugar cane and various essences of tropical fruits. They serve either as After Dinner Relishes or Appetizers.

Haiti Rum Liqueur, Coconut, Orange, Apricot, Banana, Pineapple, Lemon, Cocoa, COffee,Mano, Papaya, Hibiscus; Mint; Anis: SPices; Nougat, all are Rum-Liqueur 60 Proof, and Special Rum 86 proof is a Masterpiece of perfection."

Below this appears to be the mailing address, etc., of the distillery.

SO: does anyone know anything about this rum? Should I just crack it open and have at it? There are "bits" floating in the rum but my assumption would be that a strainer is all I need to enjoy it as it was meant to be enjoyed (but if "bits" are the sign of something more dramatic and worrisome, I'd like to know that!).

Thank you in advance for your wisdom and time!

Alex
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Old 10-11-2008, 09:04 PM   #2
Edward Hamilton
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Welcome to the forums. It looks like you've found a bottle of rum which was blended and bottled for consumption in Haiti since that label wouldn't be legal almost any other place.

As for the floating bits, you're probably right. Strain it and enjoy it.
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Old 10-11-2008, 09:48 PM   #3
SiriusA
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Edward:

thanks for your quick response! I'm curious -- what makes the label unacceptable outside of Haiti?

By-the-way, I've gotten turned on to rum recently by a great tiki bar in nearby Alameda, CA (Forbidden Island: http://www.forbiddenislandalameda.com) which has something like a hundred and fifty different rums with a number of challenging and exciting flights.

I look forward to any more information anyone has on this rum and I also look forward to drinking it!
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Old 10-11-2008, 10:45 PM   #4
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Welcome SiriusA. The bottle looks interesting. Please post your impression of the rum.

Many of us Bay Area rum lovers have found FI. Martin (martincate) posts here on occasion.
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Old 10-11-2008, 11:02 PM   #5
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Welcome, Edward! Forbidden Island is one of my guilty pleasures. I believe that you need to send that bottle to me for more extensive testing.
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Old 10-11-2008, 11:15 PM   #6
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Forbidden Island and Martin are in the thick of the Tiki Crawl 8. But I expect to hear some reports once that event is over. I'm just sorry I'm not in the Bay Area this week.
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Old 10-12-2008, 01:06 AM   #7
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This product is made by Berling S.A and should not be confused with the products made by The Barbancourt Distillery.

Members L.Perry and Robert Burr referenced products from Berling in an earlier thread.

Berling has shown up at the St Lucia Rum Festival...as L. Perry knows.
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Old 10-13-2008, 03:50 PM   #8
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Indeed, it's made by Berling.

The use of the Barbancourt name is legitimate so far as I know. There is a family connection between the two companies, but they are separate groups with completely separate production facilities. Many Haitians are confused and think all the rums come from the same place.

I found nothing special about the Berling rums. Very dull thin tasting rum with a peculiar vegetal edge - which bordered on interesting but never went anywhere.

There is a little hype about them recently since they won some competition or other. Some bars in Haiti now tout Berling as "the secret rum that's better than Barbancourt". The fact it is cheaper than Barbancourt probably encourages them. The manageress of one hotel I stayed at even asked me if she should drop Barbancourt and stock her bar only with Berling! Crazy stuff. The Berling rum shop also occupies prime duty free real estate at Port-au-Prince airport and of course has lots of material displayed on their recent prize win. Barbancourt is tucked unassumingly in a dark corner location.
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Old 10-13-2008, 06:17 PM   #9
SiriusA
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Thanks for all the feedback!

Based on the packaging (paper and cardboard) I would assume this bottle is 30 years old, but maybe I'm just duping myself. Not sure if any of that makes any difference or adds any interest.
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Old 10-15-2008, 01:55 PM   #10
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Alex was good enough to bring it over to FI last night to crack open and try. It wasn't bad at all- definitely had a noticeable must to it (A smell I likened to sitting in an old British roadster if that makes any sense at all). Not too much grass- some ice revealed notes of bubble gum and tropical fruit. Had lost some punch with time, but it made a quite tasty daquiri I thought. Thanks again Alex!
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