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since 1862

Haiti

About ten miles from the capitol city of Port-au Prince is the rural town of Damiens -- home to the Barbancourt distillery since 1862. From the fertile fields surrounding the distillery, sugar cane is grown to maturity and then harvested by hand. Once cut, the cane is hauled by ox-drawn carts or small trucks. Planting and harvesting cane by hand is very labor intensive, combined with the distillery operations Barbancourt provides employment for about 200 people in a country where unemployment and political turmoil have been part of the landscape for generations.

Following centuries of tradition rum making takes place from December through May during the dry season when the cane contains the most sugar. A steam-powered cane mill crushing the cane as soon as it arrives at the distillery. From the mill the freshly squeezed juice is fermented for three days in stainless steel vats before it is distilled by a method called charentaise.

From the fermentation vats the wash is distilled in a single-column continuous still called the rectification column after which the condensate is collected to be redistilled in a traditional copper pot still. Double distillation in this manner is time-consuming and requires the skills of a competent distiller but the results can not be denied. The raw alcohol from the pot still is condensed at about 90% alcohol by volume and diluted to only 50% alcohol by volume before it is allowed to age in the old warehouse. The magic of aging rum Barbancourt takes place in a variety of oak aging vats imported from Limousin, France ranging in size up to seven hectoliters. Since the losses due to evaporation are directly related to the ratio of the volume of a vessel to it's surface area, the larger vessels employed here reduce the percentage of alcohol lost to the angels that protect the rum in every Caribbean distillery. Aging at a low alcohol content also mazimizes the benefits of the time spent in the oak vats.

There are a number of small pot stills in Haiti that produce white rum for local consumption, but all rhum Barbancourt is aged before it is bottled.

All of the Barbancourt products are bottled at the distillery and then shipped to markets in the United States, Italy, Panama, Germany, Ecuador, Canada, Belguim and Saint Martin. There is a good chance that all of these fine rums won't be available in your area because production is fairly low but throughout the world Barbancourt is reverred as a standard of quality and excellence. 

There is no presently a tour at Barbancourt, but visitors are welcome to come and see the distillery and experience why rhum Barbancourt is known as one of the finest rums in the world. Tourists are encouraged to visit the Barbancourt distillery Monday through Friday from 10am to 1pm.

Ministry of Rum Forum member Bunnyhugs wrote about his visit to the Barbancourt distillery in 2008 on his blog.

There are 4 products in our database distilled by Barbancourt.
Barbancourt Reserve du Domain, Barbancourt 15 year
Barbancourt Special Reserve, Barbancourt Five Star
Barbancourt Three Star
Barbancourt White

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Last updated February 5, 2009