Rhum and the Haitian Spirit
By Anonymous on Thursday, February 1, 2007.
see more topics in:
Last Saturday morning, the sun shone through my apartment window and fell upon a bookcase where I keep a bottle of Barbancourt Rhum. The bottle is tagged with classic Hispaniola price tags, florescent orange stickers--prices both in Haitian Dollars and in Dominican Pesos, 60 and 350 respectively. Although empty, it is a cherished keepsake reminiscent of better days spent swilling rhum ak koka at the rattan-adorned Oloffson Hotel in Port-au-Prince. I drew the sun soaked bottle from its shelf and loosed its cap with a crack; sugar had crystallized around the bottle’s rim. The sweet scent that emanated forthwith was deep, velvety vanilla, with coconut and honeysuckle highlights. Even the dregs (even at nine A.M.) of this full-bodied rum enticed my senses.
I share this with you as I’ve recently come upon a wonderful exposé of the Barbancourt legacy in a 2000 issue of Cigar Aficionado. I have reproduced in part its contents below (without permission) and encourage all to visit the full article here. [link]
"While Barbancourt has as many medals as a Haitian general, perhaps its biggest accolade is that it is--by default, if not "by appointment"--the libation demanded in rituals by the Voodoo spirits, who get famously upset if they don't have their way. (The star on the rum's label is said to be a symbol of a Voodoo god.) Thierry Gardère, the fourth-generation head of the family business, is almost equally as upset at the idea that people would want to drink his rum with mixers. "Some makers don't like people to drink their rum without a mixer and I'm not surprised," he sniffs. "[Barbancourt] has a particularity, like a fine Cognac, but you can smell the sugarcane." His disdain for mixing applies to the eight-year-old Five Star as well, although he's prepared to consider the possibility with the four-year-old Three Star."
powered by Drupal