Haiti produces some of the most unique rum in the world and it’s gained more attention in recent years, becoming an extension of Haitian culture. Called clairin, this spirit has brought more awareness to Haitian brands, including Barbancourt, which is arguably the most well-known Haitian rum producer.
It’s important to note that Barbancourt exists in a category of its own. It’s neither rhum agricole or clairin and until I listened to the Rumcast’s interview with the CEO of Barbancourt, Delphine Gardère, I believed their rum could be categorised as clairin. Read on to learn more about Gardère’s story and how Barbancourt rum stands out.
Carrying on tradition
The episode began with Gardère providing insight into how she became CEO of Barbancourt. Having previously worked in perfumery and investment banking, she returned to her family’s brand in 2017 and became the fifth generation CEO.
She was focused on bringing her knowledge of product development to Barbancourt with the aim of expanding the portfolio and educating the public on Haitian culture. Gardère is passionate about helping to elevate other women in the spirits category and follows in the footsteps of the first female leader of Barbancourt, Nathalie Gardère.
As part of her mission to educate consumers, Gardère pointed out what makes Barbancourt rum different to rhum agricole and clairin. Barbancourt isn’t rhum agricole because it doesn’t adhere to the strict principles of the AOC that has been defined for Martinique rhum. Barbancourt rum is aged in a mixture of French oak and ex-bourbon barrels and has a long fermentation time of three days.
It can’t be categorised as clairin because it doesn’t strictly adhere to the principles of clairin production either. Generally, clairin isn’t aged and Barbancourt rum has a much lighter profiler.
Looking to the future
When asked what the future holds for Barbancourt, Gardère mentioned that the brand aims to return to using a pot still for producing different types of rum. This is sure to bring out some new flavour profiles, while also remaining true to Barbancourt’s legacy as a craft distillery.
Gardère is also determined to bring more awareness to Haitian culture and highlight what makes the country so diverse with its melting pot of influences and culinary practices.
Be sure to listen to the full episode here and let me know what you think!