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Mar 29, 2014 01:06 PM

Is burnt rubber taste normal for Barbancourt 5 star?

I'm not much of a rum drinker (I generally just keep around a bottle of Appleton 12) but am trying to branch out and learn about some of the different styles. I've heard great things about Barbancourt 5 star and have tried it in cocktails once or twice at bars and enjoyed so I picked up a bottle. Although not a true Rhum Agricole, it sounded like Barbancourt has a similar flavor profile and I understand that that means it will have a bit of funk to it. That said, while it smells fantastic, I can't get over the dominating flavor of "burnt rubber". I love smokey Islay Whiskys but this isn't smoky it is straight up burnt rubber.

Is this how it's supposed to taste? Is this what I should expect from other Rhum Agricoles?

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  1. I can't really say I have gotten burnt rubber from Barbancourt, though I did from Sea Wynde (which has a large Jamaican component) and to a much lesser extent Smith & Cross. Both are very high ester pot still rums.

    The only true agricole I have had is Depaz Blue, and I don't get any such taste from it.

    1. I never noticed any burnt rubber component to Barbancourt 5 star, but I do know exactly what you mean. I always got a bit of rubber flavor in Clement VSOP and also St. James Hors d'Age. That leads me to believe it is a common feature of rhums agricoles, although most tasters describe it as vegetal or grassy. To me it is much closer to the smell of something rubber.

      I found the same thing in a Madrecuixe Mezcal that I bought. I have learned to deal with it more, but it is still not something I really like, so I'm not one for sipping aged agricoles.

      1 Reply
      1. re: nickls

        Yes, after trying it a few more times it's more of a rubber taste than burnt rubber. Funnily enough, the only other time I've tasted this in a spirit was in a mezcal.

        From further research it sounds like it might be "hogo" which is a term applied to the unique flavor in some Rhums. Definitely doesn't strike me as vegetal or grassy or even "funky" but your post sounds makes it clear I'm not the only one tasting this. Sounds like Rhum Agricoles may just not be my thing.

      2. I would encourage you not to give up on agricoles as a whole so early. I too find the rubber note in the 5 star very off-putting. However I do not find the same note in St James Rhums nor the one Clement I have tried(VSOP). They are markedly different from most other rum styles though. The St. james I have at home(Ambre and Extra Old) are good mixers not sippers; I just bought the Clement though first impressions are that it will work as both.

        I think Blanc agricoles make great mixers as well

        1. Is it aged in sherry barrels? Many sherry casks are treated with sulfur before being reused. When overdone, this can lead to a burnt rubber sort of note.

          4 Replies
          1. re: sku

            The bottle says "Aged in imported white oak casks, similar to the finest Cognacs."

            1. re: ncyankee101

              That's what I read too. Not knowing about cognac again, I'm not sure if that would imply sherry barrels.

              1. re: Klunco

                Extremely doubtful - sherry barrels are expensive and if they were used, it would be prominently featured on the label.

                1. re: ncyankee101

                  Almost all rums, unless they say otherwise, are aged in used bourbon barrels. They are not sulphured. They are usually dry, broken down for shipping, and then rebuilt. Same as for Scotch whisky.

          2. Yes I agree I taste rubber. It has this funky rubber taste to it? I did not like it neat. It has a dry, smokey, rubber funk and a hot finish. But I also do not like Clement VSOP neat! I was dry, subtle and cognac like with no funkyness.

            But I think it works well in a Mai Tai. I will use about 3/4 oz of it, 3/4 oz of Plantation 3 star and 1/2 oz of Dictator 12, 1/2 oz fresh lime juice, 1/2 oz Small Hands Orgeat, 1/3 oz Cointreau, 1 oz water, shaken for 20 seconds poured over crushed ice and garnished with mint and that created a very interesting complex tasty balanced drink.


            1 Reply
            1. re: reeeech

              Shaken with water, not ice, then poured over crushed ice. Why?