Origin: Distillerie De Port-Au-Prince, Port-Au-Prince, Haiti
Finish: Neutral vessel
It's not every day that you hear about a startup rum distillery, especially in locations where rum-making has been around for centuries, but that's exactly the story behind Distillerie De Port-Au-Prince. The distillery was founded in 2018 by Herbert Barbancourt-Linge Jr., and serves as one of the newest, high-profile distilleries in the Caribbean rum scene.
Distillerie De Port-Au-Prince uses only a pot still for distillation, but features both cane syrup and cane juice as their source materials for rum-making. The distillery first released the appropriately-named "First Drops" in 2019, which featured a blend of cane syrup (~85%) and cane juice (~15%) distillates, and bottled at a hefty 72% ABV without aging.
This release that we're looking at today is their second, named "Dunder & Syrup". During the fermentation process for this rum, dunder ("left overs" from previous distillation runs) is added to cane syrup to augment the process. The cane syrup originates from the Crystalline varietal of sugarcane, which was harvested from the land of Michel Sajous; that name may be recognizable to fans of Clairin, or more specifically, Clairin Sajous– the specific expression that used Michel's sugarcane.
Providence Dunder & Syrup was distilled using a pot still, and was bottled without aging at a strength of 56% ABV.
Crystal clear, high clarity, medium-low viscosity
Fresh pineapple, coconut water, light olive brine, star fruit, frosting
Pineapple, fresh-cut sugarcane, banana, green bell pepper, orange marmalade, light olive brine
Long, warming, moist; fresh cane, brine, orange peel, pineapple rind
Providence "Dunder & Syrup" is a nice unaged rum that blurs the line between Rhum Barbancourt and clairin. It is not as funky or strong as clairin, but does share some resemblance through the use of sugarcane juice and syrup, as well as the pot distillation.
In my glass, Providence is crystal clear, with high clarity and medium-low viscosity.
The nose starts with fresh pineapple, nutty coconut water, and a light amount of olive brine, which reminds me of clairin or Paranubes aguardiente de caña– the Mexican equivalent to clairin. Some star fruit notes come forward as well, as does some frosting aromas. It's a nice nose, and not nearly as divisive as clairin can be.
Pineapple and fresh-cut sugarcane come forward on the palate, followed by banana and green bell pepper. Digging further, flavors of orange marmalade comes through, as does that olive brine note that I got on the nose. This is a good palate and inoffensive, but offers more than the bare minimum of flavor that you'd expect from white rums– even if the palate is a tad flat.
The finish is long, warming, and moist. Notes of fresh cane, brine, orange peel, and pineapple rind are present. I'm impressed with this finish, as often times we've seen finishes that devolve into raw alcohol or are simply too dry– and with rums that are lower proof than 56% ABV no less!
Providence Dunder & Syrup is a nice addition to my bar, and a great rum to use in place of lighter or more neutral unaged/lightly-aged rums in a Daiquiri. I wish I had "First Drops" to compare it to, but I am happy that we are finally seeing these pop up in Tennessee. It's not the most complex rum, and its price may be a little steep only to be in regular rotation for cocktails, but the value is there, especially for a startup distillery figuring things out.
- Daiquiri (Jennings Cox, Cuba, 1890s)
- Daisy de Santiago (Cuba, 1920s; adapted by Martin Cate)
- Fog Cutter (Vic "Trader Vic" Bergeron, 1940s)