The first aged Providence rum

17 febbraio 2023

Haiti's Distillerie de Port-au-Prince has finally released the very first Providence rum in history to ever be aged.

Luca Gargano and Haiti have a longstanding bond dating back to the early 1990s and Luca's first attempt to import Haitian rum into Italy.

Then, in 2012, the unexpected and amazing discovery of Clairin on the island conclusively showed the huge potential of sugarcane and agriculture using ancient methods and no chemicals. Haiti's authentic techniques brought to light a real treasure in rum production, which was on the verge of disappearing. 

Meanwhile, Luca has never stopped dreaming of reviving production of batch distillation rum in Haiti, something Barbancourt had done up until 1992. The project that would make this dream come true came about as a partnership between La Maison & Velier and the Barbancourt-Linge family of Berling - the direct descendants of the world-famous Barbancourt rum dynasty.

The partnership gave rise to the Providence brand, which in turn would eventually mark the great comeback of batch distillation rum to Haiti's capital. 


Maison & Velier already owned an aging warehouse in Port-au-Prince, where young Clairin was brought to maturity. Therefore, the next logical step was to set up the new Distillerie de Port-au-Prince facilities a short distance from the warehouse, in order to expedite operations.

The 1500-liter copper batch still, with a six-plate mini-column attached, was produced by German master craftsman Müller in cooperation with Gianni Capovilla and installed in January 2019. The master distiller is Herbert Linge, the last descendant of the Barbancourt family. 

Opened in 2018, the Distillerie de Port-au-Prince is the youngest distillery in the Caribbean, as well as one of the smallest. 

The recently released rum was put to age two years after the distillery's foundation - Providence Aged 3 YO, which includes the first aged barrels from number 3 to number 27, all ex-Caroni.


In 1765 Louis Barbancourt sailed from Bordeaux to Haiti, then known as the French colony of Santo Domingo, where he became the owner of a sugar cane plantation. In 1862, nearly a century later, his descendants - brothers Labbé and Dupré Barbancourt - founded Barbancourt & Co. in Chemin des Dalles near Port-au-Prince and began distilling what would later be considered one of the best agricultural rums in the world.

The two brothers split up in 1870. Dupré kept the distillery and ran it together with his wife Nathalie Gardère. Lacking direct heirs bearing the Barbancourt name and willing to continue in their footsteps, Nathalie's great-grandson Jean Gardère took over in 1946, keeping the traditional methods while at the same time propelling Barbancourt into the modern era. Thanks to him, the company went from a small local business to a proud international importer.

Jane Barbancourt, the last surviving member of the original Barbancourt family, married Rudolf Linge, a German perfume expert who worked in Grasse during World War II. Together they launched their own brand – which took the name Vieux Labbé following a legal dispute that banned them from using the already registered name Barbancourt. The company is currently run by the couple's son, Herbert Barbancourt-Linge Senior.

It has always been a family dream to return to distillation and pay homage to their ancestors' heritage. The opportunity for a partnership with La Maison & Velier was therefore the perfect chance to create the Distillerie de Port-au-Prince, where daily operations are run by Herbert Barbancourt-Linge Junior.

the production process

The philosophy behind the production of Providence rum is centered on transparency: it's essential to preserve the raw ingredients as much as possible in order to allow the Cristalline sugar cane to bring out its best characteristics.

The resulting process involves using fresh sugarcane juice and sugarcane syrup for fermentation. The syrup is produced by boiling the fresh juice, which becomes thicker and more concentrated as well as easier to transport and store.

Each ingredient goes through a long batch fermentation lasting from 10 to 12 days. The sugarcane is the unique Cristalline variety grown by Michel Sajous in Saint-Michel-de-l'Attalaye, 150 kilometers north of the capital. Michel also produces the syrup.

The two ingredients are first distilled separately in batches in a bain-marie in the single pot still produced by German master craftsman Müller. The spirits obtained are then mixed together with a ratio of 85/90% syrup to 10/15% juice before going through the second distillation. The final spirit comes out of the still at 72% ABV. This method produces a rum of amazing purity and aromatic complexity.

The difference with Clairin is clear: first, the regulations governing the production of Clairin require the person growing the sugar cane to also be the distiller. In addition, Clairin is fermented using naturally occurring yeasts and no dilution, distilled in a small still heated by live fire, and bottled at full proof. Clairin is only distilled once while Providence twice.


Providence's fermentation process is long and produces great aromatic complexity, but doesn’t include the use of wild natural yeasts - instead, it uses selected yeasts to allow this rum to fully express its natural complexity.

The Distillerie de Port-au-Prince is located in a place that was once called Habitation Sarthe Providence and was planted with sugar cane, which was used by a nearby sucrerie and perhaps also by a few small craft distilleries producing rum. 

When the idea to bring the tradition of double distillation back to Haiti was revived, the name Providence - which also refers to divine providence - seemed particularly appropriate for the project.

The distillery's first release was an unaged rum called 'First Drops', followed by Dunder & Syrup.