Sugarcane juice is used rather than molasses. The best known product is Barbancourt. Louis Barbancourt, an immigrant from Bordeaux, France, bought a sugar plantation in 1765; it was called then, and still is, Habitation Barbancourt. The slave rebellion, inspired by the revolution in the ruling country, France, came at the turn of the century and resulted in the independent state of Haiti in the western half of the island of Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic occupies the other half). Barbancourt somehow survived the Slave Revolt of 1802 and, in fact, thrived, because the freed Africans proved to be much better customers than they had ever been as slaves. Within 100 years, the inhabitants of Haiti became the biggest rum drinkers in the Caribbean.
It is said that the excellence of the Haitian rum was a result of the traditional French skill in distilling brandies. The spirits were double pot distilled, just as in cognac.
Clairin Rums are from indigenous cane varieties, non-hybridized, with no chemistry in agriculture. Spontaneous fermentation with no yeast selected, archaic distillation, and no filtration. Haiti is the last frontier of rum and Clairin are the true rums of Haiti. In all the Caribbean there are 49 operating distilleries, in Haiti only there are 532. Producers are everywhere, often in the middle of the sugar cane fields, mills in wood, stills and fermentation vats that are usually made of oak or mango. For many reasons, due to the lack of industrialization, processes are still ancestral and it should be considered the best cane spirit possible.