You’d never guess it, but virtually all of the Plantation rums boast dual citizenship. Each starts out as a Caribbean rum from ten different countries and distilleries, each with their own unique flavor profiles. But, after a typical maturation in their native countries, they emigrate to France and there begin their final sojourn towards sublimity. It’s thanks to the genius of Pierre Ferrand’s Alexandre Gabriel that a near forgotten style of rum aging is once again experiencing a renaissance.
It’s oddly fitting that rum, the quintessential Caribbean spirit should find itself in the hands of a Frenchman. After all, the French have staked their claim on several island nations and their influence has filtered into a style of rum known as “double aged”. Peculiar to only a handful of rums, this technique involves aging rum in young ex-bourbon barrels on the native island where it is distilled, then shipped to Ars, France for a secondary aging in small ex-cognac casks. This gives the rums not only an extra measure of flavor, but also a more refined finish.
My journey through each of these rums confirmed the fact that all rums are not created equal, but rather each has its own innate gifts to share with the world. Each is like a child, special, unique and deserving of sharing quality time with.
Plantation 3 Stars White Rum – Barbados, Trinidad & Jamaica (82.4 proof)
Visual: Clear with a few small particulates.
Nose: Light, sweet with some citrus and young banana notes.
Taste: Bright, with a somewhat creamy mouthfeel. Sugar, a hint of salt and an elegant richness.
Finish: Fairly long for a young rum, with a touch of bitterness at the very end.
Overall: Plenty of body and just the right balance between sweet and wood notes. Very nice in sours like a Daiquiri.
GSN Rating: A-
Plantation Barbados 5 Year Grande Reserve (80 proof)
Visual: Beautiful honeyed amber.
Nose: Sweet vanilla, maple syrup, powdered sugar.
Taste: Very sweet with a beautiful honey/vanilla balance.
Finish: The sweet taste lingers, ending in some ginger-like spice.
Overall: An excellent rum with many uses. It stands well enough on its own as a fine sipper, but also will provide the backbone to any aged rum cocktail.
GSN Rating: A
Plantation 20th Anniversary Extra Old Barbados (80 proof)
Visual: Dark and rich maple syrup color.
Nose: Slight smokiness with lots of wood and vanilla tobacco.
Taste: Rich, candy-like, caramelized sugar. The wood notes support the overall flavor in a foundational way. Lots of spice comes through in the mid-palate, and an almost pot-still like terroir adds plenty of character.
Finish: Quite long, leaving a lingering sweetness.
Overall: Definitely a perfect sipping rum, but also one that will work well in tropical drinks calling for a dark or anjeo rum.
GSN Rating: A-
Plantation Trinidad Old Reserve 2000 (84 proof)
Visual: Bright yellow gold.
Nose: Sweet and fruity with a hint of apple.
Taste: A mix of smoke and sweet vanilla. There is more of the apple quality in the taste. Almost like a baked apple tart.
Finish: Medium long, with a sweet lingering spiciness.
Overall: Quite interesting and brings to mind a perfect rum for a Rum Old-Fashioned.
GSN Rating: B+
Plantation Jamaica Old Reserve 2000 (84 proof)
Visual: Dark reddish gold.
Nose: A funky, dark and rich rumcake scent.
Taste: Quite smokey and intense with a dark blackberry flavor that hits in mid-palate. The sweetness and woodiness make a nice background canvas.
Finish: Very long and with more of the blackberry flavor making a fresh appearance.
Overall: A great sipper with unusual berry qualities. This makes it excellent in fruit based cocktails.
GSN Rating: A-
Plantation Guadaloupe Old Reserve 1998 (84 proof)
Visual: Golden honey.
Nose: Spicy, smokey and slightly bitter. Very Scotch-like.
Taste: A lot of wood and intense dark, brooding mystique. There are notes of chocolate, vine fruit, fruitcake, currents, floral and herbal notes, it’s all here.
Finish: Medium long, leaving a huge variety of residual flavors that tickle and amuse the palate.
Overall: One of the most unique rums I’ve had the pleasure of tasting. Save this one for extra special occasions.
GSN Rating: A+
Plantation Original Dark Overproof – Trinidad & Tobago (146 proof)
Visual: Dark yellow-orange.
Nose: Light roast coffee bean, molasses, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Taste: As to be expected in an overproof, there is a blast of heat, but after it dissipates, there is a dark but sweet molasses flavor. There are notes of orange peel, cinnamon stick, and gingercake aplenty.
Finish: Very long and spicy.
Overall: This is the only rum in the portfolio which is not double-aged. The alcohol content would obliterate any subtleties the secondary aging would impart. Still, this is a great addition to tiki drinks calling for an overproof float.
GSN Rating: B+
For more information go to: Plantation