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Rum is made all over the world; however, the best rums seem to come from the Caribbean. And of those rums, the best seem to be the ones that are aged in repurposed bourbon and/or brandy casks. Well, the good folks at Maison Ferrand in France, one of the great cognac houses, has been selling their used casks to distillers in the Caribbean forever. Somewhere along the line those Frenchmen discovered caches of prized rums, available in tiny quantities and usually reserved for the personal consumption of the distillery’s cellar master or used sparingly to give style to other rum blends. So of course, they got their hands on them and featuring them, launched the Plantation Rum Brand, a full range of 7 vintage rums and 3 blended rums made by Ferrand’s cellar master.

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Let’s start with Plantation 3 Stars Rum, a white rum that is called 3 stars because it is a blend of rums from Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad. Each of these rums has its own characteristics or terroir produced by their different locations’ weather, soil, and of course, sugar cane. These are all blended by the cellar masters at Ferrand and should be pretty good considering those guys have been blending fine old cognacs for hundreds of years. Let’s see if they got this one right! The nose is a combination of fruity sweetness leaning toward banana with almost no trace of ethanol. The palate highlights the banana followed by the sweet undertones of fruit and ends with a bit of vanilla and is very smooth with a slight peppery tingle. The finish is, of course, sweet and smooth and medium in length, leaving a taste of sweet vanilla and ginger. This is really a very good tasting white rum, and at 41% ABV and only around $20.00 per 750ml bottle, it’s a great mixing white rum for your favorite cocktail.

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Next up is the Plantation Original Dark rum. This rum is a blend of Trinidad and Tobago brown rums that is matured in young bourbon casks for 3-5 years and then blended with a heavier 8 year old rum and finally aged a second time for 12 to 18 months in French Cognac oak barrels. The nose is a sugar cane sweet, smoky chocolate layered with over ripe bananas and citrus. On the palate, I can sense the traces of bourbon and smoky oak and, of course, the chocolate and banana and even some vanilla and candied citrus. The finish leaves a sweet smoky after taste that lasts just a short time. With as much care and detail that goes into this dark rum, and as tasty and smooth as it is, I am surprised it too only costs around $20.00 per 750ml bottle. This really should become your go to dark rum for mixed drinks.

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Finally, we have the Plantation Barbados Grande Reserve aged 5 years rum. This one is a blend of different rums all from Barbados that are blended and then aged for 5 years in bourbon casks in the Caribbean and then refined in old French oak casks at Chateau de Bonbonnet. The nose of this particular rum is lighter than the last one but just as complex, with traces of sugar cane sweetness and oak and vanilla. The palate, however, reveals a hint of chocolate and an even more intense vanilla followed by the sugar cane sweetness. I don’t get much of the bourbon, but I do get a good sense of the French oak and brandy. The finish is certainly sweet but not too sweet and slightly fruity and crisper than the other two. I could sip this one straight up or even mix it up in a favorite cocktail. I simply can’t believe that this one is also priced around $20.00 per 750ml bottle. All three of these are very good, with this last Grand Reserve being my favorite of the three, but all of them are certainly welcome in my bar.

 

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By George Brozowski

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