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2002 Plantation Jamaica Rum (700ml)
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- ABV 42%
The Caribbean is undeniably the epicenter of world Rum production, a fact celebrated by seven artisanal vintage rums and three blends marketed under the ‘Plantation’ label, a new venture from highly commended ‘Cognac Ferrand’, makers of 'Pierre Ferrand Cognac', 'Citadelle Gin' and several other high quality spirits.
The Pierre Ferrand company has had relationships with a number of the Caribbean’s top rum producers for many years via the supply of x-Cognac casks. These are prized by certain distillers for the maturation of their best rums and generally reserved to ‘give style’ to blended rums. Presented with the opportunity to taste the fruits of his trade, Ferrand’s owner/director, Alexandre Gabriel, visited the Caribbean and was blown away. The experience ignited a love affair with Rum and he immediately commenced negotiations to secure his own stocks, launching the Plantation range around 2005.
The driving concept behind this collection is essentially one of ‘terroir’ - each aims to express ‘the characteristics and flavour of its place of origin’. One might argue that if there are definite regional differences that contribute to rum styles in the Caribbean, these are largely obscured by the fact that, unlike many other spirits, regulations for the production of rum are minimal. Instead, all sorts of creative departures are permitted making Ferrand’s claim a difficult marketing line to maintain. We recently tasted the Plantation collection for ourselves. While there is indeed a remarkable diversity to be found, there’s also a common house style. Most of the Plantation Rums possess in varying degrees, a remarkable mid palate opulence and buttery texture, balanced by a tannic dryness - a combination that results in flavour profiles one would usually associate with fine wines or brandies. Ignoring the marketing speels, one cannot ignore the fact that these rums demonstrate that carefully selected estate or single-island rums can offer a range of aromas and flavours that compete with the depth and complexity of great Cognac or Whisky.
No doubt one of the key influences is Ferrand’s unique finishing process. When their maturation period in the Caribbean is deemed complete, the rums are transported at natural strength to Chateau du Bonbonnet, the historic Ferrand estate in France and then ‘finished’ for several more months in small French x-Ferrand Cognac barrels. This process was used extensively in the 18th and 19th centuries. Gabriel explains, 'Ninety-nine percent of rums are aged in barrels that once held bourbon. We found that adding an aging process in a French oak cask that once held Cognac adds extra complexity to the rum. This is a practice that was done more commonly in the past but has almost disappeared now. We thought who better than Ferrand, with our knowhow and exceptional casks, to resurrect this ancient technique. It is a very difficult thing to get right, but when done well, it's paradise.' He adds, 'In the Caribbean, Plantation Rums are rare treasures. At Ferrand they become jewels.'
Tasting note: [2000 vintage tasted] Jamaica is well known for its rich, aromatic rums, most of which are produced in pot stills and used extensively for blending. This 8 year old, 100% pot distilled rum exudes both power and sophistication. Gold in colour with a pale straw hue it boasts one of the most powerful noses of the Plantation collection, offering a penetrating amalgam of fried banana, brown sugar, heavy cream, sweet spice and new leather. The concentrated palate flavours mirror the nose with an off dry power wave of dried banana, manuka honey and pine wood accompanied by clean, drying tannin imparting a sense of freshness. Good length. Persistent, warming, delicate aftertaste of dried fruit and pine wood. A stunning rum. 95 Points 42% Alc./Vol.