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Plantation Grande Reserve 5 Years Old Barbados Rum

Plantation Grande
Reserve 5 Years Old
Barbados Rum


By Robert Plotkin

Rum has been produced on Barbados since the early 1600's. The island—measuring all of 14 miles wide by 21 miles long— is an ideal place to cultivate sugar cane and distill rum. The all-important water used in production is sourced from underground aquifers fed with limestone filtered spring water.

Among the most prestigious Bajan spirits is Plantation Grande Reserve 5 Years Old Barbados Rum. It is a blend of pot-distilled and column-distilled rums made from local sugar cane molasses and aged in small oak barrels in the warmth and humidity of the Caribbean. The next step is where the story gets really interesting. After the rum has aged sufficiently, it is shipped to the Cognac Ferrand Estate in the heart of the esteemed Grande Champagne district of France. There it's transferred to small French oak barrels and further aged in the estate's cellars. Combined the rum is matured for a minimum of 5 years and bottled at 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof).

Not everyone can jaunt off to the Caribbean, but sipping this exquisite rum may be the next best thing. The Grande Reserve is reminiscent in complexity and depth of flavor to a superior Cognac or Armagnac. It has a amber hue, a satiny textured body and a captivating vanilla, spice and fruit bouquet. The warming entry fills the mouth with the lush flavors of ripe bananas, roasted coconut, caramel and dark chocolate. It's a seductive spirit modestly priced under $20.

The Plantation Grande Reserve is one of a number of ultra-premium rums crafted by Cognac Ferrand, each originating from a different port of call in the Caribbean, Central America and South America. The rums are distinctly individual and best illustrate the terroir of their home island. After being matured in their home countries, each is shipped to France and the Cognac Ferrand Estate for further aging.

The cane used to craft the Plantation Rum Trinidad 2000 Vintage is fermented quickly in order to preserve much of its natural vibrancy. The result is an elegant, highly aromatic rum brimming with fruit, toffee and toasted oak flavors. The Plantation Rum Barbados 2000 Vintage is a skillfully balanced blend of rums produced both in a copper pot still for added aromatics and a column still for satiny drinkability. The spirit has tremendous depth of character and a lingering, vanilla-laced finish.

As is customary in Jamaica, the sugar cane used to make Plantation Rum Jamaica 2000 Vintage is allowed to slowly ferment up to 2 weeks, after which it is distilled in an old copper pot still. The finished rum has a velvety textured body and a wafting bouquet of caramel, banana, cocoa and pineapple. The palate features a broad array of semisweet, bakery fresh flavors.

The Plantation Rum Guyana 1999 Vintage hails from Demerara on South America's west coast. Following a centuries old tradition, the rum is distilled in two separate copper pot stills. It is highly aromatic and loaded with the succulent fruit flavors of banana, fig and raisins. The Plantation Rum Nicaragua 1999 Vintage is a sophisticated spirit matured in the heat and humidity of Central America. It has a silky, medium-weight body, a lavish bouquet of vanilla, spice and toasted oak and a long, flavorful finish.

Also included in the exotic vintages range is the Plantation Rum Panama 2000 Vintage. The barrel-aged rum is imbued with a fruit-laced bouquet and a generous palate of honey, vanilla, caramel and pineapple.

The centerpiece of the collection is the award-winning Plantation 20th Anniversary XO Rum. Its complex blend is comprised of very old rums distilled and matured in Barbados before being shipped to France and matured in Cognac casks for up to 18 months in Ferrand's dirt floor cellars. The luxurious XO is endowed with the aromas of dark chocolate, vanilla, toffee and toasted oak and a long graceful, flavorful finish. As amazing as this rum is, it retails for just under $40.

Try as you might, you won't find a more sensational range of rums anywhere. Kudos and salud!