The Rum Howler Blog

(A Website for Spirited Reviews)

  • Copyright

    Copyright is inherent when an original work is created. This means that the producer of original work is automatically granted copyright protection. This copyright protection not only exists in North America, but extends to other countries as well. Thus, all of the work produced on this blog is protected by copyright, including all of the pictures and all of the articles. These original works may not be copied or reused in any way whatsoever without the permission of the author, Chip Dykstra.
  • Cocktails and Recipes

    Click Image for Awesome Recipes

  • Industry Interviews


    Click the Image for Great Interviews with the Movers of Industry

  • The Rum Howler Interview (Good Food Revolution)

    Click on the Image to see my interview on Good Food Revolution

  • The Rum Howler Blog

  • Rum Reviews

  • Whisky Reviews

  • Gin Reviews

  • Tequila Reviews

  • Vodka Reviews

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,067 other subscribers
  • Subscribe

  • Visitors

    • 14,374,811 pageviews since inception
  • Archives

  • Follow The Rum Howler Blog on

Plantation Barbados (Grande Reserve) 5 Year Old Rum

Review: Plantation Barbados (Grande Reserve) 5 Year Old Rum   87/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on July 28, 2011 (Revised on August 28, 2016)

Cognac Ferrand is a Cognac producer situated in the Grand Champagne Cognac Region of France. For years this company has had a special relationship with a variety of Caribbean rum producers. This relationship is based upon the rum producer’s need for quality oak casks to age their rum. Based upon this relationship, Cognac Ferrand is able to acquire certain old and unique batches of rum from various Caribbean sources, which they bring back to France and finish in their own warehouses and of course their own Cognac Casks. To bring these special rums to market, Cognac Ferrand created the line of rums knows as Plantation Rum.

The cornerstone of the Plantation line-up is most certainly Plantation Barbados Grande Reserve 5 Year Old Rum. This is a Bajan rum blend (distilled in Barbados of course) which was aged for five years in bourbon casks. After this initial aging the rum is transported from Barbados to France by Cognac Ferrand to be placed in used Cognac casks to enhance the rum before it was bottled. The final rum is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

I originally reviewed this rum in 2011, five years removed from that review, I am revisiting the review with a current bottling.

Plantation Barbados SAM_2678In the Bottle  4.5/5

All of the Plantation Rums arrive in a highly attractive clear glass bottle with a simple uncluttered label. The larger 750 ml bottles are wrapped in netting. The bottle closure is a high density cork which is sure to give the consumer that nice satisfying ‘pop’ when it is first opened. I find the presentation extremely attractive and love the long-necked stubby bottle which is easy to pour without spilling.

In the Glass 8.5/10

I poured myself a nice glass of the Plantation Barbados 5 Year Old Rum and brought it up to my nose. My initial impression was of a rum which had firm notes of sweet caramel molasses accented very nicely with oak and fine spice. I gave the glass  a slow tilt and swirl. The spirit deposited light sheen of rum upon the inside of my glass, and I watched as the legs formed. They were of an average size and seemed to move at an average pace down the sides of the glass.

As the glass decanted, a light leathery mustiness came forward as well as a rather agreeable copper-like scent of tarnished blue-green pennies. There is also a touch of saltiness with hints of seaweed rising in the air. The sweet caramel/molasses I had noted earlier began to release baking spices into the air (cinnamon, nutmeg and hints of ginger), and some charred aromas of coconut were lifting from the glass as well as some mushy banana and vanilla aromas.

The rum’s complexity seems to build as the glass sits.

In the Mouth  53/60

The last time I reviewed this rum was in 2011 and the impressions the rum brings forward have not changed significantly. The rum is lightly sweet in the mouth with butterscotch/caramel and hints of licorice stained molasses leading out across the palate. The initial sweetness is chased by sharp orange peel, and light baking spices. The same light leathery mustiness I noted on the nose has also appeared on the palate, and I can also taste a delicate touch of ocean brine saltiness. Baking spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and vanilla) seem to grow in intensity as the glass sits as does the sweetness of the caramel and molasses.

I allowed the glass to breathe even more and the caramel began to play with new flavours of banana and marmalade. I notice some toasted almond and charred coconut which together bring impressions of marzipan and treacle to the fore, and there is also an underlying fruitiness with hints of lightly sour fruit and canned apricots. All in all the Plantation Barbados (Grande Reserve) is a very nice rum to sip.

Although the rum is a nice sipper, I feel also well suited to the cocktail realm as a premium mixer for aged rum cocktails (see below for my new creation).

In the Throat  13/15

The rum has a short to medium length finish. In my past review I found the finish perhaps a touch too sweet; however, the exit is more finely balanced this year as the apparent caramel sweetness of five years past is toned down in the exit and heated spices provide a nice counter balance to what sweetness remains.

The Afterburn 9/10

I continue to be delighted with this particular Plantation Rum from Cognac Ferrand. The Plantation 5 Year Old Barbados Rum brings a pleasant complexity and depth of flavour to the glass which allows the spirit to be enjoyed as a sipping rum as well as a high quality cocktail rum. I also appreciate that the rum does clobber me over the head with its Cognac enhancement. I can taste whispers of fermented fruit and perhaps a ghost of the cognac barrel, but these flavours stay in the background allowing the fine Barbados rum to shine through.

If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.


Suggested Recipe

The Pedestrian SAM_2717Swift-Turtle Cocktail

2 oz Plantation Barbados (Grande Reserve) Rum
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
3/8 oz sugar syrup (1:1 ratio)
dash Fees cocktail Bitters
orange peel

Add the first four ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a strip of orange peel

If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score as follows:

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)


14 Responses to “Plantation Barbados (Grande Reserve) 5 Year Old Rum”

  1. speedtek said

    I am actually pleasantly surprised at how good this rum actually is. A friend of mine purchased a bottle for me as a gift for Christmas and I wasn’t expecting a whole lot as my tastes tend to lean more towards Zacapa and Diplomatico Reserva exclusiva these days. Color me impressed!!! What a fantastic mixer rum for Rum and Cola, even on the rocks this was very palatable…..A very good “go to” rum for cocktails that I will be very sure to keep on my shelf from now on.

  2. Paul G said

    This just recently came into the Liquor Despot by my apartment building (along with the Masterson 10 yr Rye and a few other products aimed at a more quality market) and I gave it a try tonight. I think I found it a little bit sweeter overall than you did, Chip, but regardless a fine buy for under $40. I suspect this will join rums like the Havana Club 7 or the Mt. Gay XO as go to “affordable” rums.

  3. Ski said

    Just purchased a bottle (Specs cash price of $17.49 plus tax) and am currently enjoying a nice Plantation Rum & Coke. I needed it after just being rear-ended (and not in a good way 🙂 on my way home from work today.

    It is very close to Tommie Bahama Golden Sun rum (one of my all time favorites) that has been discontinued. A nice, quality but not too expensive rum that mixes well and gives you a nice even alcohol buzz unlike some cheaper rums (you know what they are and when you drank them).

    A solid B to B+ and maybe after another one, A-

    Good review bro, well said.

    Ski in TX

  4. John said

    My Friend and I enjoy sipping Rum and watching Uconn Womens Basketball. We have tried well over 25 different Rums and PLANTATION BARBADOS (5 Year) is a great sipping rum and the Price $16.99 is even better.Definetly a good rum for new tasters.

  5. Kevin said

    Thanks, John! I happened to find a liquor store (there are a lot of them up here) that carried it in West St. Paul. But more options are better!

    Happy Holidays!


    • John Hill said

      Hello again Kevin,
      just a tip, Surdyk’s sells several highly regarded rums, they have a very impressive selection.
      Only drawback, I live in Buffalo, where finding top quality rum is difficult, so I have to drive 40 miles to Minneapolis to buy! Excellent rum is worth the drive, though!

      John Hill


      • Kevin said

        Thanks John,

        I will have to make the drive there. If I were to pick up a rum, is there one I should get? I am looking for a white rum to try in place of Bacardi but will try anything.

        • John Hill said

          I am not a big fan of white rums. The best I have had, though, is Clement Premiere Canne, good enough to be considered a sipping rum, with a lime or lemon twist. Excellent in cocktails. Surdyk’s had on sale for $24.00 12/26/11. Flor De Cana Xtra Dry 4 year old ($14.50) is good for mixing, also.
          Rums to try: “Best bang for buck”–Plantation 5 year old ($18.00) & Abuelo 7 year old ($20.00). Best I have ever had–Plantation XO 20th Anniversary. Other excellent rums–El Dorado 12 year old, Cruzan Single Barrel, Flor De Cana 12 & 18 year old. John Hill

          • Hi John

            Great List! I haven’t tried the Clement Premiere Canne, (I think it is an agricole Rhum), But the others on your list are certainly well worth looking out for.

            • John Hill said

              Hi Chip,

              Thanks for the response! I absolutely agree with your review of the Plantation Barbados 5 Year Old. I.M.O., it gives rums costing twice as much a run for the money! Also, the Ron Abuelo 7 Anos is an excellent rum for the money. It is fairly difficult to find rums of this quality in this price range($18.00-$20.00), in the U.S.
              Always look forward to your reviews!

              John Hill

          • Kevin said

            Thanks again, John and to you Chip for the great reviews! I should have mentioned I am looking for a mixing rum so will be checking out the Clement Premier Canne, but will put the others on my list to add to the collection.

            So much to drink, so little time!


            • John Hill said

              Do you know of any liquor store in St. Paul that sells Pampero Aniversio rum? It comes in a leather pouch.

              John Hill

  6. Kevin said

    I first enjoyed this excellent rum in a daquiri (the classic version) at a liquor tasting sponsored by Ferrand at Martin’s Wine Cellar in New Orleans and I have yet to find it equal at this price, $14 for 750 ml in NOLA! We promptly bought a bottle and shortly after that another. I am so glad to see that your review found it as pleasing it as much as I did. I just hope it doesn’t cause the price to go up too much but maybe extends its distribution as I cannot find it in Minneapolis yet!

    • John Hill said

      Surdyk’s, in Northeast Minneapolis (Hennepin Ave. East and SE University) sells Plantation Barbados 5 year Old. I bought a bottle 12/17/11. They had it on sale for $15.99!

      John Hill

%d bloggers like this: