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.
In 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.
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
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)