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Plantation Grenada 1998 (Old Reserve Rum)

Review: Plantation Grenada 1998  (Old Reserve Rum 42 % abv)   87.5/100
a Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on May 22, 2011

Cognac Ferrand has long 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. Cognac casks in particular are highly sought after as ideal oak vessels for maturing quality rums. Based upon this relationship, Cognac Ferrand began to acquire certain very old and unique batches of rum from various Caribbean sources, which they brought back to France to finish in their own Cognac Casks. These rums have been bottled in a series of special Vintages under the umbrella of Cognac Ferrand’s own label, Plantation Rum.

I was given eight sample bottles, each 200 ml in size, which represented a good portion of the Plantation Rum line-up. The Plantation Grenada 1998 (Old Reserve Rum) is the first of these sample bottles which I have chosen to review here on my blog.

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 bottles are wrapped in netting as pictured to the right. The 1998, Old Reserve, Plantation Grenada Rum has a small map of Grenada on the label identifying the birthplace of the original rum in the bottle. 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 should note that this rum is now bottled at 42 % abv, not 45 % abv, as shown in the photo to the right. Cognac Ferrand decided to reduce the proof about a year ago, to unveil more subtle esthers, as they felt the higher alcohol in the previous bottling was hiding the complexity of their rum.)

In the Glass   9/10

The Plantation Grenada Old Reserve displays a pleasing gold colour in the glass, and the immediate nose is filled with sweet butterscotch, oak spice and vanilla. I took a little time to tilt my glass and give it a slow swirl. A crown shaped oily sheen was apparent which held back for a moment, but then released an army of swarming legs. As I let the glass decant the oak scents deepened into a wonderful baking spice aroma with rich brown sugar smells, spicy cinnamon and hints of nutmeg. A firm grape-like accent was in the breezes as well which was not surprising considering that the rum was finished in Cognac Ferrand casks before it was bottled.

This one of those glasses that you can enjoy thoroughly as you are nosing it. The smells are rich, deep and wonderfully in balance.

In the Mouth 53/60

The rum enters my mouth with a nice caramel and oak flavour which tickles the taste buds with an undercurrent of fruity green grape and zesty orange citrus peel. As I take further sips from my glass I notice that the rum develops a spicy bite which is full of more citrus peel, oak spice, and candied apples. Cinnamon, some scattered cloves, and hints of white pepper round out the experience. The rum is soft on my tongue, but there is a certain sharpness apparent in these spicy flavours.

The rum is a nice sipper, and it reveals more nuances the longer you allow it to linger in the glass. Vanillans, orange marmalade, subtle baking spices, and a beguiling sweet butterscotch all reveal themselves when the glass is allowed to decant. These later flavour nuances are delicate, and at times it seems as though they might disappear in the larger currents of caramel and orange peel flavour. But, they do not disappear, somehow they manage to weave and bob in those currents to the delight of the palate.

In the Throat  12.5/15

The sweeter caramel and butterscotch, which were noticeable in the mouth are absent as the rum is swallowed, and the Plantation Rum has a long, spicy, finish which is full of citrus peel and sharp tannin.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

I found the Plantation Grenada Old Reserve Rum reminded me a lot of Jamaican style rums. (This was my first experience with a rum from Grenada.) The rum has a wonderfully complex nose which oozes out sweet butterscotch and rich baking spices. The rum in the mouth however only hinted at these characteristics, and instead brings forward a bevy of spicy oak and citrus peel. Although I was hoping that the scents and the aromas which I encountered in the glass would translate more thoroughly to the palate, I was nonetheless very impressed with the overall flavour I encountered. The rum is extremely complex, and it was delightful savouring the varied nuances I encountered. I was also very pleased that the cognac finish which was evident on the nose and in the mouth served to enhance the experience rather than to dominate the experience.

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


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)


3 Responses to “Plantation Grenada 1998 (Old Reserve Rum)”

  1. Burlington Bill said

    I just brought back a bottle of 2003 from Montreal ($47). I never sampled the 1998 so I can’t compare. Based on your 1998 review, I would suggest that the two vintages are quite similar. I enjoyed it neat (no ice). High 80’s is definitely a fair score… Unfortunately, the only Plantation rum available in Ontario is the Barbados Grande Reserve 5-year old.

  2. Nigel said

    Hi , I was wondering if you knew how this rum compared with the 2003 version of the same rum. Thanks. Nigel

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