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Plantation Isle of Fiji Rum

Review: Plantation Isle of Fiji Rum  (85.5/100)
Review by Chip Dykstra
Posted August 26, 2022

Alexandre Gabriel was born in France, on a farm in southern Burgundy near the medieval town of Cluny, where his grandfather taught him how to make wine and distill spirits. He went to university in Lyon, and then in the U.S. as an exchange student, before returning to Paris to attend business school. More than 20 years ago, Alexandre came upon an ancient and almost defunct Cognac house. Through his passion and his vision, Alexandre Gabriel turned this small Cognac House into a specialized house of artisan spirits before the term was even coined. He re-built what is known today as Cognac Ferrand, in the heart of the Grande Champagne district of Cognac.

Cognac Ferrand has long had a special relationship with a variety of rum producers throughout the world. 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 sources, which they bring back to France and finish in their own warehouses and of course in their own Cognac Casks.

Plantation Isle of Fiji Rum was of course sourced from the Isle of Fiji. It was produced using traditional local methods and local sugar cane. This rum was first aged for two years in the tropical climate (within used bourbon barrels) and then transported to France to be matured for at least one more year in French Oak casks. The spirit was bottled at 40% alcohol by volume.

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

Colour:  Gold

Nose: Teaming with with sweet butterscotch, oak spice and vanilla and almond with perhaps a hint of mustiness. As I let the glass breathe the fine oak spice began to reveal a lovely baking spice aroma with rich brown sugar smells, spicy cinnamon and hints of clove. A light pineapple-like accent was in the breezes as well hints of orange peel and banana. As we allow the glass to breathe some more I seem to catch hints of grapes tainted with impressions of menthol and tobacco.

Despite the apparent youth of the rum the nose displays good complexity and balance. I am impressed so far.

In the Mouth 51.5/60

The rum begins with a nice butterscotch, vanilla and oak flavour which which is accented by fruity impressions of pineapple, green grape and zesty orange citrus peel. There is a bit of a spicy bite which is tempered by a light butterscotch sweetness as well as a mild impression of menthol. Hints of cinnamon, some scattered cloves, and a touch of musty tobacco rounds out the flavour profile which I find quite delightful.

When I add ice, more nuances are revealed. Some of that light butterscotch sweetness is curtailed as is that light spicy bite of oak spice. I can now notice hints of leather and milk chocolate. I prefer the rum without ice, but would not quibble with those who prefer it.

In the Throat 12.5/15

The exit is sweet and spicy and features a lingering impression of vanilla and baking spice. This is much smoother than I would expect of a rum of this age.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

Plantation Isle of Fiji Rum is a quite a hit with me. This is one of those rums I can sip for enjoyment (no small feat for a rum which is aged about three years), however it also has great cocktail potential. My final score of 86.5/100 implies that I am more inclined to sip than to mix. I have though, provided a cocktail suggestion down below which I feel suits the character of the Isle of Fiji rum well.

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

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Suggested Serving

This cocktail finds its inspiration from two separate sources, a rum recipe called the Third Rail, and the classic brandy cocktail, the Sidecar.  The two recipes are very similar. Each is basically a sour cocktail which use in the case of the Sidecar lemon juice as the sour ingredient, and in the case of the Third Rail, lime Juice.

To create this cocktail, I started with the Third Rail, adding a very light dollop of sugar syrup to give the serving a touch more sweetness. Then, to give my new cocktail an added touch of flavour and complexity, I also added a dash of Campari. When I mixed the serving, I knew I had found a winning combination of flavours.

Paying homage to the mixed drinks which inspired me, I called this new cocktail, the Railcar.

I hope you enjoy it.

The Railcar

1 1/2 oz Plantation Isle of Fiji Rum
1/2 oz Bols Triple Sec
3/8 oz Lime Juice
few drops Sugar Syrup
1/8 oz Campari
Ice
Orange Peel (optional)

Add the first five ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the outsides of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a coil of Orange Peel (optional)

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

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!

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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)

 
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