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Plantation Jamaica (2002) Vintage Edition

Review: Plantation Jamaica (2002) Vintage Edition  (92/100)
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published December 6, 2017

Cognac Ferrand has long had a special relationship with a variety of Caribbean rum producers which 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.

Plantation Jamaica (2002) Vintage Edition was first aged in bourbon casks in tropical Jamaica after which it was transported to the Chateau de Bonbonnet in France, where it was aged for 3 more years in used 350 litre Pierre Ferrand Cognac casks to enhance the rum before it was bottled as part of Cognac Ferrand’s growing line-up of Vintage Plantation Rums.

The Jamaican Rum was distilled in 2002 bottled in 2016 at 42 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

The spirit arrives in the tall long-necked bottle shown to the left. it is wrapped in netting to give the rum a Caribbean flair and the closure is a soft cork which is sure to give the consumer that nice satisfying ‘pop’ when it is first opened.

The label is attractive although I find the bottom red label a little cluttered and hard to read. The back label more than makes up for this as it contains all of the information a consumer would wish to know about including the terroir of the rum and its entire aging regimen.

In the Glass 9/10

Once poured into the glass, the rum displays the rich copper hue of a brand new penny. When I tilt and twirl my glass, the rum lays down a thickened sheen on the inside of the glass. Medium sized droplets form at the crest which release slender legs which amble back down into the rum below.

When I bring my glass to my nose I notice the characteristic aromatic esters and funk of the Jamaican Pot Still. I decide to wait a few minutes to let the air above the glass settle and then I begin again. The breezes are teaming with scents of butterscotch and peppery baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon, and a touch of nutmeg). I notice a strong presence of orange peel as well as notes of resin, licorice and menthol, herbal mint-like grassy impressions, some hints of copper tubing.

The nose is somewhat intense, promising a bevy of flavour and character.

In The Mouth 55.5/60

When I take the first sip of the Plantation Jamaican Rum, it is a combination of lightly sweet butterscotch and the esters of the Jamaican which commands my attention. Spicy orange peel plays with soothing menthol. Herbal flavours of eucalyptus, lemongrass and peppermint pushing their way through. Then I start to notice almond, vanilla and baking spice (in particular cinnamon). The rum gives my palate quite a ride especially as peppery spices build with each sip.

I have a bit of a debate with myself. The rum certainly has the character and complexity as well as the smoothness to be enjoyed thoroughly as a sipping rum with or without ice. However, I have an urge to try a few cocktails to see how all that character displays itself in a mixed form. I quickly decide that I can have the best of both worlds and proceeded to mix the rum in a simple cocktail with a dash of orange Curacao and Angostura bitters. The cocktail worked out nicely, and I have shared the recipe below.

In The Throat: 13.5/10

Although I would describe the rum as medium bodied it nevertheless has a long exit full of peppery baking spices and soothing menthol. The balance between the two forces is just about perfect, as the effect of the spicy heat followed by the soothing mint practically forces me to take another sip. Adding an ice-cube brings a little milk chocolate to the finish.

The Afterburn  9.5/10

I never mentioned it in my tasting notes, but as I sit here writing, I seem to be noticing echoes of the cognac finishing cask within the rum as hints of raisin and brandy are rolling in my consciousness. With that in mind I believe the folks at Plantation Rum have crafted another exceptional spirit. The Plantation Jamaica (2002) Vintage Edition is full of robust Jamaican Pot Still character. Unlike some other Jamaican rums, this one is very easy to sip on its own without ice. I suspect that the three years spent in France in the Cognac Cellars of Cognac Ferrand are responsible for making the Jamaican spirit just that bit more approachable.

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


Suggested Cocktail

The recipe I am presenting here is based loosely upon an old cocktail recipe I found in Leo Engels 1878 book, American and Other Drinks. In his book, Leo simply calls the recipe a Rum Cocktail.

1878 Rum Cocktail

1878 Rum Cocktail

2 oz Plantation Jamaica (2002) Vintage Edition
2 dashes of Pierre Ferrand Dry Orange Curacao
1 dashes of Bitters (Angostura Cocktail bitters)
2 dashes of Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
strip of Orange Peel

Fill a metal shaker 1/3 full of ice
Add 2 dashes of Orange Curacao and Sugar followed by a dash of Angostura Bitters
Add Aged Rum
Shake and strain into a suitable glass
Add ice and a strip of orange peel

Enjoy Responsibly!

Note: 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!


You may (loosely) interpret the scores 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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