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Plantation Jamaica Old Reserve 2000 Rum

Review: Plantation Jamaica 2000 Rum  85.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on February 26, 2012

The Plantation Jamaica 2000 Rum is a  pot distilled rum which is produced from molasses using a long fermentation period prior to distillation. The rum is first aged in Jamaica in used whisky and bourbon barrels after which it is transported from Jamaica to France by Cognac Ferrand to be finished in their own warehouses and of course their own Cognac Casks.

I had the opportunity to meet Guillaume Lamy, the Vice President – North America, for Cognac Ferrand in Miami last year where I was treated to a tasting of the Plantation line-up at a breakfast sponsored by Plantation Rum. I am not positive; but at that breakfast, I received the impression that the Plantation Jamaica Rum was one of Guillaume’s most favourite rums in the Plantation family. He spoke with particular passion about this rum and how, in his mind, it carried a certain extra appeal or ‘funkiness’ in the glass.

I have worked my way through seven of the eight Plantation Rum sample bottles which were given to me after that breakfast (each 200 ml in size), and I have finally arrived at the Plantation Jamaica. I hope to find the ‘funk’ that Mr. Lamy spoke so passionately of.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

As I have stated in my previous reviews for the Cognac Ferrand – Plantation Rums, all of the Plantation Rums arrive in a highly attractive clear glass bottle with a simple uncluttered label. The Plantation Jamaica Rum has a small map of Jamaica on the label identifying the origin 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.

In The Glass 8.5/10

The Plantation Jamaica Old Reserve displays a pleasing amber/coppery colour in the glass, and the immediate nose brings forward sweet butterscotch, oak spice, marzipan,vanilla and hints of tobacco. I have to admit that I am rather delighted that the glass displayed such complexity almost immediately.

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 and only slowly released fat droopy leglets.

As I let the glass breathe the smells are pleasant with spicy toffee mingling with pungent baking spices. The impressions of tobacco grow in the breezes above the glass and a nice marmalade sweetness seems to have developed as well. Under everything else I seem to catch glimpses of a certain ‘mustiness’ which strangely enough compliments the overall aroma of the glass as this mustiness seems to soften the aroma and serves to help bind all the different scents together.

In the Mouth 51/60

This is yet another rum which benefits greatly from being allowed to breathe. Initially when I poured the rum I found the flavours heated and perhaps even uncomfortable. The oak spice carries orange and banana peel in its wake, and the rum swats the palate and the tonsils rather firmly. The rum carries spicy toffee, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, the combined heat of which seems to overwhelm the taste-buds.

The rum begins to transform in the glass after about five minutes of breathing becoming much smoother and much more approachable. Butterscotch candies begin to play with light dollops of marzipan, and that sharp orange peel has moved to marmalade. The oak and the spice seem softer and more pungent the longer the rum sits. A persistent quality is that mustiness which I noticed while I was nosing the glass. In fact this mustiness seems to grow as I sip on the rum. It has an herbal quality and reminds me of old tobacco in an even older leather pouch.

Again, as I discovered on the nose, the mustiness which I am describing seems to be improving the rum. The spices and the sweetness grow less sharp and penetrating over time as the musty flavour builds in the glass.

In the Throat 13/15

The rum remains consistent from nose to mouth to throat. When you sip the rum without letting it breathe the oak spice and orange peel kicks your tonsils and coats your palate and throat with heat. When the rum is fully decanted it is another beast entirely. The rum becomes smooth in the exit with a nice lingering spicy heat in the throat.

The Afterburn  8.5/10

I suspect the Plantation Jamaican Rum is either a rum which you will like a lot (as I did), or one which makes you shake your head wondering what the rum is really supposed to be about. It is not just the way the rum changes so much as it sits in the glass, it is also that rather strange mustiness which sits under the rum. These things take time to adjust to, and in this busy life which we all lead, time is something which we rarely give away freely. I guess, I am hoping that you will give the rum the time it needs to delight you, but I rather understand if you wish to choose a rum which offers a more immediate reward.

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)



8 Responses to “Plantation Jamaica Old Reserve 2000 Rum”

  1. Nick said

    Honestly, I found this to be very similar to Pyrat XO. Lots of overpowering orange. I was very confused when I poured this and got nothing but orange on the nose.

    Is anyone else getting this? Or just me?

    • Hi Nick

      My nosing and tasting notes both mention the noticeable marmalade (marmalade is an orange preserve spread made from Seville oranges) and orange peel, so the orange flavour you find is definitely there, but I never considered the flavour overpowering.

      • Nick said

        Hm, I think I’ll have to give it another shot. Your last paragraph described it perfectly. “one which makes you shake your head wondering what the rum is really supposed to be about” – that’s exactly how I felt. My first tasting I was talking with friends and not really paying attention.

        I guess I was expecting a really funky, smith and cross-esque character.

  2. rus said

    hi chip .agree with u again! gotta let u know i have tried to enjoy jamy rums ..whether in visiting the island or here ….always liked the w&n overproof for a liniment or for a headache..the appletons and others have always been disappointments as i go neat in my choice and rarely bother with fruit juice concoctions… happy trails russ

  3. Thanks for the review, Chip. Plantation rums are a real mixed bag for me. While I absolutely love their Barbados rums, I’m not a big fan of the leather and tobacco notes found in this and other Jamaican sippers. That said, the opportunities for mixing abound with these funky rums, as the qualities I don’t particularly enjoy on their own offer welcome complexity to cocktails. Aloha

    • Thanks Josh

      I wish I had been given a larger sample of this one so that I could have mixed a cocktail or two. Like you said ‘funky’ rums make for nice complex cocktails.

      • rumtyro said

        Pull out some cash and buy some like the rest of us poor sods! That will ensure that you can make as many cocktails as needed.

        • It’s not a matter of cash, The Plantation Panama isn’t even available in my locale. The only bottle I have ever seen is the 200ml sample bottle given to me.

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