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Plantation Panama 2000 (Old Reserve)

Review: Plantation Panama 2000 (Old Reserve) Rum  90/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on November 17, 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 rum. Cognac casks, in particular, are highly sought after as ideal oak vessels for maturing quality rums. Based upon this relationship, they began to acquire certain old and unique batches of rum from various Caribbean sources, which were brought back to France to be finished 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.

The Plantation Panama 2000 (Old Reserve) Rum is column distilled rum which has been aged for nine years in selected bourbon casks. The aged rum was transported from Nicaragua to France, and then it was additionally aged for a short time in used Cognac casks to enhance or ‘finish’ the rum before it was bottled. I was given eight sample bottles, each 200 ml in size, which represent a good portion of the Plantation Rum line-up. The Plantation Panama is the fifth of these sample bottles which I have chosen to review here on my blog.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

As I have stated in my previous reviews for the Plantation Rums; 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 left. The Plantation Panama Rum has a small map of Panama on the label identifying 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 9/10

The Plantation Panama 2000 Rum shows a nice golden amber colour in the glass, and if you hold it up and examine it some orange flashes are apparent. 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 droopy leglets down the side of the glass which move slowly and have a bit of a thick syrupy appearance.

The aroma from the glass immediately reminds me of butterscotch candy (actually Rum & Butter Lifesavers). An undercurrent of tobacco is also apparent as are light oak spices and vanilla. As I let the glass breathe, the aroma evolves into a sweet butterscotch-toffee which has a light herbal quality of sweet-grass and pungent spice. The tobacco scents have grown deeper and more complex, and I even sense perhaps a little ocean brine in the breezes along with some hints of almond and canned fruit (apricots and peaches).

Like the previously reviewed Plantation Nicaragua, I sense that something ‘funky’ is going on in the air above the glass as I am receiving an impression of more complexity than I would expect from a column distilled rum. (Note the Plantation Panama 2000 is bottled at 42 % abv.)

In the Mouth 54/60

The initial flavour of the rum is full of butterscotch and oak spice. I cannot seem to escape the sensation of a very mild undefinable herbal quality which sets a very light, yet a very firm imprint into the flavour. I taste traces of cinnamon and ginger, hints basil and thyme, a little dollop of citrus zest, and even a touch of marzipan.  Yet my feeling is that these descriptors do not really do the overall flavour justice.

Sipping a little more I notice oak spices which impart a little peppery zest, and I also sense a nice tobacco-like quality in the flavour stream. I taste some orange peel as well as strong accents of canned fruit (peaches and apricots), a little grilled pineapple, and some lightly fermented purple grapes which all weave in and out of the flavour profile.

As lively and complex as the flavours of this rum are, I still find the overall spirit very balanced and approachable. Everything seems to fit and no discordant notes are observed.

In the Throat 13.5/15

The finish is sweet and peppery with a trailing taste of those Rum and Butter Lifesavers left upon the palate and in the throat. My mouth has been left heated and puckered by the oak spice, and I find myself pouring another glass as this rum is just too good to sip only once.

The Afterburn 9/10

I think what I like best about the Plantation Panama 2000 Rum is that vague herbal quality which I noted earlier. I mentioned that I tasted traces of cinnamon and  ginger, hints basil and thyme, a little dollop of citrus zest, and a touch of marzipan…. yet I admitted the overall flavour doesn’t really resemble any of those descriptors. Despite my inability to nail down exactly what I am tasting, I am quite enthralled by the overall flavour, and I find myself wishing I had a larger portion than the 200 ml sample bottle I was given.

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)


19 Responses to “Plantation Panama 2000 (Old Reserve)”

  1. rus said

    no worries..if your schedule opens up let me know…if u want me to grab some samples of things u set up with someone i will bring it back over the 49th parallel …promise not to drink them,,,lol r

  2. rus said

    hi fred. i was a whiskey or whisky guy for many moons and have travelled extensively including the valley of the deers and to areas of japan. if u get a chance try some welsh ,the one we enjoy is prince of wales..favs include middleton as an irish and the more common highland parks/macs/and balvenies. if u are into the rums nows,a natural progression let me know your malt choices and i will steer u 2 some interesting rums.of course chip’s web site is very comprehensive and if u can grab some dictador 20 ,which i can not find here in our part of canada,think of me here in the snow when u smile as ‘the angel doth pee on your tongue’ lol russ

    • Fred said

      Hi Rus!

      Great, Thanks for the suggestion! It is hard to say… I mean… it really depends on the mood 🙂 Amongst my favorites: Amrut Fusion/Cask Strenght, Oban 14, Highlandpark 12, Bruichladdich Black Art, Aberlour Abudnah, Jura 21, Red Breast 12…. you see, there is no relationships, no trends… just moods 🙂

      I will slowly continue trying to discover some Rums, but I think I will continue to mainly focus on whiskies for now.


      Take care,


  3. rus said

    hi fred ..gotta let you know that all the plantation products we have enjoyed over the years have been very good but that said if the smell is an acrid chemically “corked” smell i would not drink it ,,return?exchange as it is not the way that rum or any rum would smell. by the way i just found cardhu again and at 30$ odd dollars a fine return to our boat drink sessions. happy trails russ

    • Good to hear from you again rus

      Enjoy the boat drinks!

      • rus said

        hi chip up 4 a couple of weeks as my dad had a pacemaker installed and is recovering nicely..we just had our 1st snow of the year here in the banana belt of niagara and going out to the back 40 to snowshoe. made a mixture of zaya,atlantico,plant 20,and viscaya to take with us ..r u still not going 2 miami? we hav places there gutted and renoed about 40 min away from the site and u r welcome 2 stay? r

        • Hi Rus

          Won’t be making the Miami Trip this year as things are too busy back home. Thanks for the invite though, I really do appreciate it.Have fun with the vatted mixture… it sounds good!

    • Fred said

      Hi Rus!

      Thanks for your feebacks! Well, I have plenty of whiskies there, and Cardhu is definitely a good one for the price (you have been mising it for a few years in USA I think). But since I am so neophyte with Rums, I was wondering if this was normal or not (like getting a Laphroig for the first time 😀 ). But this bottle, it much weirder 😐

      Take care,


  4. fred said


    I just bought this bottle and I am a little bit perplexed. I have no real knowledge in Rum, but I have a fair collection of whiskies. Anyway, as soon as I opened the bottle, something smelled weird: burned plastic, some weird chemical… something of that order.

    I was wondering: is it really what it does tastes, or the bottle is defect? Looking at the “cork” (if you can call this a cork) I can see that it is kind of painted in white; some kind of plastic coating that wrap the pseudo-cork. Is that normal and do you have the same kind of cork on your bottle? It is kind of weird, and is certainly the first time I see this.

    It is really not like an Islay malt that smell and tastes medicines; tihs one really doesn’t look right.

    But I am wondering: is it just a new World of savor that I am discovering, or do I have to return this bottle for defect?

    I also bought the diplomatico grand reserva, and it is clearly, a way, different from this Panama rum.

    Thanks for your inputs on this!

    Take care


    • Hi Fred

      I am not really sure how to answer this because your descriptions do not match anything that I see or smell or taste. I guess the first question I have is, Does the bottle and the label on the bottle match the one shown in my review? (I guess I ask this because I had a similar inquiry at a liquor store recently, and it turned out that the person in question had purchased a bottle from a company called Rum Nation which was labeled as a Panamanian Rum from a specific plantation, and he thought that it was the same rum as the one I reviewed. The subject of my review is bottled by Cognac Ferrand in Spain, whereas Rum Nation is bottled by a different company in (I believe) Italy.

      • Fred said


        Yes it does 😐 It is exactly this one for C. Ferrand. However, I am wondering: could this be eucalypstus and thym? To the extremes, it could. But this smell just remember me when you put your nose close to some kind of smelly plastic object.

        But is your cork looking like what I described? (some kind of small white latex coating over the cork)

        In any case, this smells really stick in mind, and it is not the kind of smells I like to stick with 🙂

        Thanks for your feedbacks!

        Take care,


        • Rhummy Chummy said

          Hi Fred,

          I recently bought a bottle of Plantation Panama 2000 in an SAQ (the government-owned corporation responsible for the trade of alcoholic beverages within the province of Quebec) and the description of the smell you made is exactly the same as I experienced. Mediciney, plastic, deflated balloon, etc. I went back to the SAQ and got the chance to taste the rum from another bottle. Same thing. I get queasy everytime I smell it. I really don’t know what causes this. Fortunately, Plantation’s other rums are excellent !


  5. rus said

    wow! mulled wine and hot rum toddy is 4 breakfast…i wish i was there so i could finally get some dictador 20,snowshoe and nordic ski in the park and off 2 marmot 2 get silly..i will have a blast 4 u on the water and stay envious of u while i sweat in the sun ,heat and humidity watching all the long legged columbian girls is sunny,dry,and cool up here in oliphant..

  6. rus said

    i am off to miami to finish the kitchen on our latest condo purchase ,returning the 29th nov. bought a bottle of zac xo and ron cartavio xo to bring back as boat drinks down there get a little silly and these 2 i hid from the hordes. lol happy trails r

  7. rus said

    this is one of the small bottles lamy gave us ?u kept it this long? i am impressed by your discipline! yup another example of a great sipper thanx r

    • Yup this is one of the bottles that Guillaume gave me at that great breakfast in Miami. (I still have three others sealed away for future reviews.) 🙂

  8. Josh Miller said

    Another great review, Chip! I can’t wait to try this one out.

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