Rum Review: Plantation Barbados 5-Year Grand Reserve
Plantation 5-Year Barbados
Being a rum enthusiast, I’m oft asked the following question: “If I buy just one rum for my bar, which one should it be?” Plantation Barbados 5-Year, I reply.
If you’ve been following me on Twitter (@inuakena) you may have noticed that I often gush about Ferrand products. I suppose after a few generations of producing and blending spirits, you really get into a groove. But while you would expect to be wowed by a Plantation XO 20th Anniversary rum, no one would blame you for doubting the awesomeness of a mere five year-old rum. One sip later, however, you might find your doubts dashed. Let’s take a look at this young rum and find out why it occupies a unique niche in today’s rum market.
The Plantation bottle itself is fantastic. Clear, classic, and at a medium height, the glass is wrapped in a loose raffia netting that offers little protection, but generates a palpable feeling of nostalgia. Adding to the classic look and feel is a tattered ivory label and a proper natural cork stopper. At the bottom of the bottle, the word “Plantation” sits proudly.
Out of the bottle, the rum presents itself in a copper bronze–lighter than its older brethren, but suitably altered by its time in oak, both in Barbados and France (Ferrand typically finishes their rums at home in France in select casks previously used to age whiskey, sherry, cognac, and the like). A swirl in the glass produces an initially razor thin ring that thickens before yielding a number of fat legs that slowly slide downward.
The nose is only slightly astringent, which is pleasantly surprising, given its youth. The first aromas are of lovely treats from grandma’s candy dish: butterscotch, caramel, and toffee. The candies give way to a second wave of wholesome treats from the fruit basket: banana, pineapple and tangerine.
The first taste bursts onto the palate with a rambunctious entry fit for a five year-old, but soon settles in agreeably. The bright beginnings are spicy but sweet, generating a mouthfeel that is medium in viscosity and perfectly satisfactory. The flavors closely correlate with the aromas: butterscotch and toffee lead the way with an almost immediate kick of pepper and a slight hint of clove. After the sugar and spice comes the fruit again: banana, pineapple and a bit of citrus on the medium length finish.
As I sip my two-ounce pour neat, I can’t help but reflect on where this rum came from, and the value it represents. I’m sipping an aged rum from Barbados, shipped to France, re-casked and further aged, then shipped to California and sold for $16/750ml at BevMo. I’m sipping a sixteen dollar rum! NEAT!
If you don’t have a bottle of Plantation 5-Year Barbados Grande Reserve, you should definitely buy one. And while it can stand the test of a neat sip, it goes beautifully with an ice cube, a splash of coconut water, or any mixed drink. At these prices, you can afford to use it as your “well” gold rum as I do.
On to the scores:
- Appearance 1/1
- Aroma 1.75/2
- Mouth feel 1/1
- Taste 2.75/4
- Aftertaste 2/2
- Total 8.5/10
What do think of Plantation 5-Year? Have you found a better rum under $20? Tell us about it below!