25 Jul 2011
In the premium tobacco industry, new blends often commemorate one anniversary or another. Such traditions transcend industry boundaries. Plantation 20th Anniversary Rum, for example, celebrates Alexandre Gabriel’s two decades of leadership over Cognac Ferrand.
The French company is primarily a producer of cognac. For years, it sold its prized cognac casks to rum producers in the Caribbean who would use the containers to age their spirits. “During these exchanges, Gabriel had the opportunity to discover some very old batches of rum with extraordinary richness and a diversity of aroma and flavor,” reads the Cognac Ferrand website. “Available in tiny quantities, the rums were intended either for the personal consumption of the distillery’s cellar master or used to give style to industrial rum blends. Quite naturally, Cognac Ferrand decided to bottle these special rums as a series of vintages.”
Each vintage is named for its locale of origin: Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Trinidad, and St. Lucia. Over and above these, Plantation 20th Anniversary is the flagship rum from Cognac Ferrand. It is made from the company’s oldest Caribbean reserves in Barbados, aged in bourbon casks in the tropics, then matured in oak in France for an additional 12 to 18 months. “This double aging process brings an incomparable smoothness and fullness to this rum,” reads the spirit’s ornate box.
Ever since I discovered it a few weeks ago, Plantation 20th Anniversary has become one of my favorite rums. Its superior quality is evident on the nose, which is creamy and rich with a butterscotch-like character. On the palate the spirit is very complex. Notes as varied as coconut, vanilla, orange peel, cinnamon, banana, and warm tobacco are evident, and they linger for quite some time in a warm finish.
The price tag of $40 for a 750 ml. bottle is no small expenditure, but I’m more than convinced that Plantation 20th Anniversary is worth the cost. What a finely balanced, multifaceted rum this is. For maximum enjoyment, pair it with a mild-bodied cigar that will play off of—rather than drown out—the spirit’s exquisite subtlety.
photo credit: Stogie Guys