Review: Plantation Single Cask Barbados 7 Years

Most of the people in the bar world know or at least heard about Plantation rums, one of their most famous bottlings (that every cocktail bar should have if you ask me) being the Plantation Pineapple Stiggins’ Fancy. Some would argue that their O.F.T.D. should be a must on the backbar too, but not many can tame it. Plantation is owned by Alexandre Gabriel’s Maisson Ferrand, which is mainly a cognac producer, and bottle rums from different countries. Their signature process is a “two-stage ageing process” first in the tropics followed by finishing them using their ex-Ferrand casks in Chateau de Bonbonnet, France.

Besides their regular releases, they also have vintages (reviewed the Fiji here a while ago) and, what they call, special editions: Plantation Extreme and Plantation Single Casks. My bottle is part of the Single Casks range which are further matured in other wine, beer or spirit casks after the ex-Cognac cask ageing.

The labels from the newer releases from Plantation are very informative as is the website. I will save you the click though: Plantation Single Cask Barbados 7 Years spent 5 years in Barbados in ex-Bourbon cask, 1 year in France in ex-Cognac cask and 1 year in 30L ex-Mackmyra Reserve cask, not sure where. Mackmyra is a brand of Swedish whisky, quite similar in style with scotch if you ask me… good nonetheless. Fermented for 3-4 days from molasses and distilled at the West Indies Rum Distillery (which Alexandre Gabriel recently aquired), Barbados, in pot and twin column stills. Bottled at 40.2% ABV and with… wait for it… 20g/L of dosage added. The said dosage is something allowed in cognac production and, long story short, it’s a toasted sugar syrup fortified, with rum in this case, and aged in oak. So the downside is that this is adulterated, but on the bright side I didn’t have to look up hydrometer tests for this, it’s literally written on the rear label. Let’s see how it behaves!

On the nose the malt flavours jump out with orchard fruits, mainly ripe red apples and peaches. There’s a slight peat to it followed by plenty of honey/golden syrup. There are some earthy notes and spicy ginger as well. It smells quite boozy for such a low ABV. I’m having problems getting to the rum though, it took a back seat in favour of the malty notes.

On the palate the rum comes upfront with cocoa, vanilla, citrus and some spicy, almost custardy oak, but it’s then overwhelmed by sweet malt whisky notes. Apple pie with a hint of cinnamon, pear puree and a bit of peat. Quite spicy and peppery mid palate. Citrus is there too although more like a marmalade. It’s almost like a fruity speyside whisky old fashioned. The finish is again all about the whisky cask finish, malt peat, black pepper, and some sticky honey – sticky because the sweetness lingers for a while.

I “smuggled” this Plantation Single Cask Barbados 7 Years from Barbados at half the UK price and after tasting it I have to say this is not as interesting as it sounds. And while I don’t hate it, I wish I would’ve gotten more of he rum itself. Maybe the dosage covered its complexity, maybe the Mackmyra cask influence was too much or maybe it’s both. I tend to think it was both although I wonder how this would’ve tasted like without the extra sweetness. I don’t like the idea of adulteration in rums but I don’t dismiss them just based on that – the El Dorado range is a guilty pleasure for me. I also don’t have anything against Plantation either, I love some of their stuff. Plantation Fiji is a good example of good rum from them with no dosage. I also tried one of their Extreme bottles and it was delicious.

My colleagues at the bar loved this, but in my opinion this could’ve been a lot better and it feels like a waste of 3-4 days fermentation when I can barely taste the rum.

Plantation Single Cask Barbados 7 Years score:
Flavour/taste: 37/70
Value for money: 10/15
Transparency/purity: 10/15
Overall: 57/100

Cheers!

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