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Myer’s Planters’ Punch

Review: Myer’s Planters’ Punch (Canadian Bottling)    86/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted February 01, 2014

I was given a bottle of Myer’s Planter’s Punch a few months ago by a good friend who had purchased it as a curiosity and then subsequently decided the style was not to his liking. (Molasses-rich dark rums are not for everyone so we won’t hold this against him.) This particular dark rum is being distributed in Alberta by Diageo. It has been produced since 1879, and is apparently a blend of continuous and pot still Jamaican rums which have been matured in previously used bourbon barrels for a minimum of four years.

Apparently that is not the whole story, as my bottle clearly states (at the bottom of the label) that the particular bottle which I was given has been blended with Canadian rum as well. For those who do not know, it used to be fairly common for rums imported into Canada to be blended with a small amount (about 1.5 %) of Canadian Rum (usually produced at the Hiram Walker Distillery) in order to obtain a more favourable tax rate from the Canadian Government. I have been told that this small amount of Canadian Rum does not change the flavour profile, although the skeptic inside me forces me to mention the Canadian content just in case the Myer’s Planters’ Punch does taste slightly different in other markets. My bottle also states that Myer’s Planters’ Punch is a product of Fred L. Meyers and Sons Co. based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (I believe that this company is part of the Diageo conglomerate of spirits companies.)

Myer's Planter's PunchIn the Bottle 4/5

The bottle and label for this rum have not changed for many years. I like the old-fashioned label which gives the bottle an early 20th century charm. I remain unconvinced that metallic screw caps are suitable closures for alcoholic spirits as I have had too many of these flimsy caps lose their threads, forcing me to find a suitable plastic cap or cork to replace them.

In the Glass 8.5/10

The rum has a reddish tint in the glass resembling the colour of a copper penny with a hint of tarnish. The aroma from the glass hits you pretty quickly after you pour it, and I immediately detect the tell-tale signature aroma of musty pot-still Jamaican funk rising into the breezes from the glass. Alongside that funk is plenty more. Oak spices, licorice stained molasses, dark brown sugars, a spicy triumvirate of nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon (baking spices), as well as lots of vanilla, and dark dry fruit.

This rum has the look and feel of an old-fashioned ‘dark’ rum where perhaps we have more than just oak barrel aging contributing to the look and smell of the rum. The molasses in particular is strong, and I would not be surprised if a small amount of residual molasses was blended into the final product to enhance the flavour.

In the Mouth 52/60

When I take my first sip of the Meyer’s Planter’s Punch, I am struck by two aspects of the rum’s flavour which seem to separate it from other caramel/molasses enhanced rums I have tried in the past. The first and most obvious aspect of the rum is the Jamaican pot still flavour which provides that funk which permeates the rum. The second aspect of the rum which elevates it beyond being merely an enhanced molasses flavour bomb is the pervading presence of oak and wood spices which give the rum a depth of character I was not expecting. As noted earlier, the spirit is full of licorice stained molasses and rich baking spices (vanilla, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon); however, the real character of the rum stems from combined effects of the musty, oily, tar-filled flavours created by the Jamaican Pot Still and the four years of oak aging.

The rum mixes with cola easily and if you want a funky rum and cola bar drink, I suggest mixing at a ratio of 1:1, and adding a few drops of Angostura Bitters serving over ice. Down below, I have also suggested an old-fashioned punch recipe which would be more typical of how this strong dark rum would be served in the Caribbean where it was created.

In the Throat  13/15

The exit features a molasses-like sweetness tainted by cinnamon, licorice and mint. The mouth and throat are heated by both oak and baking spices; yet as these flavour sensations ebb, I feel a lingering coolness which gives me a strong impression of menthol. This is quite nice actually.

The Afterburn  8.5/10

I am quite pleased with the Myer’s Planter’s Punch. Although the rum is obviously enhanced with caramel (and probably molasses), it also has a wonderful Jamaican pot still character. Four years of tropical aging have placed their mark upon the rum as well. The rum is suitable for sipping or for mixing, and I found enjoyment in both tropical punch style recipes, and in the more common rum and cola mixer.

If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.

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Suggested Recipe:

Some time ago I did a bit of research for tropical punch recipes and the earliest recipe construction I could find was in the form of a poem from the New York Times in 1908.  The poem does not give ingredients, rather it gives an overall suggested form or punch construction.

PLANTER’S PUNCH
(from the 1908 New York Times)

This recipe I give to thee,
Dear brother in the heat.
Take two of sour (lime let it be)
To one and a half of sweet,
Of Old Jamaica pour three strong,
And add four parts of weak.
Then mix and drink. I do no wrong —
I know whereof I speak.

From this poem, and in the spirit of poetic license, I designed an old-fashioned Jamaican Rum Punch using the method of construction from the poem in the 1908 New York Times.

JAMAICAN RUM PUNCH

(Take two of sour) 2 cups of  Lime Juice

(To one and a half of sweet) 1 3/8 cup Pineapple Juice (and)
1/8 cup sugar syrup
(Of Old Jamaica pour three strong) 3 cups Myer’s Planters’ Punch
(And add four parts of weak) 2 1/2 cups Ginger ale (and)
3/4 cups Orange Juice (and)
several dashes of bitters (and)
Lots of Ice-Cubes

Garnish the punch bowl with tropical flowers, and a variety fruit slices, pieces and chunks.

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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)

3 Responses to “Myer’s Planters’ Punch”

  1. Jack said

    As always, you have revealed with skill, and opened a trail of understanding towards a rum I hope to taste some day. I enjoy Jamaican rums (not exclusively, I’m a bit infatuated with Bajan and Demerara rums best), and understand “the funk” – never considering it a bad word, more of a word of description rather than opinion. Like you said with molasses, perhaps Jamaican rums are not for everyone. Thanks for your review.

  2. Ian Pirie said

    Have you ever tried Goslings Gold? No longer available in Ontario but the best rum I have ever tried. It would be interesting to read what you have to say about it.

    • Hi Ian

      The only Goslings I have ever tried is the Black Seal, a very interesting black rum with a strange (in a good way) intimadating flavour profile. Hopefully over time I will get to taste the rest of the Goslings line-up.

 
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