Plantation Nicaragua (1998)
Review: Plantation Nicaragua Rum 83/100
a Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on August 18, 2011
The Plantation Nicaragua Rum is a column distilled rum which has been aged in used bourbon casks. The rum was transported from Nicaragua to France, and then it was aged for a short time in used Cognac casks to enhance the rum before it was bottled as part of Cognac Ferrand’s growing line-up of Plantation Rum. Cognac Ferrand has long had a special relationship with a variety of Caribbean rum producers which is based upon the rum producer’s need for quality oak casks to age their rum. Based upon this relationship, Cognac Ferrand is able to acquire certain old and unique batches of rum from various Caribbean sources, which they bring back to France and finish in their own warehouses and of course their own Cognac Casks.
I was given eight sample bottles, each 200 ml in size, which represent a good portion of the Plantation Rum line-up. The Plantation Nicaragua is the fourth 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 Cognac Ferrand, Plantation Rums; all of 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 right. The Plantation Nicaragua Rum has a small map of Nicaragua 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 8.5/10
The Plantation Nicaragua displays a nice golden amber colour in the glass, and if you hold it up and examine it some darker inky highlights are apparent. The immediate nose is filled with a sweet honeyed caramel. An undercurrent of orange peel is apparent as are light oak spices and vanilla.
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 syrupy appearance.
As I let the glass decant, the honeyed molasses evolves into a more butterscotch-like aroma, and I also begin to sense which seems to be some wisps of leather and green tobacco in the aroma. A growing awareness of fruit has come over me as a light sweet grapiness is also apparent. Although the Plantation Rum website clearly indicates that his is a column distilled spirit I an struck by how the nose is bringing forward scents and aromas which I associate more with pot still rums. There is definitely something ‘funky’ in the air.
In the Mouth 50/60
The rum enters my mouth with a sweet honey and butterscotch flavour that contains a layer of zesty orange peel underneath. The taste of vanilla is very obvious as well. (This was even more obvious when I added a little cola to the rum which popped the vanilla into another gear.) As I let the glass (without cola) sit, I am treated to some nice ancillary flavours of green tobacco and copper which do a light dance in the sweet toffee of the rum, and this makes the rum nice to sip. That feeling of ‘funk’ which I felt on the nose I think can be traced to these flavours of tobacco and copper which seem to give the rum more dimension than I was expecting from a column rum.
However, I do feel that the sweetness I am tasting is perhaps a little more forceful than I would like, and I found that I must sip the rum in small doses or that sweetness would build in my mouth and devour the other flavours I was enjoying.
Vanilla and honey have the last word in a honey sweet exit which becomes cloying quite quickly. I do enjoy some oaky spices and some reedy tobacco which mingle together in the long sweet and spicy finish; but I get the sense that if I had tasted this rum blind I might have mistaken it for a rum liqueur.
The Plantation Nicaragua is a nice rum which tends to walk on the sweet side of the palate. Some will really like this sweetness as it makes the rum very sippable; but for others it will become cloying and diminish their experience. My palate tends more towards the sweet than the bitter; but I found the sweetness of this rum to be a bit of a challenge to taste on consecutive evenings. The rum has great flavour, but perhaps it is a little too honey sweet.
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)