Plantation Panama 2000 (Old Reserve)
Review: Plantation Panama 2000 (Old Reserve) Rum 90/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on November 17, 2011
Cognac Ferrand has long had a special relationship with a variety of Caribbean rum producers. This relationship is based upon the rum producer’s need for quality oak casks to age rum. Cognac casks, in particular, are highly sought after as ideal oak vessels for maturing quality rums. Based upon this relationship, they began to acquire certain old and unique batches of rum from various Caribbean sources, which were brought back to France to be finished in their own Cognac Casks. These rums have been bottled in a series of special Vintages under the umbrella of Cognac Ferrand’s own label, Plantation Rum.
The Plantation Panama 2000 (Old Reserve) Rum is column distilled rum which has been aged for nine years in selected bourbon casks. The aged rum was transported from Nicaragua to France, and then it was additionally aged for a short time in used Cognac casks to enhance or ‘finish’ the rum before it was bottled. I was given eight sample bottles, each 200 ml in size, which represent a good portion of the Plantation Rum line-up. The Plantation Panama is the fifth 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 Plantation Rums; 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 left. The Plantation Panama Rum has a small map of Panama 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 9/10
The Plantation Panama 2000 Rum shows a nice golden amber colour in the glass, and if you hold it up and examine it some orange flashes are apparent. 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 thick syrupy appearance.
The aroma from the glass immediately reminds me of butterscotch candy (actually Rum & Butter Lifesavers). An undercurrent of tobacco is also apparent as are light oak spices and vanilla. As I let the glass breathe, the aroma evolves into a sweet butterscotch-toffee which has a light herbal quality of sweet-grass and pungent spice. The tobacco scents have grown deeper and more complex, and I even sense perhaps a little ocean brine in the breezes along with some hints of almond and canned fruit (apricots and peaches).
Like the previously reviewed Plantation Nicaragua, I sense that something ‘funky’ is going on in the air above the glass as I am receiving an impression of more complexity than I would expect from a column distilled rum. (Note the Plantation Panama 2000 is bottled at 42 % abv.)
In the Mouth 54/60
The initial flavour of the rum is full of butterscotch and oak spice. I cannot seem to escape the sensation of a very mild undefinable herbal quality which sets a very light, yet a very firm imprint into the flavour. I taste traces of cinnamon and ginger, hints basil and thyme, a little dollop of citrus zest, and even a touch of marzipan. Yet my feeling is that these descriptors do not really do the overall flavour justice.
Sipping a little more I notice oak spices which impart a little peppery zest, and I also sense a nice tobacco-like quality in the flavour stream. I taste some orange peel as well as strong accents of canned fruit (peaches and apricots), a little grilled pineapple, and some lightly fermented purple grapes which all weave in and out of the flavour profile.
As lively and complex as the flavours of this rum are, I still find the overall spirit very balanced and approachable. Everything seems to fit and no discordant notes are observed.
In the Throat 13.5/15
The finish is sweet and peppery with a trailing taste of those Rum and Butter Lifesavers left upon the palate and in the throat. My mouth has been left heated and puckered by the oak spice, and I find myself pouring another glass as this rum is just too good to sip only once.
The Afterburn 9/10
I think what I like best about the Plantation Panama 2000 Rum is that vague herbal quality which I noted earlier. I mentioned that I tasted traces of cinnamon and ginger, hints basil and thyme, a little dollop of citrus zest, and a touch of marzipan…. yet I admitted the overall flavour doesn’t really resemble any of those descriptors. Despite my inability to nail down exactly what I am tasting, I am quite enthralled by the overall flavour, and I find myself wishing I had a larger portion than the 200 ml sample bottle I was given.
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)