Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Barbados Rum
Review: Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Barbados Rum 92/100
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published on June 19, 2012
The Plantation 20th Anniversary Rum is a blending of the company’s oldest Bajan Rum reserves. These selected rums were first aged in the Caribbean (in ex-bourbon casks). Then they are transported to France to be blended by Plantation Rum’s Cellar Master at Château de Bonbonnet. The blended rum is matured a second time in small French oak casks for another 12 to 18 months. This “double aging” gives rise to a startling increase in both the body of the rum and its complexity, and is the signature of Cognac Ferrand’s Plantation Rum portfolio.
In the Bottle 5/5
The Plantation XO 20th Anniversary arrives in the suave decanter style bottle shown to the left. The synthetic cork closure is solid, and even after the rum had sat on my shelf for 6 months it showed no signs of drying out or degradation. I also like the protective box which adds not only ambiance and class to the presentation, but also protects my rum from any deleterious effects of light.
In the Glass 9.5/10
The rum has the rich colour of copper pennies in the glass. The initial nose surprised me a little with its strong oaky presence and luscious smells of caramel and toasted coconut. Some nice orange marmalade chimes in as well as hints of marzipan and tobacco. As the glass sits, rich baking spices full of dark brown sugar, vanilla, and dabbles of cinnamon and nutmeg rise into the breezes. Then the oak wells up again and pours out of the glass. I love the aroma, and I could sit for hours just nosing the glass without taking a sip.
In the Mouth 55/60
This Plantation Rum exhibits a fair amount of heat in an entry full of oak spice smothered in a creamy honey-like caramel syrup. Orange peel and marmalade; bits of dark fruit (raisins, dates, and plums); baking spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla); tufts of tobacco; and little dabbles of cocoa (both bitter dark chocolate and sweeter milk chocolate) all swim around in the flavours of that oak-spiced caramel syrup. The oak is almost overdone as the rum teeters upon the precipice of oak spices almost turning to bitter sap; but thankfully (or should I say delightfully), the rum stays upon that precipice and rather than crashing it instead treats the connoisseur to a glorious view of unbridled oak aging and unrestrained complexity. The result is an oak filled marvel which is wonderful to sip.
In the Throat 13.5/15
The exit is full of oak spice and orange peel, but there is just enough caramel sweetness along to soften the landing. Lingering flavours of bittersweet chocolate trail down the throat, and I swear I even taste a little cola left upon the palate. I continue to be impressed at how close to the edge the oak walks without causing the rum to crash.
The Afterburn 9/10
The Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Barbados Rum is an excellent way to cap off on evening. The rum is full of oak spice, and in some ways it reminds me very much of a fine oaky Cognac. But perhaps comparing this rum to a fine cognac is a little unfair to the rum. For unquestionably this is rum, not cognac. Luscious honey-caramel accompanies the oak, and a multitude of wonderful rummy flavour nuances have left their impressions upon my palate throughout this tasting experience.
I think perhaps I will save some of this Plantation XO Rum to share with a few friends of mine who indulge in a touch of Cognac from time to time. If I let them have a swallow of this, then the next time they have a fine oaky cognac they will be able to say,
“This cognac reminds me of a great Plantation Rum….”
The El Padrino
(Spanish for Godfather)
The name El Padrino fits perfectly as this premium aged rum may truly be called a Godfathers of Rums!
2 oz Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Barbados Rum
1 oz Amaretto
1/8 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
Build on ice in small rocks glass
Garnish with a thin slice of lemon.
(Thank you to forrest for his help with the cocktail and the great photo)
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)