Rum has become an increasingly well-respected spirit, despite (or perhaps because of?) the expansion of the spiced and flavored rum categories. Recently, the U.S. was treated to distribution of Plantation Original Dark Rum.
The rum, produced and initially aged on the Caribbean island of Trinidad, is part of the Plantation portfolio of double-aged rums from French Cognac producer House of Ferrand and its sane-scientist/craftsman Alexandre Gabriel. The rums are initially aged in their country of origin in heavily charred American, then finished in toasted Cognac French oak cask in France. The combination of rapid aging in the Caribbean and slower aging in cooler Cognac, along with a technique called elevage (moving the barrel to more and less humid levels in the cellars to control character) gives the rum a distinctive rich, earthy, even funky tone. The deeper nature of the rum makes it ideal for Island-themed and Tiki-style cocktails, but it also sips beautifully on its own.
While versions of Plantation's Original Dark Rum (including an overproof expression) have existed for a couple of years, this is the first time there's been a big push to bring it into the U.S. Fans of the restaurant mini-chain Legal Sea Foods will find it on the menu in a cocktail called the Spiced Pineapple Daiquiri (see recipe below) through April 2014.
On the nose it is all oak, earth and mushroom notes, with just the faintest hints of spice, vanilla and tropical fruit. On the mouth it is round, full-bodied and smooth, with a solid but not overpowering alcohol kick. Medium tannins tickle the tip of the tongue and the lips, while fruit and funky/savory notes gently do battle at the mid-palate with a healthy weight. There is almost none of the sweetness which can sometimes drive rum into instant-headache territory (though it gets sweeter as it opens up). The long, long finish is mint and basil, vegetal and sensual. This fantastic rum is ideal for sipping neat, with a bit of water or on ice, or in bold cocktails paired against coconut, pineapple, Fernet or fortified wines. At around $18 it is way more rum quality than you'd expect for the price.
Plantation Original Dark Rum from Thailand has an ABV of 40%, and retails for about $18.
A Stormy Night
- 2 oz Plantation Original Dark Rum
- 3 oz Fever Tree Ginger Beer
Fill a Collins or Highball Glass with fresh ice. Add rum and ginger beer and stir lightly. Garnish with a lime wedge and squeeze the juice into the drink if desired.
Spiced Pineapple Daiquiri
- 1 oz Plantation 3 Star White Rum
- 1 oz Plantation Original Dark Rum
- 1 oz Spiced Pineapple Syrup*
- .5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
- Fresh Grated Nutmeg
In a cocktail shaker, add rums, lime juice and syrup. Add ice, shake very well and strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with fresh grated nutmeg.
*For the Syrup, combine 1 cup pineapple juice, 1 cup brown sugar, bitter orange peel, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat (do not boil), stirring until sugar dissolves, about 15 minutes. cool and store refrigerated up to six weeks. For a lighter syrup, add 1 cup water.
Thirsty for more? Check out National Spirits Examiner or NY Drinks Examiner.
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FTC Disclaimer: The author sometimes receives product samples for review, which carry no cash value and cannot be re-sold, and sometimes attends press events such as lunches or cocktail parties, designed to promote a given product. The author is not paid by any alcohol manufacturer, retailer or distributor, or provided compensation apart from revenue from an assigning publishing company for editorial publication. Opinions are the author's own. By the way, you should be 21 or older to read this page. Author received a small sample of Plantation Original Dark Rum (which he's already burned through), and spent the better part of an afternoon sipping through various Plantation Rums with founder Alexandre Gabriel. But the author is fairly certain he's still coming at this with an unbiased palate.