Plantation Extra Old 20th Anniversary Barbados Rum

This bottle represents the fourth bottle of Plantation Rum in my collection and was the third one that I picked up. My first bottle was their Guatemala Gran Anejo, my second bottle their Barbados Grande Reserve 5 Year Old and my fourth bottle (a wedding anniversary gift from my wife) was their Gerry’s Exclusive Single Cask Guatemala.

The Plantation Rums are the brainchild of Alexandre Gabriel, President and Owner of Cognac Ferrand. The basic theory is that Plantation Rums are aged in their country of origin for a number of years, generally in young Bourbon Casks. When the desired maturity has been reached, the rums are shipped at their cask strength to Cognac Ferrand’s Chateau de Bonbonnet in France. They are shipped at cask strength to preserve all natural aromas and flavours. Here, the ‘double aging’ process begins whereby the rum is aged for a further time period in small French oak barrels.

Plantation Extra Old

Plantation Extra Old

In the case of the Plantation XO, the rum is from a blend of the company’s oldest Bajan Rum reserves. These were aged in the Caribbean ( for 10 years according to the information that I have been able to find ) before beginning their ‘double aging’ process for 18 to 24 months in France in used cognac casks to impart a flavour not normally present in Bajan Rums. The rum is then diluted down to its 40% bottle strength over a period of months using French water

The instant thing that hits you about the Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Rum is the presentation…..it is stunning. An attractive case gives way to a clear decanter adorned with text detailing the awards that the Plantation Rums have achieved….and there are many. The bottle has a large synthetic stopper with a gold top. One thing to note ( and it may only be an issue with my bottle ) is that the covering of the synthetic stopper is such that unless the inside of the bottle neck is dry, it has a tendency to not seal the bottle adequately, instead lifting itself away from the bottle slightly.

Plantation Extra Old

Plantation Extra Old

Tasting Notes

In the glass: The rum is a dark copper with lighter bronze flashes. It instantly appears to have a sheen which leaves thick droplets on the sides of the glass. I can smell tropical fruit. Bananas, sweet mango and coconut. There is also a definite vanilla note. This is all rounded off by a slight oakiness that tingles your nose.

In the mouth: There is a tingle from the heat of the rum and a hint of oak but these instantly give way as the rich honeyed sweetness coats your tongue. Sweet molasses is present leading into a taste of mango on your tongue helped along by a little vanilla. There is a little peppery spice on the finish which is long and sweet but gradually becoming dry, then leaving the tropical fruit and coconut that I could smell in the glass. This is a massive encouragement to fill the glass again.

This is one of the more fully rounded rums that I have tasted and it offers massive rewards for anyone that makes the investment, as do all of the Plantation Rums that I own. Cognac Ferrand, Alexandre Gabriel in particular, should be praised for their treatment of these rums and you owe it to yourself to seek them out. Go on, you know you want to.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the  express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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El Dorado 15yr Old Demerara Rum

I picked up a bottle of the 12yr old El Dorado quite early on in my collection and it wasn’t until a few months back that I picked up the 15yr old from Gerry’s in Soho as it was their ‘Rum of the Month’. It was inevitable really as I enjoy the 12yr old rum so much. But the 15yr old is a completely different animal. What has taken me by surprise is the warm and open friendliness of the ‘rum community’ that exists both online via Social Media, Blogs, Importers, Distributors and Brand Ambassadors. The ability to approach these people for further info and opinions is invaluable. Love Drinks are the UK-based distributor for El Dorado and Stef Holt is the International Brand Ambassador. Both have been very helpful in both talking to me about the products and pointing me in the right direction for info……and it’s the info that I will start with.

El Dorado Logo

El Dorado rums are produced by Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) at the Plantation Diamond Distillery. This lies on the east bank of the Demerara River, Demerara County, Guyana (which is on the north-eastern shoulder of South America). Sugar and Rum production has existed in Demerara County since the 17th Century. The big breakthrough came in the 1650’s when the British planters introduced the pivotal process of distilling. This proved to be so popular that by 1670, every sugar estate had a small still attached to it which meant that by the 1700’s there were well over 300 independent estates involved in producing their own unique rums in over 300 stills. Through time these estates and distilleries have been amalgamated to the point that the Plantation Diamond Distillery operated by DDL is the last remaining distillery in Guyana. Here they have retained the old marques, traditional skills and original stills which make Demerara Rum distinctive. With 9 different stills, there is no other rum distillery that can offer the range and variety that DDL can spread over 20 different styles of rum.

As the only surviving distillery in the region, DDL operate the last remaining wooden Coffey still in the world as well as the only wooden pot stills, both of which add to the flavour profiles of the El Dorado rums. All El Dorado rums are produced using only local Demerara sugar cane. The rums are then aged in small American oak casks before blending to by the master distiller. The rums are left to marry for at least 3 months ensuring the development of flavour and complexity.

El Dorado 15yr old Demerara Rum is a blend of 2 column stills (one of which is the wooden Coffey still) and 2 unique, wooden pot stills.

El Dorado 15

El Dorado 15

The picture above is taken from the back of my bottle and shows the age statement. The unique thing about the El Dorado rums is that the age reflected in the title of the rum is the minimum age. There will be older rums in the blend. El Dorado 15yr old rum has received numerous awards and titles including ‘Best Rum in the World’ 7 times at the International Wine & Spirit Competition, the Platinum Award at the Caribbean Rum Taste Test and it received 96/100 at the Chicago Beverage Tasting.

El Dorado 15yr Old Rum

El Dorado 15yr Old Rum

Tasting Notes

In the glass: The rum is a deep gold colour with orange flashes. Instantly it looks quite oily and when I swirl the glass it leaves short stumpy reluctant legs which makes me think that this will coat my mouth. I can instantly smell brown sugar, dark fruit (prunes and dates), vanilla, a little spice (maybe from the 15 years in oak) and what can only be described as liquorice! The longer you leave it in your glass before sipping, the more this reveals itself.

In the mouth: The rum instantly coats my mouth and tongue. It is warming but not harsh and there appears to be very little alcohol burn, even at 43%. Instantly the liquorice shows itself along with a dark treacle taste which provides a little bitterness. Dark fruit is present and I can taste the dates and prunes which add a chewy toffee flavour and feel. I can taste a slight orange flavour and then the liquorice returns to round out quite a dry finish. The finish is not too long but does leave your mouth with an almost leathery and tobacco warmth. This instantly leaves you wanting more and when you do, the liquorice returns, this time tasting slightly sweeter.

I drank mine straight with no ice, and that works fine for me. This is an amazing rum and deserves to be in your collection. I wouldn’t say that it is necessarily a better rum than the 12yr old, but it is definitely different to the 12yr old which appears to offer up more fruit flavours, and therefore if you have the means, both will offer plenty of enjoyment in return………I wonder what the 21yr old tastes like…..and the holy grail….the 25yr old…..

Pick up a bottle and let me know what you think.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the  express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.