Review: Plantation Rums – Isle of Fiji, Fiji 2005, and Jamaica 1996 x NY Distilling Rye Cask

Review: Plantation Rums – Isle of Fiji, Fiji 2005, and Jamaica 1996 x NY Distilling Rye Cask

Plantation’s rum lineup continues to explode in size, with at least 10 expressions available on the market. Today we look at the latest rum to join its permanent lineup — Isle of Fiji — plus two limited editions offerings.

Plantation Rum Isle of Fiji – This new addition to Plantation’s full-time lineup is a blend of pot and column stills from Rum Co. of Fiji, double-aged first in Fiji and then France for up to 3 years in ex-bourbon casks and one additional year in Ferrand Cognac casks. A soft and light-handed rum, the Cognac influence is telling here, offering a nose that showcases a nice balance of allspice, raisin, and some Mexican chocolate elements. There’s a moderated sweetness on the nose, while the palate runs more toward sweeter molasses cookies and a chocolate-infused quality that’s full of fruit, a blend of cherries and raisins evident. The finish moves things along to notes of butterscotch, Almond Joy candy, and butter cookies, but it’s all kept quite light and gentle, making for an easy sipper and a delicate, versatile mixer. For better or worse, the light body and Cognac cask influence keeps the focus invariably aimed at fruit through and through, and while it could use a little more funkiness to bolster its backbone, it’s got plenty going considering its price tag — and it makes for a solid bargain. 80 proof. A- / $25 [BUY IT NOW FROM TOTAL WINE] [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]

Plantation Rum Fiji Vintage 2005 Limited Edition – This is the monster version of the above rum, aged 14 years in bourbon barrels and finished for one year in Cognac casks. It’s a real powerhouse, bolder in every way, with an aggressive presence of overripe fruit on the nose, paired with notes of peanut butter and spiced nuts. The palate is warming and deep, with a brown butter note on the body, tiki spices, a touch of hogo, and a mild petrol note. The finish has more in store: black tea, Szechuan pepper, and allspice. There’s tons of character and lots to love from start to finish. Sip it slowly. 100.4 proof. A / $80

Plantation Rum Single Cask Collection – Jamaica 1996 x NY Distilling Co Rye Cask – This is part of a barrel swap with New York Distilling Company, one of 12 single casks released in 2020 (this one arrived in December). This collaboration takes a Jamaican rum distilled in 1996, aged for 21 1/2 years in bourbon barrels, sent to France for 2 years in Cognac barrels, then at last finished for six months in casks that held New York Distilling’s Ragtime Rye. The journey alone is wild. The experience in the glass is even stranger. Very savory on the nose, there’s a smoky, barrel-heavy quality here that exudes a whiskey character, studded with cloves, tobacco, and cedar box notes. There’s a hogo aroma present, but it’s faint, more earthy than animal. The palate shows off some surprises, taking a savory and smoldering base of dusty coal fire and pairing it with notes of nougat, butterscotch, and marzipan. The finish is semi-sweet, chocolatey, and a bit racy with red pepper, reprising interesting counterpoints of fireplace ash and toasted marshmallow. This rum took me quite a while to warm up to, but once I did, it was hard to put down. 98.2 proof. A / $130

Plantation Rum Fiji Vintage 2005 Limited Edition




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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