Plantation Overproof Rum, a Trini Treat with a French Twist
So, you say you like your rums strong and uncommon, eh? How about a scorching 146-proof (73% alcohol-by-volume) powder-keg produced in Trinidad & Tobago by a French company renowned for its cognacs?
Oh yeah, this one will have you humming Edith Piaf songs to a Calypso beat after one sip!
Plantation Overproof Rum is a product of Cognac Ferrand, a celebrated French spirits company with a deep appreciation for history and tradition.
In 2009, they dusted off an 18th-century recipe for gin to create Citadelle. More recently (last month), they unveiled Pierre Ferrand Cognac 1840 Original Formula, which, according to its attendant publicity, was developed to “To recapture the spirit of the quintessential cocktail days in the 1800s.”
More to the point:
The final blend is closely modeled on an impossibly rare and impossibly well-preserved bottle of Pinet-Castillon Cognac from the year 1840, a generation and more before the phylloxera louse devastated the vineyards of Cognac.
Get the idea? Ferrand respects the old school. Quality, craftsmanship, pride; they’re in every bottle of everything these guys make.
Their line up of Plantation Rums, of course, is no exception. The collection includes artisanal rums from Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, and Trinidad. Each blend is hand-selected by Alexandre Gabriel. Who’s he? Oh, just the guy who owns Cognac Ferrand. Think he knows a thing or two about fine spirits?
In every case, Ferrand is careful to ensure that each of its Plantation rums is produced in accordance with the tradition of their native countries. The idea is to allow the unique flavors and characteristics born of the individual traditions to shine through… and later, add a touch of the uncommon.
You see, while each of the Plantation rums is distilled and aged in their home countries, Ferrand takes an extra step at the end, bringing them to France where they are “finished” in small oak barrels formerly used to age cognac for up to a year.
This unique finishing method was used extensively in the 18th and 19th centuries but virtually disappeared as more efficient, modern techniques were developed. Ferrand says the added step gives their rums an added elegance and refinement.
I got to try many of the Plantation Rums at the 2011 Miami Rum Renaissance Festival. Despite the shared brand label, they were all unique as advertised. They were also all yummy, but this overproof beauty really stood out to me.
As I understand it, Plantation Overproof is comprised of Trini rums aged between six months and two years. I’ve also read it’s the only Plantation Rum that does not undergo the unique Ferrand finishing process in France.
Still, it’s plenty special and unique. At first smell/sip, you get the tell-tale burn of a really strong rum. At the same time, I found it to be surprisingly smooth for 146-proof. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a sipper, but it’s definitely not as overly-high octane as other overproof’s I’ve sampled over the years.
Next time I get my hands on a bottle, I’ll be looking to use it to add an extra kick to a Zombie or Vexed Valencia.
How about you? Have you tried Plantation Overproof? If so, leave a comment below and let us know what you think…