ABV Hydrometer Test: 69% ABV @ 20°
What happens when you get a bunch of rum geeks or rum legends, depending on your view, into a room together? Simple…they drink rum and discuss how to create more rum. The result is an overproof rum blended from various distillates…..A high ester Jamaican rum, a young Guyanese with a little from Barbados (all are unknown distilleries though) and it is called O.F.T.D, which has two meanings… On the bottle it is called “Old Fashioned Traditional Dark” and the colloquial name is “Oh F*** That’s Delicious” – the alleged proclamation of all involved when they tasted the end product/blend for the first time. As for which one is more applicable, that is a different story. Suffice to say that at 69%, whatever you do with this rum, it packs a real punch to any drink and is guaranteed to lift cocktails to a higher level.
I tasted this in October 2016 at UK RumFest and was impressed. I tried it again in February 2017 at Nottingham Rum Festival, which is where I purchased my bottle. As is often the case, the rum has been available in the US for some time, and us poor Brits have had to wait a while for it to hit our shores. Having had this bottle for a couple of weeks, I have had chance to try it on its own and in various cocktails. I have been waiting for the right opportunity to put this review online and now seems appropriate as the O.F.T.D is imminently due for its official UK/European release/launch.
So, who are the rum geeks/legends who created this?
Alexandre “Captain” Gabriel: Master blender at Cognac Ferrand and Plantation.
Scotty Schuder: Proprietor of Dirty Dicks in Paris.
Paul McFadyen: Proprietor of Trailer Happiness in London.
Paul “The Beard” McGee: – Proprietor of Lost Lake in Chicago.
Martin Cate: Proprietor of Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco.
Jeff “The Bum” Berry: From Latitude 29 in New Orleans.
Dave Wondrich: Cocktail Historian
Given the high ABV of this rum, it is obviously not aimed at being drunk on its own. Even with a little water, it is still not going to be the correct use. But, where this rum is squarely focused is the cocktail sector where the high proof gives some power and presence to any concoction. Therefore, although I will review the rum as usual, I will not assign marks as I do not think it is appropriate, although I will mention a couple of cocktails I have tested with it – a new one for me as I do not make a lot of cocktails usually.
Under Richard Seale’s/Luca Gargano’s proposed rum categorisation, this is not specifically categorisable as the distilleries involved are unknown. That said, although I am a supporter of rum re-classification, I do think the system needs some additions or tweaks to become a little more inclusive of certain rums, such as O.F.T.D. This is the first Plantation Rum I have tested that comes out completely clean additive-wise. When tested with my hydrometer, it read 69%, the same as the label. Well done Plantation!
Plantation’s labels are always distinctive and this is no different. The O.F.T.D and 69% Overproof are boldly emblazoned on the front label, with a red background, possibly highlighting danger due to its high strength. The rear contains the obligatory story that has to appear on every rum bottle nowadays, with details of the rum geeks and their story. There are also some useful tasting notes, too.
The rum is a very deep mahogany with hints of orange hues. Swirling the glass reveals moderate legs that take an eternity to drop down the side of the glass.
Inevitably, inhale this and initially, it will take your breath away – no surprise there, it is 69% ABV. Hold your nose away from the glass and you can pick up quite a fruity profile (orange and banana, notably) and a bit of a pot still plummy aromas, too. There is also some Demerara sugar and a light oaky background. Leave this in the glass for a few minutes and the aromas are slightly softer and inhaling does not take your breath away. The high-ester Jamaican pot still rum is very noticeable.
The first tasting explodes in your mouth. This is not just the high ABV but the rich warming flavours. There is an abundance of fruity notes, with some spice lurking in the background. All of this is quite surprisingly not as fiery as you might expect as there is quite a sweet profile, too with the Demerara sugar being prominent. I was expecting something too strong to drink on its own, but to my surprise I have got something with a bit of oomph behind it, but even at 69%, is still very enjoyable. The lighter and younger Guyanese rums are most noticeable at this stage.
As this reaches the mid-palate, it is the spice and raisin flavours that start to dominate. This is where the Jamaican pot still part of the blend has come out to play. There is nutmeg, cinnamon and a hint of black pepper, too. As you swallow, despite the ABV, it does not burn, but there is an oaky presence, balanced by a creamy caramel finish – the only point at which the Bajan rum’s influence is apparent. Overall, it is slightly dominated by the high-ester funkiness but this is a good thing as it gives the rum a lot of depth and character, the likes of which shines through when blended in cocktails.
For an overproof rum, the afterburn is amazing. Not rough, not fiery, but full of raisins and fruits having a party as you swallow. This fruitness lingers long after swallowing along with a hint of pepper.
Morning After Aroma
The Jamaican pot still is dominant although relatively light when compared to something like a pure Hampden rum. Interestingly, I also left a little in the bottom of the glass (by mistake) for 48 hours and it evaporated into a sticky residue.
Despite this being aimed at being a rum for mixing, drinking it on its own is an amazing experience. Not one for the faint hearted, but very enjoyable.
Of course, this is not designed to be drunk neat though. Mix it and it will lift your cocktails to a higher level. The 69% ABV gives it plenty of power and presence, the flavour enhances anything you care to mix it with. It could be that we have the new ‘go-to’ overproof mixing rum. Something as simple as a rum and coke is a whole new experience with this.
If you do want to try this outside of a cocktail, try mixing it with another rum to reduce the ABV. Equal parts of O.F.T.D and a regular 40% ABV rum would bring the blend to 54.5%, which is the historic strength of British Navy Rum. Mix O.F.T.D with a 46% rum and you have so-called Gunpowder Proof rum at 57.5%. The possibilities are almost endless, such is the flexibility of having something so strong. At the £35 I paid for a bottle, it also represents great value, too.
Here are the official cocktails recommended by The Rum Geeks:
1 Planters Punch (Jeff Berry)
Plantation O.F.T.D, fresh lime, sugar, angostura bitters, soda and grated nutmeg.
2 Captain’s Grog (Martin Cate)
Plantation O.F.T.D, Plantation 2002, Pierre Ferrand Curaçao, lime, grapefruit, maple, vanilla and almond.
3 Test Pilot (Scotty Schuder)
Plantation O.F.T.D, Plantation Jamaica 2002, Pierre Ferrand Curaçao, lime, falernum, Pernod and Angostura Bitters.
4 Demerara Dry Float (Paul McGee)
Plantation O.F.T.D, Maraschino liqueur, lime, passionfruit and O.F.T.D float.
5 Palmetto Redux (Paul McFadyen)
Plantation O.F.T.D, Plantation Stiggins Fancy Pineapple, Cocchi de Torino and orange bitters.
6 Queens Park Sizzle (Dave Wondrich)
Plantation O.F.T.D, lime, sugar, Angostura bitters and fragrant mint.
I especially enjoyed number four as the passionfruit is very well complemented by the strength and character of the rum. A Zombie is pretty good with O.F.T.D and as a twist, using the Plantation Pineapple rum adds to it.
I generally enjoy rum in a more straight forward way. Therefore, for a very simple serve, I have also enjoyed it with a wedge of lime, topped with up Fever Tree Naturally Light tonic water. A splash of Plantation Pineapple rum works well, too.
This is a really fine creation…..I think Oh F*** That’s Delicious is a very appropriate name.
Well done Plantation!
P Denotes the rum contains POT still distillate.
C Denotes the rum contains traditional/Coffey COLUMN still distillate.
B Denotes the rum contains a BLEND of POT and COLUMN still distillate.
M Denotes the rum contains MULTI-COLUMN still distillate or is a MODERN rum.
A Denotes the rum is an AGRICOLE i.e. from Cane Juice.
S Denotes the rum is presented in a SWEETENED style.
Bottle/Presentation Out of 3
Glass/Aroma Out of 10
Taste, Initial-middle Out of 40
Taste, Middle/Throat Out of 40
Afterburn Out of 7