Plantation Extrême No. 2: Fiji Islands 16yo Rum
Pure Single Rum – 100% Pot Still
ABV Hydrometer Test: 61% ABV @ 20°
To anyone in the rum world, Plantation needs no introduction. Their philosophy is to take some rum, ship it to France and give it a secondary ageing alongside a Champagne-style “dosage” of sugar to “finish” it off. I am not going to go into a rant about the rights and wrongs of that here – all rum drinkers have their opinions on additives in rums. For me the most important thing about that issue is for it to be openly disclosed and that means clearly stating it on the label. Furthermore, one needs to decide if it can still be called rum or not but that is a different subject.
Occasionally, Plantation release some really amazing rums without any “dosage.” The highlight of these expressions are the “Extrême” range.
According to Plantation’s web site:
“Sometimes we find a rum barrel in our cellar that is simply perfect in its natural state. Striving not for balance or harmony, it stands alone for its uniqueness of taste which can only be described as “extreme”. This cask is then set aside and bottled for its sheer exquisite essence, resulting in a very limited edition of what we call Plantation Extrême.”
Being a lover of cask strength unadulterated rums, I was excited to find and buy the second pair of Extrême bottles and today, I am reviewing the first of them – a 16yo bottle from “Fiji Islands” (presumably South Pacific Distillery) offered at en eye-watering, stonkingly tasty 61.1%. This rum was distilled on March 26th 2001, aged for 13 1/2 years in ex-Bourbon casks in Fiji and then an extra 2 1/2 years in an ex-Cognac cask in France, replicating Plantation’s dual-ageing technique, familiar to all Plantation rum drinkers. It was bottled on September 8th 2017. The label states that I have bottle number 435 out of just 500 produced.
Under Richard Seale’s/Luca Gargano’s proposed rum categorisation, this would most-likely be classed as a “Pure Single Rum” – 100% Pot Still distillate.
When tested with my hydrometer, it measured between 61 and 61.5% so therefore has no detectable added sugars, which is reassuring.
Presented in a chic looking outerbox, the bottle contained within looks very “premium.”
It has an oversized stopper embossed with Maison Ferrand on the top and features an artificial cork enclosure.
The bottle has Plantation’s familiar raffia netting around it and the label has lots of useful information (see above) about the distillation and the special nature of this bottling.
This looks impressive!
The rum presents itself as a medium amber colour with an orange hue to it.
The initial aroma is intense and is dominated by familiar pot still bitter plums. There is burnt molasses, pink peppercorn, banana and something almost metallic. Additional nosings reveal fruity raisins, ripe figs, tropical fruits and a mélange of nuts.
Taste, Initial-middle 35/40
Despite the high ABV, the entry is surprisingly approachable.
It is soft and creamy and full of spicy pepper. There is a touch of vanilla lurking in there too, alongside smokey oak.
Taste, Middle/Throat 37/40
The first tasting comes across too strongly but give this some time in the glass to breathe and it softens, becoming far more approachable.
The pepper builds as you sip this. In fact, it goes from freshly ground black pepper through to spicy capsicum, offering up an intense tasting and tingling of the rear palate.
It is grassy and herbaceous at times, almost tasting like single malt whisk(e)y.
There are smoky vanilla notes towards the rear palate alongside something nutty, possibly hazelnut or coconut and a build up of smokey oak.
This rum has an intense and long finish. Long after swallowing I can feel the rum warming my throat whilst the pepper and capsicum continue to delight. The smokey oak is very noticeable, too.
Proof that “dosage” is not needed in rum. If the original distillate and resulting aged-distillate are good enough, they taste amazing without the need for adulteration.
This rum is fantastic quality and the high ABV is superb. That said, a touch of water makes this rum more approachable and enjoyable, as does leaving it to breathe in the glass. At £130 a bottle, this is not cheap, but then again, I would expect good quality spirits to cost a lot of money. That said, reduce the ABV a little with some water and the rum will go further, making it better value.
Take a bow Plantation…this is great stuff, but take note for other editions: Stop the “dosage” please…..It is not needed!
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