Plantation Guadeloupe 1998

Plantation Guadeloupe 1998 (416x1024)

Product of:  Distilled on Guadeloupe, Finished in France
Aged:  12 Years on Guadeloupe plus one year in France
Price: $60
Alcohol:
 42% ABV 
Context: Rhum Agricole Vieux
RG Rating: 9

Objective Notes
Extremely Smooth.  Plantation Guadelopue 1998 vintage rum shows a golden brown walnut hue (and is that a greenish tinge I see or just my imagination)?  A vast profusion of long legs quickly lines your tasting glass indicating heavy distillation, with the presence of aromatic fusel oils and tasty sugars.  This is an atypical rhum vieux agricole in many respects.  The initial bouquet indicates a highly complex rhum, then come aromas of charred leather, concentrated dunder-like esters, slight caramel and brown sugar, a hint of vanilla, toasted walnuts, mild tropical fruit, of course there is the cognac influence, and finally, fresh tobacco and anise seed – aromas normally associated with
agricole rhums from Martinique and Guadeloupe.  Such rhums are produced in short column stills, very similar to the traditional Armagnac columns, using no more than 7 or 8 rectifying plates, which helps explain why Plantation’s 1998 Guadeoupe vintage rum  is bursting with aromatics.  

The Initial taste reflects the complex aromas,  especially enhancing the charred wood, brown sugar, and anise flavors.  It’s more subtle tasting than many aged agricoles, and further influenced by Plantation’s signature sweetening and cognac aging.  A medium-heavy body delivers flavors by the truckload in perfect preamble to the densely sweet finish.  Anise flavors and smokey leather texture continues for several minutes after you sip.

Anecdotes
Distilled from fresh sugarcane juice on Guadeloupe in the French West Indies and aged there for a 11 years before being shipped at cask strength to France for one year of secondary aging in used Cognac barrels, this is a deux France rum.  Or is it rhum, as in agricole?  Well, yes it is.  Except that it isn’t labeled as such.  According to a Plantation repersentative, "the distiller on Guadeloupe produced a bit more than is allowed by regulations, and labeling it as Rhum would put the distiller over their quota."  Cognac Ferrand rescued the little French West Indian orphan, nurtured it to maturity in the motherland, then released it to us labeled as Rum.

Plantation Guadeloupe 1998 rum is about to become as rare as a teeth on a French hen.  Plantation uses black labels only to denote a “single cask release.”  Little was produced only 600 bottles were allocated to the US market.  Each bottle is personalized with its cask and bottle number.  Buy it now. When it’s gone, it’s gone, and there’s nothing else quite like it.   

Plantation Guadeloupe & Cask

Historical Sidebar
I’ve been told that Plantation rum got it’s start as a debt payment.  Apparently, a Bajan distiller, unable to pay his bills in currency, shipped rum instead.  Cognac Ferrand put the rum in used cognac barrels (where else?) for storage. Tasting it sometime later must have been an “It’s alive!” moment that begat Plantation's unique technique for aging andf blending rums of exceptional quality.

Opinion
In my first exposure to Plantation’s 19998 vintage Guadeloupe rum at the 2012 Miami Rum Renaissance Festival, I realized instantly it was something unique.   A little pricey perhaps, but then vintage agricoles usually are.  Considering the paucity of supply and it’s unique French/French style, I believe it’s instantly collectable, and eminently enjoyable.  This is a beautiful rhum, deserving of critical sipping.  Very little was produced, so consider yourslef fortunate if you happen to find a bottle.

Reviewed: May 2012 at he Rum Gallery, USA

© Dave Russell 2017