Plantation Multi-Island Sweet Smoke Rum 

Plantation Multi-Island-Hew-w:Box-RG2-USE

Product of:  Blend of rums distilled and first aged on St. Lucia, Guyana and Jamaica, with second and third maturations in France.
Aged:
  Various, 8-12 years
Price:
 $55, or included with your resort accommodations, 
Alcohol: 47% ABV 
Sugar: 16-20g/L (estimate)
Context:
 Premium Aged Rum
RG Rating: 10

Tasting Notes
Pulling the cork stopper on Plantation’s Multi-Island Single Cask Sweet Smoke rum immediately rewards with a lithe bouquet of caramel, sweet vanilla and a touch of acetic cognac.  Once inside a tasting glass, the rum shows a beautiful patina’ed copper color with a multitude of heavenly long legs slowly forming after swirling gently.  And then heavier aromas begin to fill the air surrounding your drinking space, with stronger scents of old wood, classic pot still molasses-derived high-ester rum, and lighter, brighter vegetal notes of sugarcane rum.  Overripe mango, prune and banana peel, leather, spice notes of clove, nutmeg, and mild star anise add an ethereal character. Then the smoked wood influence arrives, accompanied by a pronounced cognac nose, contributing depth and a solid foundation to this highly-charged 47% ABV.  The extreme complexity of this exquisitely aromatic rum is nearly overwhelming.

Plantation Single Cask Foil-RG3

I hardly dare to taste, half-afraid I’ll sip to quickly and miss some of the  assuredly more subtle flavors.  No worries; the rum delivers a magnum of flavors, full bodied and integrated, balanced, sweet, savory, mildly tannic, then introduces a mild white pepper to alert the taster’s palate.  The finish?  It almost never does.  You’ll take your next sip long before the hypnotic flavor of the last one disappears from your tongue. 

Anecdotes
The rum tasted for this review was bottled for Brian and Jennifer Hew of 
Kamalame Cay Resort on Andros, Bahamas. Plantation Multi-Island blend is also available at a few select USA outlets, such as Hi-Time Wine Cellars and Chicago's famous Three Dots and a Dash tiki lounge.   The blend starts with rums from three different Caribbean distilleries – two from islands and one from the South American continent.  They include some of the World’s most distinguished rum distilling countries: St. Lucia, Jamaica and Guyana.  

The date 1995 of the label refers to the Hew’s year of birth. 

Provenance
The
Rum Gallery interviewed a friendly Cognac-Ferrand representative who possesses a thorough knowledge of the brand’s various rums.  The following reparté ensued, shedding light on the origins, development and maturation of Plantation’s Multi-Island Sweet Smoke rum:

RG. Why the reference to Sweet Smoke in the upper left hand corner of the label? 
A. This is the equivalent of our third finish, after the blend has spent over a year in Cognac barrels.  Sweet smoke is a special wood management technique that allows a certain taste profile: It is a combination of a specific toasting of the wood to get the smoky character with a specific wood profile to get sweet notes from the wood:
• The sweet notes: this is imparted by the use of specially selected staves for their potential in sweeter vanilla notes. The selection is done at the tree level, each tree is tested for its potential in sweet vanilla notes.
• For complexity and character, this is conjugated with smoky notes imparted by a certain toasting of French barrels. This is a toasting that takes about 25 minutes whereby intense heat is applied at first with a progressive slowing down of the heat.

Plantation Multi-Island-Hew @ Fort-RG3-USE

RG. St. Lucia pedigree - obviously from St. Lucia Distillers’ Ltd - what is the age or vintage of this rum? 
A. Vintage 2004, 10 years aged in Bourbon casks in St Lucia, 18 months in Cognac casks in France. Produced 100% from John Dore and Vendome pot stills.

RG. Jamaica pedigree - which distillery and what is the age or vintage of this rum? 
A. Vintage 2001.  We bought this lot from a brokerage house, so no precision on distiller. 10 years ageing in Bourbon casks in Jamaica, 2 years in Cognac casks in France. 100% Pot still distillate.

RG. Guyana pedigree - obviously from Demerara Distillers Ltd. - what age or vintage? 
A. Vintage 2005, 6 years ageing in Bourbon Casks in Guyana, 2 years in Cognac casks in France. 100% pot still distillation.  Interesting fact; the base is not molasses but 100% sugar cane juice.

The whole blend of the three rums has rested another 8 months in Cognac casks before sweet smoke cask finish of 2 months.

Opinion
Plantation’s Multi Island Sweet Smoke rum is one of the most aromatically complex and flavorful rums ever tasted at The Rum Gallery.  

Plantation pushes multi-island rum blending and multi-barrel aging techniques to new levels of sophistication.  No less than three rums live in exciting harmony inside every bottle.  Each rum comes from a different Caribbean country and distillery.  Those islands have their own distinct style, but you could categorize them loosely within the context of “heavy rums” or “English style rums.”  

Kamalame Cay Resort

Simply getting the blend proportions right, enabling the aromas and flavors to stand out but contribute synergistically to the overall package, is a feat few master blenders would undertake.  Add more layers of complexity to the equation; marrying in used Cognac barrels, a bit of sugar to balance the cognac and wood tannins, and you’ve got one of the most compleat blended rums ever produced.  Plantation’s Multi Island Sweet Smoke rum is delicious and complex.  Thank you to Cognac Ferrand for producing this incredible rum, and kudos to Kamalame Cay Resort for possessing the foresight to serve it to their guests.  

Reviewed:  February 2015, bottle No. 246/300 from Cask No. 2/3 during the Festival Rum Bahamas at Fort Charlotte, Nassau, and again in March at the Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017