M&S – Bajan Estate Rum XO

M&S Bajan RumI had seen this rum on sale in M&S and came close to buying a bottle for £19. In the end I was persuaded that I didn’t need it by my wife (who had bought me it for Christmas). The rum usually retails at £22 for a 70cl bottle. As Marks and Spencer have recently begun stocking “brand name” goods I was slightly surprised to see the additions to their rum range were own brand offerings. Supermarket rum is not something which excites me, its cheaper than entry level branded rum and this is usually reflected in both taste and appearance. However, M&S is no ordinary supermarket and indeed this may well be no ordinary rum. Apologies to anyone with Albatross now running through their head…………

In the past I’ve uncovered that a Sainsburys Vintage Cider was very possibly a well known Hertfordshire cider, albeit at half the price and a bottle twice the size. Lacking all the rums of Barbados to taste test I began my investigation with the label. The XO has no age statement. The biggest give away is that the rum is finished in brandy/cognac casks. This points to the fact that the rum is likely to come from a plantation with links to Cognac Ferrand. Unfortunately, this doesn’t really cut the field down as they use a number of distilleries for their Plantation range of rums. On the M&S website (see link) the “rummaster” seems to think that the rum is aged between 8-10 years and from the Foursquare distillery. I’m not convinced the rum is that old to be honest. R Seale’s 10 year old is £30 plus so to me the maths just doesn’t work.

I’ve actually spoken with Plantation since I originally wrote this review and they have confirmed that the M&S Guatemalan is the same as their Guatemalan Gran Anejo (albeit it a reduced ABV).  As far as this rum is concerned the only information I could get was that it was “closely related” to the Plantation Barbados 5 Year Old.  I haven’t had a bottle of the Plantation 5 Year old for a long time so I cannot at present do a comparison.

As the picture shows the rum is presented in a medium sized bottle which is quite stylish. The gaudy yellow label spoils the overall look IMO (see the M&S Guatemalan review for a better designed, more tasteful label). The closure is a screw top but its not a bog standard metallic screw top and it looks pretty cool.

The rum itself is a rich golden colour with a sweet but not overpowering smell, unlike for example a Jamaican style rum.  M&S Bajan rum retails at £22 a bottle and is good value at that price. It is a thoroughly enjoyable mixing rum. It’s great with cola and would compliment a rum punch and most cocktails.   You can tell it is aged in a tropical climate, the rum tastes sweet and fruity without much oakiness or spicyness. As a sipping rum I think you need to be looking in another price bracket for something more complex. It’s smooth but I wouldn’t class it as a sipper. If I had around £20-25 to spend on a bottle of rum and I was looking for a Bajan style rum then I would opt for this or Doorly’s. I’ve tried the Plantation Barbados 5 year old and I found it too vanilla-ey for my tastes, overly sweet, almost a spiced rum. If you are new to Bajan style then get yourself to Tesco and try the Cockspur 5 star, if you enjoy that then you might wish to try a more expensive variant. For those who are familiar with Bajan rum’s then I can recommend the Cockspur 12 or R Seale’s 10 Year Old or Rum Sixty Six as a more expensive indulgence at around £30-35 per bottle.

3 stars

 

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