Plantation Guatemala XO – Ice Wine Finish (Gerry’s 4th Edition)

Plantation Guatemala XO Gerry's Rum Revie by the fat rum piratePlantation Rum, as well as offering their more usual fair have now introduced a Single Cask Collection.  I was quite surprised to see a Guatemala XO as part of this collection.  This is because recently Plantation stopped producing a sole Guatemalan Anejo and had begun producing a mixed Guatemala/Belize blend.

I had took this to mean that perhaps stocks were low or Cognac Ferrand were struggling to get their hands on any more of the rum.  From looking at this rum, I’m starting to think they may have kept stocks back to produce this limited edition rum.

You may have seen similar bottles to this one on Social Media etc.  Whilst this is a limited run of only 450 bottles from a Single Cask, (it notes Cask 2 of 25 on the bottle) this is not the only run of Guatemala XO Ice Wine Cask Finish available.  What it is though is the only run of this rum which was made available in the UK via Gerry’s of Soho.  (For those who are not familiar Gerry’s is a famous Wine Merchants based in London).  I assume out there in the world are 25 casks of this release.  So far I have located ones in Denmark and Germany.  The reason this is noted as Gerry’s 4th edition is that this is the 4th time Gerry’s have stocked a limited Plantation release.  Not the fourth time they have stocked this particular rum.  I hope that all makes sense!

Now I have been criticised in the past due to my general indifference towards some of Plantation’s rums.  My lack of enthusiasm for Plantation has led some to suggest that I am marking the rums down because they have added sugar.  That simply hasn’t been the case.  I marked them down because I found the rums to be very average (poor in the case of the Original Dark) or felt that the added sugar had actually worked against the rum rather than with it – giving it a very uneven profile.  I have given decent scores however to a couple of Plantation’s rums and their Guatemala Anejo was one such rum.

Due to the popularity and availability of Plantation rums I tend to wait for offers before buying them though I will buy a bottle if I think it is no longer in circulation or in this case not likely to last long.Plantation Guatemala XO rum review by the fat rum pirate

Despite being a Limited Edition I was surprised to see how little this bottle cost. It was £39.99 which is no more expensive than most of Plantation’s range of aged rums.  I felt that was a more than reasonable price to pay.  It is bottled at a very exacting 41.2% ABV.  The presentation is classic Plantation and the black and gold labelling gives it a nice touch.  It looks really impressive.

Before I go any further, I am NOT going to mention “added sugar” again in this review.  If you wish to see how much sugar has been added to this rum then it is featured in the Hydrometer Tests page.  Please if you haven’t looked at this page before please take the time out and read my explanation for performing the tests.  It is not a Witch hunt.

So I’m sure some of you are asking “What exactly is Ice Wine?” well here goes (taken from Wikipedia)

“Ice wine (or icewine; German Eiswein) is a type of dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. The sugars and other dissolved solids do not freeze, but the water does, allowing a more concentrated grape must to be pressed from the frozen grapes, resulting in a smaller amount of more concentrated, very sweet wine.  With ice wines, the freezing happens before the fermentation, not afterwards. Unlike the grapes from which other dessert wines are made”

As you can probably guess, I am expecting a very sweet profile to this rum and to be honest something quite different from any rum I have tried before.

Plantation Guatemala XO Gerry's Rum Review by the fat rum pirateThis rum forms part of Plantation’s Single Cask Collection – as a result the back label gives no details on the heritage of this particular rum.  Just information on their Single Cask ventures.  It seems this particular expression has been sold to various Independent stores around Europe and labelled to highlight the name of each store.  I have tried to obtain more information on the base rum but I have been, so far unsuccessful.  If you have any information please feel free to share.

In the bottle and the glass the XO reminds me very much of the Anejo.  It has a very vivid coppery/brown colour almost red in some light.  It is very striking.

The nose is the first real surprise.  I was expecting a real intense sweetness.  Instead I am getting oak and vanilla.  There is also quite strong mix of Cognac/wine and a grassy vegetal note.  Very much like Barbancourt or heading towards an aged Agricole rhum.  It is still quite a sweet smelling nose but it isn’t at all cloying and it still retains enough of the more traditional aged rum character.  Complex and interesting.

Sipped the rum again shows up almost as two different rums in one glass! The aged oak notes and the light vanilla combine with the almost grassy/vegetal notes.  All whilst a very thick wine like sweetness cuts across the top of each sip.  The thing I like best about this Plantation rum, is probably the thing a lot of Plantation fans might not be too keen on.  It burns, just a little but enough to give someone like me some satisfaction.  It has a slighty heated spicy exit and if you leave it long enough in the mouth it will also start to give you a little heat.

That’s not to say this rum is rough or has a particularly hot finish – it doesn’t.  Those used to a drier style of rum will not find this sensation at all off putting – in fact you will probably find it very welcoming.

Plantation XO Guatemala rum review by the fat rum pirateI found the Guatemala Anejo to be a very nice mixer.  It was a so-so sipper, as it was a bit one dimensional and too sweet really for my taste buds.  Mixing this rum you can also fix yourself up a very nice rum and cola.  However, I don’t think you will really want to do that as this offers a very nice and almost two sided sipping experience.

Without doubt the best Plantation rum I have tried so far and the one so far for me that justifies that they are indeed doing something different.  Previously I have found that “different” has meant wrong.  Not in this instance this is a very enjoyable and complex sipping rum.

Different but good with it, very good in fact.

4 stars

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