Plantation O.F.T.D is another trip into history from the French producers. Following on from the Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple rum, O.F.T.D. which stands for Old Fashioned Traditional Dark is another attempt at recapturing the rum glories of old.
The rum seems to be a replcacement for the brands older Original Dark Overproof rum. This means that both the Overproof and standard proof Original Dark rum have been given an overhaul. Both rums were originally made up of rum from Trinidad. I personally didn’t care much for either and went as far as suggesting the standard Original Dark was no better than supermarket rum such as Tesco’s Dark Rum – which is also a Trinidad “blend”. As a result neither rum scored particularly highly.
Like the Stiggins’ Fancy Plantation again built anticipation and expectations regarding this rum. Once again it was unveiled at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans and following release in the US made its way to the UK via an exclusive deal with Gerry’s of Soho earlier this year.
The rum is now on general release in the UK. It will cost you around £38-42 depending on where you shop. It is an Overproof rum and is bottled at a slightly lower strength than the previous effort – 69% rather than 73%. Trust me when you get into drinking rums as such proof you will not notice the ABV difference.
Plantation have also once again collaborated with the spirits industry to produce this rum. During the production of this rum Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, Martin Cate, two Paul’s McFadyen and McGee, Scotty Schuder and rum historian Dave Wondrich helped on advising on the final blend.
Which is a blend of rums from Guyana, Jamaica and Barbados. Arguably the three most recognisable rum styles in the Caribbean. The rum they have produced seeks to hark back to the Age of Sail. This is the rum pirates or privateers would have drunk. Rich, flavourful and most importantly strong. Overproof so if spilt it would not prevent the firing of the cannons! I would suggest that this rum is slightly more refined than the kill-devil the sailors would have endured.
Its noted that at 69% ABV the rum is “a full 20 degrees overproof”.
As is expected of Plantation rums this is presented beautifully. It has been given a more distinctive appearance than the standard island bottlings from the normal Plantation range. Unlike most Plantation rums there is no added sugar.
It is interesting that Plantation have dropped the Trinidad rum entirely from the blend. Personally this is a good thing as I don’t really rate the modern Trini rums at all.
Plantation have went to great lengths marketing this rum and creating a back story. Unlike many brands the story does have credibility. I feel that what they have tried to achieve with this rum offers something interesting and innovative. I’m also quite surprised at the price point. I was expecting the rum to be around £60. Again I will give Plantation there due and state that their rums are usually very fairly priced.
So we best move onto the tasting part of the review and see if this rum really is worth all the hype.
When first poured the rum smells unsurprisingly heavily of alcohol. There are definite fumes when you pour. However, it is advised to allow the rich mahogany coloured rum to settle in the glass a few minutes before nosing.
The nose is surprisingly sweet. I would suggest the Demerara element of the blend is providing much of that. High ABV youthful Demerara can be very sweet smelling, even without any added sugar. It’s a sweet yet almost bitter, molasses heavy nose. Fruity notes such as Damson Jam and some Banana coming in from the Jamaican element.
Alongside the sweetness you get a good dose of Jamaican funk. Slightly rough and ready adding a good layer of complexity. Coffee and cocoa are also present. It reminds me in many ways of both Myers’s and Wood’s 100.
It’s a very intense, almost sickly sweet nose. It suggests that the rum will be very rich and full of flavour.
Up next is the tasting. The rum when sipped at 69% ABV Is simply too “hot” to appreciate. It genuinely burns the tongue and makes the entire experience simply too much to gain any appreciation of the rum. If you have a hydrometer you may wish to use it to bring the rum down using water to a more acceptable ABV.
I knocked mine down to 50%. Sipping at this strength is a much more pleasant experience. When you sip the rum I think it will become clear to most that the rum isn’t intended as a sipper. It’s not awful that way but it is overall quite bitter tasting and whilst very warming the finish is pretty short and sharp. Sipped you get some oak which wasn’t present on the nose. Overall its not wonderful, its passable as a sipper.
So what has all the fuss been about? Well firstly I don’t think the intention of this rum was ever as a sipper. I’ve no idea how old the blend in this rum is but I’d be very surprised if overall the blend is over 5 years old.
Which could perhaps be construed as a criticism. It isn’t. I have argued on numerous occassions about rums being viewed as sipping rums and mixing rums. Many feel that a “mixing” rum is an inferior product. It’s not I genuinely believe that some younger rums such as Myers’s, Woods 100 and Appleton’s Signature Blend (V/X) simply work much better as mixers than they do sippers. I do not think this makes them bad in anyway and it is not a slight against them.
Plantation O.F.T.D will be used predominantly in the Tiki Culture and it will top things such as Zombies and be used in Mai Tai’s etc. It is a big rich rum which is meant to be drank in small quantities. Adding a little muscle to tropical drinks. I am confident that this will take some beating in such combinations.
I really like the O.F.T.D. in rum and cola’s. It is similar in many ways to Pusser’s. It’s quite sweet but at the same time has quite a lot of “oommph” to it. Which I think is what you want in a rum and cola – especially on a cold night.
As a blend I am not sure what the Bajan rum adds to the mix. Aside from some balance. It maybe acts as a calming influence on the other two rums. I’m not a master blender so maybe I should just accept it is needed? I’m sure it is. I really like the young sweet Demerara notes which shine through even in mixed drinks, I’m also very keen on the Jamaican funk that is present throughout. After a few it can become a little two sweet but that is perhaps a good thing!
At just under £40 it perhaps is quite an expensive mixer. Bear in mind it is 69% ABV. So you are getting over 1 litre of 40% ABV spirit, in a roundabout way. You certainly need to be careful mixing this! Once you start putting this in rum and cola’s you can easily forget how strong it is. It’s very deceptive. It certainly doesn’t taste “overproof”.
When looking for “dark” mixing rums, such as Woods 100, Myers’s, Goslings Black Seal and even the likes of Pusser’s and Water Hicks’ this Plantation effort can certainly sit comfortably along side them all and outshine a good few. It offers something different enough to definitely give it a try. It’s unique.