Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry

Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry Rum Review by the fat rum piratePlantation Xaymaca Special Dry. Unless you have only very recently gotten into rum or have been living in a cave, Plantation Rums should really need little or no introduction. Headed by Alexandre Gabriel Plantation Rum is a part of Maison Ferrand. They are based in France and a lot of their “double ageing” or secondary maturation takes place in cellars in the Cognac region of France.

Xaymaca (zay-muck-uh), is probably not a term you have heard a lot. It is the old Arawak term for the island of Jamaica. The Arawaks were the first human inhabitants of the island. As well as buying West Indies Rum Distillery on Barbados last year Maison Ferrand have also bought a stake in National Rums of Jamaica. As a result Plantation have more access to Jamaican rum than ever before.

Using this to their advantage Plantation have created a 100% Pot Still Blended Jamaican rum. Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry comprises rums from the Long Pond and Clarendon (Monymusk) distilleries.

In the UK a bottle of Xaymaca Special Dry should set you back around £35 for a 70cl bottle. The ABV on this one is 43%. It is denoted as “Special Dry” as it has none of the usual Plantation “dosage”. Dry is a term used to describe champagne which has no added sugar. From what I understand the name is a bit of a “fuck you” to Plantation’s critics. They know it will piss some people off.

Presentation wise Plantation have returned to their stubby bottle with the twine covering. Aside from decorative purposes this twine does have a purpose. In warmer climates it prevents the bottle from slipping from the bartenders hand when pouring or moving the bottle. Presentation of all Plantations rum is pretty top notch and this is no different.

Further information on the actual rum including 0 g/L for dosage is also on the back label. The rums in the blend were fermented between 1 and 3 weeks prior to distillation. Esters are noted as being 156 g/hL AA Which is not considered particularly high by Jamaican standards. Those familiar with Independent bottlings may recognise the use of rum “marques” on bottles. Codes which make little sense at times. These codes are used to identify the different types of rum that each still/distillery produces.

In this case the rear label kindly advises us that Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry is a blend of the following Clarendon EMB and LMC marques and Long Pond VRW and STC^E marques. I’m not really sure why Plantation have included this information on the label and not then clarified what the marques actually mean. It seems a little pointless to do that to be honest. Anyway the marques are as follows

EMB – Is from Clarendon and was distilled on a Vendome Pot Still. The rum used in the is blend is 2-3 years old with less than a year of that spent in the Caribbean. Maturation took place mainly in France in ex-cognac casks.

MLC – Again from Clarendon this is also produced on a Vendome Pot Still but this was fermented for 2 weeks and is much higher in esters than the EMB marque. EMB was fermened for just the one week, it’s esther count is noted as between 125-175 g/hL AA. MLC is noted as being between 500 and 600 g/hL AA. The age of the rum is the samPlantation Xaymaca Special Dry Rum Review by the fat rum piratee as EMB with a similar maturation.

VRW – Is the first marque from Long Pond. It has been aged for less than one year in the tropics before being transferred to France for a year or two in ex-cognac casks. Fermented for 1 week with esters at 150-250 g/hL AA. John Dore Pot Still distilled.

And finally we have

STC^E – Also from Long Pond this is the highest ester rum of the whole blend coming in at around 550-650 g/hL AA. Again it is from a John Dore Pot Still. This is the oldest rum in the blend having been distilled in 2009. It spent 8 years ageing in the Tropics before spending one year in ex-cognac casks.

There is actually a 5th marque in the rum as well. This may or may not remain as part of the blend. Blended rums are tricky to judge and that is why so many do not have exact age statements. The 5th marque is a 2000 Long Pond rum aged for 17 years “mostly” in the Tropics. The marque is ITP.

There is a very detailed breakdown and review of Plantation Xaymaca available at Cocktail Wonk.

It is worth noting at this stage that Xaymaca is not a Limited release. As with Stiggins’ Fancy and O.F.T.D., this will become a permanent part of the Plantation line up. Once again like the two rums before them Plantation have ramped up the hype machine ahead of this release. For the previous two releases the hype has been justified. So it will be interesting to see how this rum shapes up.

In the glass I am presented with a golden to dark brown rum with a reddish hue. It looks very vibrant and inviting.

The nose is quite sweet and oaky. The double ageing in the cognac casks is very noticeable. It is interesting to try one of Plantation’s Cognac finished rum minus the dosage. Further nosing reveals more familiar Jamaican notes. Pineapples juice and black bananas. Some nice weight of spicy oak and a touch of lemon zest.

The Long Pond elements of the rum make themselves known by giving the rum a sharp very fruity but almost varnish like notes. This is what I was expecting or hoping for. Yet despite all the talk of “hogo” (on the label and in other reviews) this rum it isn’t really THAT funky. For those not familiar with the term “hogo” its not one I use. The word “hogo” derives from the French term “haut gout,”. Which means both slightly tainted game meat as well as a strong yet desirable flavor. I wouldn’t say the nose on this rum is all that strong to be fair.  It certainly isn’t in the Smith & Cross “funk” bracket nor is it as full on as numerous Independent bottlings of Long Pond and HamPlantation Xaymaca Special Dry rum review by the fat rum piratepden Estate rums.

As a rum though, it has a nice balance. I quite like the cognac influence. It’s a very pleasant nose. Just not hugely Jamaican. I would have mistaken it for a rum blend with Jamaican rum in it rather than entirely 100% Pot Still Jamaican rum. In fact I am struggling to reconcile Xaymaca Special Dry with any 100% Pot Still rum I have had before.

Sipped Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry is quite spicy – I’m getting quite a lot of heat – white pepper, ginger and all spice. Once again I’m left wondering where all the Jamaican Pot Still rum has gone. As I found with the sip it’s not hugely obviously Jamaican Pot Still – this transfers across to the sip. It’s good a really nice spicy delivery with some nice fruity notes and some sweeter notes of toffee. It’s really easy to sip at 43% ABV.

However, beyond the initial spiciness and the sweeter fruity notes the mid palate doesn’t really develop into a full on funky Jamaican rum. I can only assume it is the Cognac Casks which have softened the rums up and made them a little more easy-going. Which whilst making this rum balance nicely and sip easily – I feel it also makes it a little to soft.

The only other feasible reasons why a rum comprising Long Pond and Clarendon Pot Still rums would be as light as this is if some lighter column distilled rum is in the mix. I think a lot of people who buy this will be expecting something more akin to Smith & Cross or Appleton Signature. After all Plantation have made a point of it being 100% Pot Still and full of “hogo”.

Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry doesn’t really carry itself as a big bruising Jamaican rum. It’s too soft, too polite. The mid palate on this rum fades a little too quickly and the finish is all just a bit woody. The finish doesn’t last all that longer either.

As a mixer it works quite well but it isn’t as funky as Appleton Signature. I wouldn’t sub Plantation Xaymaca for it. You do get some of the Long Pond notes I so enjoy in a rum and cola – pineapple juice and nail varnish but they are kind of muted and again just to damn polite.

It’s kind of like Jamaican rum for beginners. Which may well be something people find comfort in. I’ve seen it referred to as a possible gateway Jamaican rum recently. Plantation may claim that this is what it is intended to be. If that is the case then I do not really understand making a play on the “hogo” and 100% Pot Still characteristics of this rum. Anyone seeking that will be disappointed. The 43% ABV will not encourage rum enthusiasts to seek this out rather than cask strength bottlings of Monymusk (Clarendon), Long Pond and the current favourite amongst Jamaican Dunderheads Hampden.

This rum reminds me of the Plantation Barbados 5 Year Old. It’s nice enough but its not quite there as an authentic Bajan rum. I always blamed the dosage for that but this has achieved a similar “not quite there” type of profile. It’s appeal probably will appeal to lovers of that rum but I remain unconvinced that is what Plantation were aiming for originally with this rum. I feel they have ended up with a rum which is trying to hard to please too many people. If anyone is thinking this may have benefited from “dosage” then I would definitely say no. That would have totally killed it like it does other Plantation Jamaican vintages. The one style of rum that doesn’t need or benefit from dosage has got to be Jamaican.

It’s a decent wePlantation Xaymaca Special Dry rum review by the fat rum piratell balanced rum but it goes to far away from its Jamaican roots to make it feel like a Multi Island Pot/Column Blend rather than the 100% Pot Still “hogo”, ester and dunder heavy Jamaican rum it is trying to convince us it is. If Smith & Cross gets a 8 out of 10 in terms of funkiness then Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry is a 2.

If you want a reasonably priced introduction to Jamaican Rum and Appleton Signature Blend is a bit “rough” for your tastes then I recommend trying Rum Bar Gold. It’s a better rum than Xaymaca and has enough sweetness not to scare of people new to Jamaican rum.

It’s nice but not what I was hoping for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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