Plantation Barbados Rum Aged 5 Years

Plantation Barbados Rum Aged 5 Years. This has been a staple and very well known rum for all the time I have Plantation Barbados Rum Aged 5 Years Rum Review by the fat rum piratehad an interest in rum. It’s been a good few years and a couple of bottle re-designs since I last bought a bottle.

Late last year I “cracked” and bought another bottle. I was due to go away with a couple of my mates who aren’t really rum drinkers. I figured I would see how the theory that this is a good entry level rum might pan out…..

It also had a pretty good discount. Over the past 18 months Plantation have been able to get a couple of their rums widely distributed in Asda supermarket. The Xaymaca has been available almost since release alongside this and their Original Dark.

Since 2018 Plantation have taken ownership of West Indies Rum Distillery (WIRD). Prior to this there was a source of great disagreement over who “supplied” their Barbados rum. It is largely recognised that it was likely to be rum from the Foursquare Distillery. Sold by a third party ie E A Scheer. How and where this rum was aged was also up for disagreement. In theory Plantations should now be producing the rum in this 5 Year Old blend themselves at WIRD.

To try and ensure the information in the review is as accurate as possible I asked the question online and received a reply from Paul McFadyen who works for Plantation. It was confirmed that the rums used in this blend are from WIRD and are produced using 100% Barbadian molasses. The rums are aged between 3-4  years in Barbados in ex-bourbon casks before being transported to Cognac for a further maturation of between 2-3 years in Ferrand French Oak casks. The Plantation website notes that a “dosage” level of 16g/L.. Which pretty much tallies with my findings of 15g/L

Plantation Barbados Rum Aged 5 Years is a blend of Pot and Column distilled rums the fermentation period is noted as being 3 to 4 days. It is bottled at 40% ABV. It is widely available online in the UK, Europe and US. Plantation Barbados Rum Aged 5 Years retails at around £30 and has crept up slightly in price since around 2012 where it was available for about £25.

It has been a long time since I tried this rum so it will be interesting to see how I find it this time around. I never bought a second bottle first time around and I remember being only mildly impressed by it.

In the glass Plantation Barbados Rum Aged 5 Years is a classic golden brown colour. A colour very popular in Scotch Whisky, Cognac and Rum. Again the Plantation website discloses that the rum might have a tiny bit of caramel colouring added for consistency.

Nosed the rum is quite woody. It’s a fair bit heavier and meatier than I recall. Quite a fair amount of charred oak mingling alongside some sweet vanilla and toffee.

Time in the glass sees the nose develop more notes of sweet butter pastry and some dark fruits. It isn’t cloyingly sweet like the Plantation Barbados XO nor does it have that saccharin overtone. There is a slight sugary almost icing sugar edge to the rum which just gives away that it has a little sugar added.

Plantation Barbados Rum Aged 5 Years Rum Review by the fat rum pirate

That said it is a very approachable and very welcoming nose.

This is also reflected in the initial sip. Now Plantation are often held up for being “too sweet” but I have only had a few of their expressions where I have really thought that the dosage has gone way too far. At the same time I do accept that the dosage can flatten some of the more funkier, out there elements of some rums. I’m no fan of Plantations forays into Jamaican rum.

The initial entry is sweet with a lot of toffee but there is also a real astringency there. Lots of quite bitter charred oak. I have noticed this “heavier” style of rum with a couple of the recently re-released Cockspur branded rums (also produced by WIRD). This is why I was keen to learn if the rums in the blend were made there now. It all makes more sense.

The mid palate is very smooth (dosage at work) and a little one dimensional. It’s sweet and light but I’m not getting a great deal going on. It does feel a little homogenised into that signature Plantation “style”. In fairness it is called one of their Signature Blends.

The finish is a reasonable length It’s a little on the bitter side and you do get a kind of artificial sweetener note. There is a fair amount of vanilla and toffee and a nice balance of the charred oak overall but it isn’t hugely complex.

It’s a little forgettable but overall I wouldn’t say this is a bad rum. It just doesn’t have the complexity of other rums from the island. Some of which are only a few pounds more expensive now than this. I’m thinking the likes of Doorly’s XO or Mount Gay XO (which may be due a price hike with the new blend).

Plantation Barbados Rum Aged 5 Years Rum Review by the fat rum pirateMixed Plantation Barbados Rum Aged 5 Years works quite well with most mixers and in plenty cocktails. It’s light and approachable and is probably of far more use to a mixologist than for me. I used it mainly as a sipper or mixed with cola.

A rum and cola with Plantation Barbados Rum Aged 5 Years is perfectly serviceable. Maybe just a little on the “safe” side.

This is a fairly safe, crowd pleasing kind of rum. I personally think more of the rums natural character would shine through without the dosage. I have no doubt that it is rubbing off some “rough edges” but at the same time is probably losing a bit character. Something that I prefer in rum. I don’t mind a rough edge.

There are just so many more better Barbados rums available at the moment. I think it might be a very long time before I buy a third bottle of this. Despite its enduring popularity.

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2 comments on “Plantation Barbados Rum Aged 5 Years

  1. I have just opened what I assume is an older bottling of this, it’s a Plantation Grande Reserve Barbados, no 5 year statement on the bottle. I am guessing it’s old as the cork disintegrated on opening.

    I found it ridiculously sweet. On a par with the likes of Diplomatico etc. It will be used for Daiquiris only.

    Thankfully I am slowly weeding out the ‘Sugar Bombs’ just a Zacapa XO to go which I am dreading opening.

  2. Interestingly this was one of the line-up of tastes that AG gave the audiencw during the WIRD seminar at Miami Rum Congress. I say interestingly because of its placement (4 of 5?). While I agree somewhat with you from a recent tasting on its own, as not being overly sweet, this tasting changed my mind.

    By far the most interesting and pleasing… very pleasing… taste was of a “40th anniversary” of Cockspur that Don Benn had put together to celebrate long time employees of WIRD. THAT is one that should be bottled! I wasn’t taking notes, but my memory has the Plantation 5 year as the next aged rum in the sequence. After that fine Barbados Cockspur, the Plantation was cloyingly sweet and flat. It seemed to me to be a big mistake by AG to have the WIRD product far outshine his Plantation… and I do mean FAR outshine.

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