Plantation Guatemala Gran Anejo Rum

Plantations Guatemala Gran Anejo M&S Rum Review

I bought this rum out of curiosity.  On this site I have reviewed another Guatemalan rum which is produced for UK food retailer Marks and Spencer.  The notes on the Marks and Spencer led me to believe that the rum was possibly supplied by Cognac Ferrand who own the Plantation brand of rums.

For those unfamiliar with the Plantation brand the basics are as follows.  Cognac Ferrand procure (possibly in exchange for the wine and sherry casks used in the ageing of spirits) aged rum from a variety of distillers around the world.  They do not publicise who the distillers are (a little research can often narrow the possibilities down).  The rum is then  usually “double aged” or finished in other casks to give the rum a distinctive profile.  So basically they get good rum and give it a bit of a twist.  That’s the theory anyway.

On the rear of the Gran Anejo this theory is explained as thus

“Plantation Gran Anejo is distilled and aged in Guatemala. It is then refined further in our cellars in the Charente region of France according to our double ageing techniques”

So back to my curiosity and the similarities with the Marks and Spencer rum. I will return to the notes on the M rum.  So here goes

“Distilled and aged in exotic Guatemala from the finest sugar cane.  It is further enhanced by a second solera ageing at the Chateau de Bonbonnet, France in sherry and brandy barrels”

Further information on the Marks and Spencer label reveals the rum is from Ratalhuleu, Guatemala.  A little looking around on the internet reveals that there is only one distillery in Guatemala.  So this rum must be procured by Plantation from Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala, home of Ron Zacapa and Botran. So my theory thus far is that Plantation obtain their Guatemalan rum from Industrias Licoreras and they are then licensed by Marks and Spencer to produce a Guatemalan rum for them.  With the evidence thus far it sounds pretty feasible and highly likely.  I’m in no doubt that Plantation are supplying Marks and Spencer their Guatemalan rum.

However, what I don’t know is whether the Marks and Spencer rum is in anyway comparable to the Plantation Gran Anejo.  The Marks and Spencer rum is £25 per bottle.  The Plantation Gran Anejo is available online for around £25-30.  So in terms of quality the rum should be fairly similar.  The first piece of information which leads me to believe the rum is not the same is revealed in the ABV.  Marks and Spencers is 40% Plantation Gran Anejo 42%.  Not much different but it could mean a very different rum.  One thing is certain is that it is not the SAME rum.  So the question now must turn to which is the better rum?  I guess a review of the Plantation Gran Anejo will determine that!  Will leave out any further references to the Marks and Spencer rum until the end of the review.

Plantation Guatemala Gran Anejo is presented in a beautiful old style bottle with a nice string effect netting which gives the bottle some charm.  The usual Plantation emblem etc is used, which I like.  I am a fan of consistent presentation across brands.  The rum has a nice plastic topped real cork stopper which is not always the case for a £25-30 rum so that is also a bonus.  All in all presentation wise the Plantation is spot on and definitely a rum which would draw you into buying.

The rum is a lovely golden amber colour with a reddish tinge to it.  When poured and swirled in the glass it clings a little to the sides.  The rum smells very sweet. My immediate thoughts are nectar and honey. The rum has a very distinctive smell.  I’m not a huge brandy or cognac drinker but I would imagine that the rum’s smell has a lot to do with the time spent ageing in the sherry and brandy casks.  It’s a very unique smell and one which I am struggling to describe to be honest.  I haven’t really smelt anything like it before.  I would love to say it has notes of this and that but I just can’t!

Onto sipping, now few rum’s at £25-3o I find I can sip (Angostura 1919 or Bacardi 8 maybe a couple of others at a push) this rum is pretty shippable.  It’s a little rough and ready but the alcohol burn it leaves in the mouth is more of a tingle and its so sweet its quite nice.  Despite the overall sweet profile when you first sip the rum it is a little bitter on the tongue.  I wouldn’t put this up with Zacapa, La Hechicera, Diplomatico etc in terms of sweet sipping rum.  It is  a notch down from that.  It isn’t massively complex.

Nevertheless I’m still very impressed with this rum.  Usually when I add a little cola to the rum it brings out the sweet aspects of the rum. With little bitterness or oakiness in this rums profile I’m a little concerned that this might make the rum a little too sweet.  To be honest it is just a little bit too sweet for my tastes.  Don’t get me wrong it’s very enjoyable but with a profile which is mostly just sweetness, you may find it a little sickly after a few drinks.  It works best in a short mixed drink with just a little cola perhaps a 50/50 mix.  It’s kind of a dessert rum almost a liqueur.  It’s a rum that people who don’t like rum may enjoy.  This isn’t a Pussers or a Woods 100 Navy rum.  I doubt Uncle Albert would like this!

This is a good rum at a good price which I would personally have in my rum cabinet as a change.  There will be days when you will really take a fancy for this rum.

So back to the comparison with the M&S rum.  So far I think I’ve established that both this rum and the M&S rum are procured from the same distiller and they are both “double aged”.  They are roughly the same price.  However the ABV was different.  So the rums must be different? Yes

Well, taste wise (which is the real test) I honestly could not tell these two rums apart, despite the slight difference in the ABV.  I’ve tasted them alongside each other and I would challenge anyone to tell the difference.

3 stars




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One comment on “Plantation Guatemala Gran Anejo Rum

  1. […] 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 […]

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