Plantation Nicaragua 2001 Old Reserve Rum

Plantation Nicaragua 2001 rum review by the fat rum piratePlantation’s line of rums are multi award winning and feature regularly at events around the world.  They are a very active, if relatively new player (if we trace rum back to 1703 certainly) in the rum world.

Plantation are to all intents and purposes an independent bottler.  However, such is their status and presence within the rum community they have perhaps passed over into the rum mainstream.  It should be remembered they do have the backing and are part of Cognac-Ferrand.

It is likely that many Plantation lovers the are not really concerned with which distillers Plantation obtain their rums from (or have even given it much thought at all).  It is likely this rum is from the “Volcano” Distillery operated by Compania Licorera de Nicaragua.  Producers of the highly acclaimed Flor de Cana rums.

I haven’t been able to determine exactly how long the rum was aged (or likely as its Plantation double aged).  The Plantation Nicaragua 2003 is aged for nine years.  I would guess an estimate of around 8-10 years will be about right.  There is also a bit of debate about whether the rum is pot, pot/column or column distilled.  It is a column distilled rum from the information I have been able to find.  Again if anyone has any corrections let me know but please cite your sources as I am getting a lot of information that cannot be verified when requested.

If you can find a bottle of this rum (it is quite scarce now) it will cost around £35-40.  I was very lucky to get this on sale via Amazon for just over £20. The rum is bottled at 42% ABV and comes in a 70cl bottle.  As always the presentation on the Plantation is a cut above most with a nice straw/fibre mesh on the bottle and a corked enclosure with a blue sealing strip.  The bottle also has some nice detailing on it (the Plantation emblem on the neck for example)

I have little experience of Nicaraguan rums (even less experience of trying to pronounce them thankfully!).  I’ve only tried the Flor de Cana 12 Centenario and as myPlantation Nicaragua 2001 rum review by the fat rum pirate review shows, I was less than enthused.  It was very average.  I was quite surprised and very disappointed with it.  I’m hoping that Plantation’s double ageing techniques will add an extra dimension to this rum.

Much like the Flor de Cana 12 the Plantation Nicaragua has a very inviting nose.  There are strong scents of brown sugar, honey and a little vanilla.  The rear of the bottle suggests oak and some vegetal notes.  There is a little light oak but there is nothing which I would describe as vegetal.  Certainly no agricole like notes which is what the descriptor leads me to expect.  Overall it’s quite a light style of rum.

I have to say before I start my tasting section of the review I’m disappointed by Plantation’s own Tasting notes.  “A variety of flavours”.  To be honest they might as well have not bothered.  This is very unlike Plantation – lazy and unimaginative.  Strange.  The 2003 Reserve is explained on the Plantation site as “The begining is marked by floral notes, then notes of cashew nuts, passion fruits and sweet spices are developed”

Anyway, we don’t need Plantation’s explanations when we have my superb palate do we? Ahem, The Nicaragua Old Reserve is quite a sweet tasting rum.  The 2003 edition is finished in Brandy casks but I’m unsure how this was finished (in truth I haven’t got a lot of information to go from!).  If I compare the Plantation Nicaragua to the Flor de Cana 12 then there is definite evidence of a sweeter profile.  This is without doubt a less dry, more sweet rum.  In many respects it is all the better for that.  Plantation’s dosage (they freely admit adding sugar post distillation) seems justified.

The begining is marked by floral notes, then notes of cashew nuts, passion fruits and sweet spices are developped.The flavour of the Nicaragua Old Reserve is similar to the nose and offers few surprises.  Sweet brown sugar almost honey like notes a little nuttiness and a nice rich oaky vanilla note on the finish.  Upfront the rum is initially very sweet but fades nicely into light vanilla notes and then a very pleasant oaky aftertaste with quite a long finish.

The rum is nicely balanced.  It is still a little dry but the upfront sweetness gives it a little extra that I found lacking in the Flor de Cana 12.  It’s a very easy drinking   if not a very challenging sipper.  It will be slightly too sweet for some but it is clear that Plantation know their market.

The rum also mixes nicely in long drinks.  It is still quite rummy and makes for a very enjoyable rum and cola.  I guess the fact I paid only £20 for this meant I could be afforded that luxury!  To be fair you would probably opt for the Barbados 5 Year Old if you wanted a “posh”  sweet mixer.

This is a pretty good sipping rum and probably to expensive to be considered a mixer for most.  It’s decent stuff all round though nothing spectacular.

3 stars






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One comment on “Plantation Nicaragua 2001 Old Reserve Rum

  1. Pirate, I don’t think we have a sugar test on this one yet, hint, hint. A couple comments. It’s hard to credit a distiller for “admitting” their sugaring of rum when to the contrary, this and most other distillers for years have denied the addition and for good reason. Sugaring is alteration and even a modest lump of it hides the profile. Sad to say it’s often the lesser rums which are so adulterated in an attempt to make them seem better and more palatable than they are. Having done so these tricked out products are often then recast as “premium”. Plantation avoids the subject on their own website, and in their marketing. It was only after their alteration became publicly known and confirmed via ALKO et al that this distiller finally fessed up, not on their website, but in an isolated interview/debate with Richard Seale.

    What Plantation tries to call “dosing” in the manner of champagne, Seales would call “overdosing”. Plantation adds way more than a touch (say 5 or 6g) but closer to 20 grams (or more) – a LOT of sugar. The big question is why? Are these actually lesser rums? Is this an attempt to market to the American sweet tooth? I also empathize with your difficulty in finding out anything about the distiller, methods, aging, etc., as for some strange reason Plantation wishes also to hide this information which most experienced rum afficianados find invaluable. Seales agrees here as well, as he feels that pot (modified or not) and Coffey stills are likely to produce the better rums.

    The combination of notable amounts of sugar, secrecy in source or methods, et al make buying such a rum a real turkey shoot and frankly does not build confidence. Sadly to say both Plantation and a number of the El Dorados were among the greatest surprises in sugaring, and thus have lost favor in these parts. Think about it: If “dosing” was so legitimate and necessary (it isn’t), the distillers would be competing for bragging rights about the “rare and special sugars” they add to their handmade elixirs. For those who want to understand the difference I’d point them to known pure rums like Seales Ten. Another excellent comparison would be the very affordable Doorly’s XO which engaged in honest and unaltered double aging/finishing long before Plantation. By doing so, rum drinkers may come to appreciate what real and pure rum really tastes like.

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