Twin Column, Pot Still (Gregg’s Farm)
tropical 8 - 15 years, continental 2 - 10 years; white oak
Alcohol by volume:
On May 25, 2021 a EU regulation 2019/787 entered into force, according to which a product containing more than 20 grams of sugar per liter cannot be called rum anymore. The products not meeting those requirements fall into the collective, slightly vague "spirit drink" category.
The interested parties may therefore react in two ways. You can keep the current recipe and change the marking and labels just like A. H. Riise Spirits did. Danes ultimately wrapped neatly the mandatory category name in the slogan "superior spirit drink made from premium matured rum".
The other solution is to actually lower the sugar level, since giving up the profitable European market is not an option. Take, for example, the Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva and its large admirers group - can you imagine their beloved drink would suddenly turn out to be - nomen omen - a spirit drink?
And how ranks the fourth most popular drink on the rumratings Plantation XO 20th Anniversary? The fact is that the manufacturer Maison Ferrand doesn't negate the use of what he calls dosage, which simply means sweetening. Moreover, the website reveals a sugar value of 20g/L. The point is that earlier tests showed much higher values. Okay, they were higher and now are lower so what? The problem is that we as consumers have limited capabilities to verify producers' declarations. Therefore it should be in our common interest to strive constantly for more transparency and enforce it rigorously.
Johnny Drejer now enjoys a well-deserved esteem, although initially some discredited the hydrometer method (for sugar testing). Nonetheless others followed his footsteps and thus we can track the evolution of the tested products. The true game changer proved to be however the meticulous Scandinavians. Alko - the Finnish national alcoholic beverage retailing monopoly - performs stringent laboratory analyses and publishes them. The Swedish Systembolaget plays a similar role. Not just enthusiasts but serious institutions are speaking out. It's a paradigm shift, in fact.
Adding sugar pompously called dosage is a topic that polarizes. In my opinion unreasonable though. Richard Seale puts it that way: "I have heard the moronic refrain; 'I like sweet rums'. No, actually, you like sweetened rum. Big difference. [...] Another asinine comment; 'do not tell me how to drink my rum'. Actually it is the producer who is premixing the rum that is denying you that privilege."
Maison Ferrand was founded in 1989. The Plantation XO was created to celebrate the 20th year of Alexandre Gabriel as Master Blender of Plantation rums, hence the conclusion that the rum debuted in 2009. Maison Ferrand operated initially as an independent bottler acquiring the rum from various Barbados distilleries. MF bought West Indies Rum Distillery (WIRD) in 2017. It's worth mentioning that most molasses distilled in Barbados comes from neighboring countries.
The producer reveals the technicalities: fermentation takes three to five days, followed by distillation in both Twin Column and Pot Still (Gregg’s Farm) and declares the maturation time: tropical aging lasts between eight and fifteen years and continental between two and ten years. We are probably reading those numbers in line with our sentiment. By the way and regarding 'double aging', maturation in France seems to be overseas for the barbarian product, what do you think? There is some E150a caramel for color.