Plantation XO 20th Anniversary

raw material

Raw material:

molasses

distillation

Distillation:

Twin Column, Pot Still (Gregg’s Farm)

aging

Aging:

tropical 8 - 15 years, continental 2 - 10 years; white oak

sugar added

Sugar added:

19-20 g/L

alcohol by volume

Alcohol by volume:

40%

additives

Additives:

caramel E150a

Pretext

On May 25, 2021 entered into force a EU regulation 2019/787, 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 wrapped the mandatory category name in the neat 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. Can you imagine that its large admirers group suddenly handle to call their beloved beverage not a rum but a spirit drink?


How ranks the Plantation XO 20th Anniversary in this context, the fourth most popular drink on the online rum community rumratings? The fact is that the manufacturer Maison Ferrand doesn't negate the use of what he calls dosage, which simply means sweetening. Moreover, its website reveals a sugar content of 20g/L. However the earlier tests showed much higher values. Okay, they were higher and now are lower so what? The point is that we as consumers have limited capabilities to verify producers' declarations. Therefore it should be in our common interest to strive for more transparency and also 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 polarizing topic. Unnecessarily, in my humble opinion. 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."

Procedure

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. In 2017 Maison Ferrand bought West Indies Rum Distillery (WIRD). 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 reading those numbers probably in line with our sentiment. By the way and regarding 'double aging': maturation in France seems to be overseas for the barbarian product, isn't it? There is some E150a caramel for color.

Aroma
The stunning floral/fruity opening aroma is transcendent, then releases fragrance of vanilla, cocoa and milk chocolate.
— as they tell
Apple pie, milk with honey, quince.
— as examined by RumExam
Taste
The delightful mango notes lend evidence to its advanced age, a result of long maturation in French oak cask.
— as they tell
Milk chocolate, walnut.
— as examined by RumExam
Afterburn
Bouquet was not officially specifed.
Coconut milk, orange zest.
— as examined by RumExam

Owner

Manufacturer:

Maison Ferrand

Price approx:

40

Origins

Terroir:

Barbados, France

Regulations:

not specified

Classification

Style:

british

Gargano:

blended traditionalist rum
⁖Reviewed on: August 6th, 2022