Whiskey fans take note, because Plantation Rum has just released a trio of vintage rums from Barbados that can rival any single malt or rare bourbon in terms of age, price and quality.
Extrême Collection n˚5 is the name of this series, which includes three vintages: 2007, 2000 and 1986. All were produced at the storied West Indies Rum Distillery, which was founded in 1893 making it the second oldest on the island after Mount Gay. Years ago, Plantation Rum owner and master blender Alexandre Gabriel pored over the distillery’s archives and discovered that much of the rum produced at WIRD was double-matured, a practice he continues to this day by bringing the bourbon barrel-aged rum to France by sea for a secondary maturation period in cognac casks. Both the ocean voyage and the cooler climate of the finishing period have a big impact on the character of the spirit.
The details of these limited-edition rums are as follows. The 1986 vintage was aged for 35 years: 13 in bourbon barrels in Barbados, 21 in bourbon barrels in Europe and a final year in cognac casks. Only 286 bottles are available, priced at $1,500. The 2000 vintage was aged for 21 years: five in bourbon barrels in Barbados, 14 in bourbon barrels in Europe and a final two years in cognac casks. 929 bottles are available, with an SRP of $300. Finally, the 2007 vintage was aged for 14 years: two in bourbon barrels in Barbados, 10 in Europe, followed by two years in cognac casks. Almost 3,000 bottles are available, priced at $200.
In addition to being available at select retailers, the entire collection is up for auction online until July 11th through the Rum Auctioneer. All proceeds will go to benefit Barbados Community College’s fine arts program. And in what is surely no coincidence, local artist Alex Mars created the three illustrations that you can find on the bottles in this collection. Mars’ work can also be found at the distillery, where his mother worked.
For those who have heard news about Plantation Rum changing its name due to the colonial and slavery references it evokes, according to the brand the process is ongoing. In a statement, Plantation had this to say: “Evolving our name, which is a critical aspect of our brand identity, is a very complex process. This has been the most difficult exercise that we have experienced thus far—to find a name that is available for patent worldwide… We do not take this lightly and work hard to make sure this trust is deserved. We sincerely hope that if you love our rums, you will continue to enjoy it now, and support us as we transition together. Once a name has cleared all global availability and legal approvals, we will make our announcement.”