Thursday, 13 May 2010

Plantation Rum @ Trailer Happiness

Trailer is a legendary bar for a host of reasons. Their fantastic tiki menu, bewildering rum range, and ability to create world famous bartenders being just three of them.

Furthermore, the infamous ‘rum club’, an event which sees innocent rum representatives (such as myself) succumbing to the allure of alcohol in the name of education.

On Monday, May 10th, I had the pleasure of hosting said club, displaying a selection of the Plantation Rum range.
A haul of enthusiastic amateurs and professionals alike accompanied me on a mini Caribbean tour, taking in samples of local rum from Nicaragua, Guyana and Barbados.

Starting with the Nicaragua, 1998 vintage, we were very much at the lighter end of the rum scale. Made entirely in column stills after a brief fermentation produces a delicate, almost ethereal body to this rum. The complex, rich palette truly evolves as you keep the spirit in your mouth, as well as paving the way for a delightful toffee after taste.
We’d started well, and the group were unanimous in their appreciation of the Nicaraguan. Next stop, Guyana.

The 1999 Guyanese is almost the opposite end of the spectrum . Pot stilled instead of column, long fermentation instead of short, this rum is full bodied and heavy with dark fruit and green banana flavours. Towards the end we find almost peaty, vegetal notes (which proved very familiar to the Whisky fans in the room).

It’s fair to say the Guyanese rum was more divisive than the Nicaraguan. Although most could appreciate the heavier style, around 2/3rd of the room preferred the lighter, Nicaraguan example when drinking neat.

Next on the way we found the middle ground: Barbados 2000. Wow! This time, we had a combination of pot and column still production, blended together and aged in Bourbon casks. Rich, full bodied, but remaining elegant and subtle, the vanillins from the Bourbon oak spoke clearly alongside the green, exotic fruity notes. I believe, though I’m open to correction, that this proved to be the most popular of the vintages sampled that night.

But I still had one more trick up my sleeve: The Barbados Grande Reserve. This 5 year (average) blended rum was a very pleasant surprise – not least due to costing almost half the price of the vintages. A soft, sweet rum, as happy neat as in a daiquiri or (my personal favourite), with lashings of ginger beer.

The real advantage of this rum for the professionals out there is that, due to being a blended rum, we can be certain of consistency of both quality and supply. With the vintages, as awesome as they are, when they’re gone, they’re gone – which makes for some interesting reading for the rum collectors out there. The Grande Reserve, however, will keep coming as long as we keep drinking it!

Overall, a great event, and a good time had by all. There’s even talk of a return visit with Los Valientes... Watch this space!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to Trailer Happiness for hosting this event, to everyone who attended, and to Wilkes for allowing the use of his photographs.