Barbados is said to be the place where the history of rum started. A document found in 1651 stated: “The chief fuddling they make in the island is Rumbullion, alias Kill-Divil, and this is mad of sugar canes distilled, a hot, hellish, and terrible liquor.”
Fortunately for us all this changed for the better and since then the category of rum has developed itself into the most diverse of all spirits. But above all: it became a way of life
The Grande Reserve Barbados 5 YO is one of the finest rums in the range of Rhum Plantation, a brand created by Pierre Ferrand, a French company also famous for making great Cognac. Their way of working is to blend rums that are specific to a region (for example Jamaica, Nicaragua, Guyana etc), age them together in oak barrels and ship this blend to France. There the blends are each put into old cognac-barrels for one more year.
The bottle: Most of the rums by Plantation are packed in a sleek, ling bottle, but the GRB5 is an exception to this. It’s a short bottle, for a bit more of that pirate-feeling. It’s packed in a straw netting and combined with the nice label, embossed logo and name of Plantation on the bottle, it’s sure to stand out in your liquor-cabinet. Also notice that the cork has a very tight fit, giving a nice pop when you pull it out, releasing some of the great flavours inside!
The nose: The nose of this rum is beautifully balanced: sweet notes like vanilla and butterscotch with a bit of coconut are accompanied by wood-tones coming from the oak-barrels that are used for the first 5 years. I also get sweet sherry-like tones from the fine cognacbarrel that is used for the last year.
The contents: The cognac-finish is very clear in the taste, with sweet notes like banana, toffee and coconut coming through. The taste is long, a bit sweet, yet wonderfully complex. Spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla make the complex part, alongside with fruits like banana and orange. The middle of the taste is a bit flat, but soon the aftertaste takes over. I love it how you can taste the minerals in the aftertaste: they stick in your mouth and keep adding flavour and depth. Try rubbing your tongue over your gums and notice how much flavour there is left from the rum (or that a strange suggestion?)
The mixability: This rum is great as a sipping rum, but it provides a great cocktail ingredient as well. There’s a whole range of grateful tropical cocktail, perfect to prepare with the Grande Reserve. I gave it a try in the Mai Tai, for which I found a great easy-to-make recipe by Max La Rocca (who’s cocktail the Irish Mermaid I reviewed yesterday), which is a simplified take on the David Wondrich Mai Tai. Perfect to try at home!
Overall: This is one rum that you’ll never regret to have bought. You’ll probably recommend it to friends and buy a second bottle when your first one is finished. I know I have! Because of the great versatility you can use it in so many different ways and on different moments
Combine 50 ml/1.6 oz Plantation Grande Reserve Barbados 5 YO, 15 ml/0.5 oz Dry Curacao, 15 ml/0.5 oz fresh limejuice and 15 ml/0.5 oz orgeat syrup in a shaker. Shake well and strain in a tumbler filled with icecubes. Crushed ice is even better, but don’t go out of your way to smash your precious icecubes if you’re low on those. Do you have some mint lying around, or growing on your balcony/garden? Grab a nice sprig to garnish the cocktail with! Enjoy!