Plantation Isle of Fiji & the Bula Bula Cocktail

It’s been quite a while since I wrote about a rum from Fiji here. I really liked the Plantation Vintage Edition Fiji 2009 very much and since then I have been absolutely positive about rums from the Pacific island state. Later I also reviewed the Plantation Black Cask Barbados & Fiji, which is at least partly based on Fiji rum from the South Pacific Distillery. Here, too, I was very positively impressed. And today I have a new Fiji-Rum from the Plantation series in front of me. (provided test product)*

By now the first thing I pay attention to with rum is the addition of sugar. And here I unfortunately see a minus point, because the new Plantation Isle of Fiji contains a dosage of 16g sugar per liter. This is within the permitted range for rum, but of course I would have been happy if this dosage had not been necessary. I must, however, once again give Plantation the benefit of transparency in this matter, as the dosage is printed on the bottle’s label for everyone to see. But well, dosage or no dosage, Alexandre Gabriel has already proven to me many times that he knows what he is doing, and I therefore accept that for now. The Plantation Isle of Fiji is a blend of rum aged for two to three years in former bourbon barrels (the ageing process took place in the island state of Fiji). Finally, a year’s post-maturing took place in France in former cognac barrels, as it is familiar and customary from Plantation Rum. It is a molasses rum – and we also learn something about the duration of the fermentation that took place before distillation, which lasted 4 to 5 days. Time in which all the beautiful aromas that I still remember from the last Plantation Fiji Rums can develop. The rum is finally bottled at an ABV of 40%.

Tasting notes:

Aroma: As expected, a whole basket of fruit (pineapple, mango, gooseberries) flows directly towards you. Immediately behind it, a rich vanilla from the Bourbon barrels, sweet notes of toffee, plus nuts and herbal associations (thyme, oregano). As time goes by, a ripe banana is more and more isolated from the fruit notes, which I noticed less present at first.

Taste: Very soft and mild, the 16g sugar dosage is clearly noticeable. Especially the vanilla is carried by the sweetness, but also brings notes of fermented tropical fruits (mango, banana, coconut). It is precisely these fruit notes that separate a little of the sweetness in the aroma and give an idea of the pure distillate, which would probably appear even more fruity without the dosage. A little plum still resonates, which in turn is contrasted by a rich honey. A fruity-sweet taste experience.

Finish: long, sweet with fermented fruit notes

As far as cocktails are concerned, it should be a Rum Sour variation today, whereby I replaced the lemon juice with lime juice and added a few strawberries for seasonal reasons. Strawberries harmonize wonderfully with the tropical fruit and ester notes of the Plantation Isle of Fiji – and on the other hand with a little dry red wine, which I also added to the drink in the style of a New York Sour. In this sense: Bula! This is a kind of universal word in the Fiji language, which also means cheers. That’s why the drink is also called “Bula Bula”.

Recipe “Bula Bula”:

6 cl Plantation Isle of Fiji
3 cl lime juice
1 cl sugar syrup
3 fully ripe strawberries
1 egg white
2-3 bar spoons of dry red wine

Preparation: First put strawberries and sugar syrup into the shaker and crush them with your muddler. Add the remaining ingredients except for the red wine and first of all, without ice, do a dry shake. Finally, shake vigorously with ice and strain into the pre-cooled glass twice.
Gently smoothen the foam on top of the drink with the backside of your spoon without bringing it together with the drink underneath. You’re doing this to break the air bubbles in the foam. Let the drink rest for a few seconds. Now carefully add the red wine on the drink and stir gently with the handle side of the spoon to spread the red wine as a layer beneath the foam. Do not dip in the spoon handle deeper than the red wine to assure it does not mix with the main part of the Rum Sour. As a result you should have a red ring between foam and drink.

Glass: Sour or Tumbler

Garnish: blossom

Buying sources: At specialized retailers or online

*The fact that this product has been sent to me free of charge for editorial purposes does not – in any way – imply any influence on the content of this article or my rating. On the contrary, it is always an indispensable condition for me to be able to review without any external influence.

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