Plantation Single Cask Rum Guyana 2011 & Rum Manhattan

Guyana is certainly one of the most famous rum nations in the world. However, a small addition should be made here: among people who are at least a little bit interested in rum or know something about it. If you ask people who are completely clueless about the most famous rum nations in their opinion, you will probably get Jamaica and Cuba as the answer. But if you decide to delve a little deeper into the subject, it doesn’t really take long before you come across the term Demerara rum. (provided test product)*

While there were eight rum distilleries in the South American country in the middle of the 20th century, today there is unfortunately only one, which emerged from a merger between the Diamond Distillery, Enmore and Uitvlugt and now produces its rum under the company name Demerara Distillers Ltd. Situated on the Demerara River, this distillery still produces a share of the famous Pusser’s or Lemon Hart, but above all the El Dorado rum, which is considered by many to be the epitome of Demerara rum today and is often meant when recipes call for Demerara rum. The unique characteristics of Demerara rums lie not only in their blends, the specific yeast strains or the fact that they are sometimes aged in the open air, but also in the fact that some of them are distilled on historic wooden stills.

And now I’m dealing with a bottle from the Plantation range, which Alexandre Gabriel has created using a unique combination of barrel maturations to produce a very special and, for me, extremely interesting rum: the Plantation Single Cask Guyana 2011.

What makes this rum special? First of all, it contains no added sugar, which I always welcome. At 49.2% vol., it also promises to be able to convey a very pronounced aroma. As a pure pot still rum, it shouldn’t be too stingy with its expressive facets either; and if that’s not enough, you’ll be very interested in the cask maturation: the rum was aged for two years in ex-bourbon casks in Guyana itself, then for a whole nine years in former Ferrand cognac casks and then – and this is where it gets really crazy – for another year in former Big Peat Islay whisky casks. Anyone who knows anything about whisky will know that the Big Peat Islay Blend specifically aims at lovers of strongly smoky whiskys. I’m really looking forward to seeing what that does to this rum!

Tasting Notes:

Aroma: In a blind tasting, the Plantation Single Cask Guyana 2011 would be a real challenge! Smoke is there, yes, but if you’re expecting smoke like in a pure Islay single malt (or even the Big Peat), I’ll have to catch you again: The smoke is much more restrained, but definitely present. Subtle notes of petrol are paired with dried fruit. That may sound crazy, but it is the case. A hint of bacon rind also creeps in, some cinnamon, beeswax, slightly burnt cloves, a hint of vanilla and – I can’t help myself – associations with the already black charred skin of a baked potato from the embers. All of this with an intensity that is by no means overwhelming, but somehow civilized and “cultivated”. I have to smile about what I’m writing here, but that’s how I feel.

Taste: On the palate, the aroma profile is clear and very powerful. There’s cold smoke like from a burnt-out cigar, tobacco, leathery tones, some smoked bacon again, plus typical rum notes of brown sugar, pickled fruit and a hint of coconut in the background, as if it had strayed into a wacky avant-garde film. This is a really exciting and somewhere schizophrenic drop! I think it’s fantastic.

Finish: very long with light smoke, tart fermentation notes and diffuse spices

Well, the cocktail question didn’t seem so easy to answer at first. But then I simply decided on a Manhattan. Although, of course, it is a Manhattan rum. But somehow it’s also a Rum Rob Roy (can you call it that way?), because the scotch influences in the rum are undeniable. Anyway, I wanted to keep it simple and simply stirred a Rum Manhattan like this – with whiskey barrel-aged bitters as an accent. The result works wonderfully.

Recipe “Rum Manhattan”:

6 cl Plantation Single Cask Rum Guyana 2011
2.5 cl Carpano Antica Formula
2 dashes of Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters

Preparation: Stir all ingredients on ice until cold and strain into a pre-chilled glass

Glass: Martini / Manhattan

Garnish: three Griottines cherries

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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