Plantation Jamaica 2003 Clarendon MMW 17 Year Rum
Jamaica's Clarendon Distillery is perhaps the last unexplored Jamaican frontier for many American Rum drinkers. Though much of their output has been from their column stills and destined for commercial blends, Europe has also gotten a good handful of private label bottlings of their vintage pot still rum - that is to say, the good stuff. Stateside however, even in our Rumaissance of the last few years, we have been left dry for the most part. When Maison Ferrand (aka Plantation) became a part owner of both Long Pond and Clarendon Distilleries in 2017, it was assumed that we would eventually get our dirty American paws on some of the good stuff as well. So far that has been true, but only with bottlings from the Long Pond distillery. The well aged Pot Still rum from Clarendon has largely remained a mystery. So we were very excited to get news that the first release of this year's Vintage Series that we'd be seeing was a 17 year old Clarendon, bottled at just under 50% abv with no added sugar. A fantastic introduction to this underrepresented distillery seemed to be imminent.
That hunch proved to be correct. This gem, aged 16 years in Jamaica in bourbon casks, followed by one year in the Ferrand cellars in France, is a charmed combination of intense fruit aromas like green banana, passion fruit and plum as well as hints of vanilla and bitter almond. Plenty of that tell-tale Jamaican fruitiness that we dream about, in a fairly neat, quaffable, and urbane delivery. Looks like we've made a new friend. Bottled at 49.5% abv.