THE GIFT GUIDE: WHAT TO GET FOR THE HARD TO GET FOR
When it comes to meta-level rum innovation, it would be hard to beat the instincts of Alexandre Gabriel, founder and master blender of Plantation Rum. As the rum operation of the esteemed Maison Ferrand cognac producer, Plantation, under Gabriel’s guidance, combines the cognac traditions of blending and barreling with an undying respect for origin and terroir to create some unique, (to say the least) rum expressions.
The operation not only imports fine rums from grog’s spiritual homes of the Caribbean and Central and South America, but also taps into the global rum scene (including some interesting rums from the South Pacific), bringing the sauce to France for a touch of fine barrel-finishing. These most recent out-of-the-box releases speaks to that experimental, unorthodox, and highly effective process.
Plantation Single Cask Collection: Plantation Jamaica 1996 x NY Distilling Co. Rye Cask ($130)
A rye-cask finish for some gorgeously aged Jamaican rum? Why not! A collaboration between Alexandra Gabriel and Allen Katz from the NY Distilling Co. has resulted in a kind of “barrel swap” initiative that lead to cask-aging of sublime 21-year-old rum rested in Jamaica’s lush climate, then a two-year stay in Ferrand casks, and a final kiss of six months in former Ragtime Rye containers from NY Distilling to fold in rye’s unique properties.
“As a good friend and mentor, I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to collaborate with Alexandre on his project,” says Allen Katz. “Having had the privilege of intimate business conversations over the years I have deep admiration and respect for the time and thoughtful effort he and his team have put into creating stalwart brands that have come to be centerpieces in the global movement and celebration of artisanal spirits.”
Plantation Rum Extreme No. 4 Collection ($250 each)
Two aged Jamaican rums from some long-standing and fabled distilleries highlight the return of Plantation’s “Extreme” series: A 1994 vintage MMW from the Clarendon Distillery and a 1995 expression from the Long Pond Distillery.
These two rare vintages are slotted for the United States, but the entire collection comprises eight collectible expressions that are going to individual countries for distribution. And, of course, all of them will be “extreme”-ly limited. The oldest of the group is 1984 MMW from Clarendon, but you might have to recruit a friend in France to snag you a bottle.