Long Pond 1996

Exclusively Plantation today. I really didn’t think I’d do this one day but here we are. By the way, we’ve already had a Plantation Long Pond from 1996 before (marque ITP) and it was excellent so I am curious what the bottler with the pending name change has to offer.

Plantation Jamaica (Long Pond) 1996 23YO ITP & HJC “Rye Finish” (49,1%): Let’s be completely open and honest here: We’ve never had much love for Plantation and their adulteration practices but lately, things got even worse with their actions in Barbados and Jamaica. So why do we have this Rum today? Because it is extremely interesting on paper: A 23YO tropical Long Pond isn’t something you get every day, and almost 50% seems fine. Plus, this one isn’t dosed and Rye Finish sounds better than Cognac to me… Nose: Fruity, low ester Jamaica with grilled pineapple, dry oranges, lemon and this spiciness that I just cannot not attribute to the Rye finish (cloves, first and foremost!). Quite nice in fact. There isn’t a whole lot more going on, somewhat to my surprsie, but there isn’t much to complain about either. Palate: Slightly too thin but flavourwise, pretty good. The grilled pineapple and orange combination is supported rather nicely by the spices from the barrel(s) and while this is still relatively simplistic, it is a very pleasant, easy sipping Rum, even though it is still (suspiciously) a bit too much on the sweet side of things. Finish: Relatively short and sweet with the fruity notes and not too much wood/ barrel. A fine, yet simplistic Rum where the taste doesn’t quite match the numbers on the bottle. It is closer to a 12YO, tropically aged Rum if you will, but does that really matter!? (84/100)

Plantation Extreme No. 4 Long Pond “CRV” 1996 24YO (60,3%): If we are viscious, we might say that CRV comes close to aged Vodka but let’s check this out first. Nose: Blindly, I would have called this a bad Antigua or a good Angostura. There’s not a lot to be found here, my friends. At best I can name unripe continental fruits (think apples and green grapes), a few herbal notes, laurel perhaps, allspice and a few related notes but that’s about it. More or less what we expected. Palate: A lot better. Juniper berries, apples, laurel, allspice, lots of wood, pepper and nutmeg are my impressions here. Now this is not what we expected. It is obvious that this is a column still Rum, a bit in the tradition of the lighter Demerara Savalles (Uitvlugt). I now get those coconut chips, a whiff of ginger as well as dried mango and apricot. I am really starting to like this. While it is not “Long Pond” to me, there are days we I enjoy Rums like these! By the way, this is smooth as ****. Finish: Short to medium long with oak, vanilla, pear and a few spices. This could have been a really good Rum, if only the nose had a bit more to it. I wonder how it would fare in an Uitvlugt blind tasting… (84/100).

Plantation Extreme No. 3 Long Pond “HJC” 1996 22YO (56,2%): This is actually not the first time I am having this Rum. I have already had it in a bar, next to that ITP from the same year, but I didn’t take notes back then. Nose: It is crazy how flavourful this is next to the CRV. We get the full doze of ripe tropical fruits, wine gum, sugar cane, vanilla, oak and freshly picked flowers. Good stuff, even though it smells slightly perfumed. I am not sure why that is, though. Palate: Oha, this is quite different from the nose, with hot notes such as chillies, peppers and spicy paprika. Behind that mango and pineapple, perhaps also avocado. An interesting mix, that works surprisingly well. It doesn’t manage to reach the level of the ITP, but as I’ve said, it is an interesting profile for sure. Finish: Medium long and still spicy. What is more, it is not very woody. This is a very solid Rum that just doesn’t amaze us. While there’s really nothing to complain about, this just isn’t my favorite bottling. We will have to see if it is just this particular instance or a matter of the marque. (85/100)