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Why are Plantation rums so maligned on this site?


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Paul B 🇺🇸 | 425 ratings Posted 20 Nov '21

I have seen so many rave reviews for Foursquare ECS rums and too many bad reiews for Plantation rums on this site. Granted, out of the dozen Plantation rums that I have tried, half got my rating of 7 or better, but the other half got my rating of less than 7. So why am I even bringing this issue up? Well, two of them really stand out: their OFTD and the 3-Star white rum.  I will take the OFTD overproof any day over any of the Foursquare ECS rums!!!!  It is all in the art of blending and a panel of the seven best rum experts from around the world created this fine rum.  To the best of my memory, it is comprised of 15 different rums from the Caribbean. No easy task! Their 3-Star white rum is actually a dark rum with the color filtered out. Both are fantastic, dirt cheap, and easy to replace.  I cannot say the same for those Foursquare ECS rums that are difficult to find and way overpriced..

As for their 20th Anniverssary XO, everyone gravitates to this tasty one at first, but there is just way too much added sugar for me. There is no added sugar in their OFTD.

Bonandy 🇵🇱 | 77 ratings Replied 20 Nov '21

It is a great truth.  I like Plantation rums.  3 star white is very tasty and cheap.  OFTD, despite its 69%, is drunk with pleasure, especially after a large meal.  The rest of the Plantation, especially the single cask, are good too.

nomad 🇺🇸 | 134 ratings Replied 21 Nov '21

I'd imagine that it's because they add sugar, fight the rest of the Barbados distilleries (and Jamaican ones) on the GI and act like Carib distillers are in the dark ages and only their (Plantation)way is the right way.

I'll hold the reins of how I really feel.

They only list additives because of the backlash they received a few years back.

Rene Rum (PREMIUM) 🇨🇭 | 494 ratings Replied 21 Nov '21

You never can get wrong with Plantation rum.

The 20th Anniversary XO is really everybody’s darling and very suitable for guests with no rum experience.

The OFTD is the one of the few rebuy rums in my bar and the favourite mixer for Cuba Libre.

I also love their Vintage Singel Cask series.

 

vomi1011 🇩🇪 | 396 ratings Replied 22 Nov '21

Yes, it was probably frowned upon because of the dosage and the strong dilution. Plantation has improved a lot in terms of quality. For example, I had the Long Pond 1994 at cask strength. Which is very good, especially for the price. The Clarendon from the One Time Limited Edition was also great.

The dosage is often left out and the rums are often cask strength now. Hampden Plantation Rum 18y 2002 for LMDW has 70,3%. It is a very popular bottling. The Extreme Series was also in high demand. I think Plantation is being taken more and more seriously.

kudzey (PREMIUM) 🇵🇱 | 38 ratings Replied 22 Nov '21

Plantation is a very cool company and has a wide offer. Being somewhere between the independent bottler and and regular rum manufacturer, this is one of the scarse brands liked by both Paul and Vomi :) 

They have something for everyone, which doesn't mean everyone like every product. I think that occasional low scores are guaranteed with such a wide offer 

 

Captain Lee 🇺🇸 | 25 ratings Replied 28 Nov '21

In the US, the word "Plantation" is very evocative of slavery.  Plantation has acknowledged this, and said that they are looking into changing their branding, but as of yet, they have not.  Plantation has a history of trying to interfere with the Jamaica and Barbados Geographic Indications.  They also promote the idea that finishing rum in French cognac casks "elevates" it.  Taken together, this smacks of colonialism at best and racism at worst.  

This doesn't even get into the dosage issue, which to be fair, is hardly limited to Plantation.  However, when many other IBs adopt the "No additives" statement, Plantation looks bad in comparison.  I know that they put dosage levels on their website, which is a step in the right direction, but if you aren't ashamed of it, put it on the bottle label.

I'm sure that some would choose to argue with some or all of these points, but the original question was "Why all the hate for Plantation", and this is why.

Rene Rum (PREMIUM) 🇨🇭 | 494 ratings Replied 28 Nov '21

I don't want to offend anyone, but stop with the discrimination issue. Hundreds of years have passed and everyone knows that the actions of our forefathers were absolutely reprehensible from today's perspective. Unfortunately, from their point of view, this behaviour was acceptable at the time. Should each generation now apologise once again? At some point this has to come to an end.

I am not a racist, I love every person and every culture, every blood is red. We can always learn so much from each other. 

I think Europe has less of a history of slavery, not that we didn't have any. That means nothing other than that in these latitudes the word "plantation" does not so much remind us of shortage and slavery, but rather of a farm.

The addition of sugar is due to the parent company, because Ferrand is an old cognac producer. But that's not really a reason to hate.

Captain Lee 🇺🇸 | 25 ratings Replied 28 Nov '21

I understand that the word Plantation may not have the same connotations in Europe.  It's fantastic that you aren't racist.  But millions if not billions of people, especially in many rum-producing countries, are still living with the after-effects of racist colonial governments/policies that harvested wealth at the expense of indigenous peoples and imported slaves.  It's disingenuous to say "Let's all start from the same place now" when we aren't in fact starting on equal footing.  For me, we should stop talking about discrimination and racism when those things no longer exist in the world.

I agree that dosage is not a reason to hate - I meant "hate" in the American idiom way denoting vocal dislike.  But dosage not listed on labeling is a reason to distrust, especially in the rum industry.  If you aren't telling me about the sugar you've added, what else have you added that you aren't mentioning?

I don't have a particular axe to grind here.  I think that Plantation and Maison Ferrand, by virtue of their size and reach within the rum industry, could be a huge force for good by promoting ethical labeling, supporting Geographic Indications, and recognizing that rum has an association with slavery that should not be romanticized.  To the best of my ability to tell, they have chosen not to do those things.  Your impressions may vary, and I would be happy for someone to demonstrate that I have it wrong.

Toni (PREMIUM) 🇩🇪 | 28 ratings Replied 30 Nov '21

@Captain Lee Look, i totally get your point but  i must point out that this pc argument against the term "plantation" will totally derail any discussion. It is an ideologic point/argument. This term (like all words) belongs to nobody exclusively and nobody can claim (how to use) it(correctly). In the ancient Egypt some (black) dudes had slaves at their plantations too. And in Europe we had enslaved literally everyone no matter the race. Some people will be offended but most of us will accept historical facts and not try to victimize everything  and everyone.

Kevin 🇺🇸 | 43 ratings Replied 1 Dec '21

That's enough of that non rum talk! Back to the reason why there's  so much talk about them. They reach far and wide for the sole purpose of getting the world turned on to rum. That's a damn good reason to talk, period! So, it's obvious that their reach gets attention. I, personally, like most of what they produce and that's a good reason to stay with them, as I have.The limited editions are tops in the rum world. They provide a great way to experience the world in the comfort of your man cave, period!

Captain Lee 🇺🇸 | 25 ratings Replied 1 Dec '21

So the original thread was "Why are Plantation rums so maligned on this site?".  I've given my answer to the question.

To those who don't find Plantation and their business practices objectionable, I hope that you enjoy your rum!  It's OK to want to enjoy a drink and not have to think too hard about how it was made, who made it, who profits from it, and the history behind it.  But all of those things are there even if you aren't thinking about them, and some people care about that stuff.

Cheers!

Toni (PREMIUM) 🇩🇪 | 28 ratings Replied 1 Dec '21

I agree :) I personally wouldnt like plantation to "improve" their name. And in general i like their output. They have some good bottlings but most of the time they loose (in my personal view) to other independent bottlers. 

 

Offtopic: (By the way it is not only "plantation", e.g. rumauctioneer refuses to accept any "esclavo" bottles in their auctions). If the Brits are really so sorry about their past they should first start giving all the shit back they robbed all around the world. And not trying to implement PC ideology in our minds first.

Paul B 🇺🇸 | 425 ratings Replied 1 Dec '21

Kevin:

That is a truly great response, but lucky me has never needed a man cave. Some of their limited editions have also been awful. Another bad one from them is their Xaymaca. It is a very low ester Jamaican rum that is foolishly aged again in cognac casks. That does not work for me, but some tend to like it.

Kevin 🇺🇸 | 43 ratings Replied 1 Dec '21

Paul, I agree that some aren't worthy but some are exceptional especially for the price. I expect to be disappointed once in a while. That's part of the challenge to find your favorite. And, right now Plantation is way up on my list. Who knows whether they will stay there or lose ground. Time will tell! Right now their Isle Fiji has big bang for the buck. Once that's depleted I will move on but you have to try this one. Enjoy!

Paul B 🇺🇸 | 425 ratings Replied 1 Dec '21

Kevin:

More than a year ago I reviewed their Isle Of Fiji (not the 2009 vintage). I gave it a 5 out of 10 and wound up in the lower minority. I posted quite a lengthy review.

 

Kevin 🇺🇸 | 43 ratings Replied 5 Dec '21

Paul, I liked that one. For $28 I found it yes, not exceptional but rather quite on target for the price range. I'm  surprised you only gave it a 5. I gave it an 8. I keep in mind not on quality but price as well when I evaluate my rums. Granted I'm  no  expert and I don't have deep pockets. My favorite of all times is no longer in production. Pusser's 15yr old red label. I have tried the latest edition and it's not even close. So, I should thank them for allowing me to reach out and find the world of rum! Another one I found was Thomas Tew for $30 . Another good bang for the buck. My goal is to find the best rum for the best price and the $25-70 range seems to work for me. Wish I had hundreds but I don't and I've tried a few high priced rums and don't believe they're worth the reinvestment. Cheers!

Paul B 🇺🇸 | 425 ratings Replied 5 Dec '21

Kevin:

Thanks for the response. Over these past four years, I found my own formula for equating the taste of each bottle of rum with it's price before sales tax. Quite simply, a 2 to1 ratio works very well for me. This meams that taste counts twice as much as price. Others may want to jack up the number 2.

So how does one judge taste? It is VERY important to rank all of the rums that you have tried. I am now to the point of rating a rum on the first or second sip. For example, "Oh yes, that is a 7, maybe even a 6". The difficult part comes in the final rankings within each rating. Ranking them gives me an overall percentage value. For price, that value becomes the numerator over $150, which is the maximum that I now wish to pay for any bottle. When all is said and done, my formula shows which rums are damn good buys, which ones are good, which ones are only good for when one has extra bucks, and which ones should never be touched again.

Yes, this seems like a lot of effort, but once one starts this process, it will be proven to be bulletproof. By the way, my rums are rated on a normal distribution as closely as possible with the 6 ratings being in the middle and the 7's and 5's almost as numerous on each side. If one spends more that $80 US on a rum, it had damn well better wind up with a rating of 8 or higher!

 

Kevin 🇺🇸 | 43 ratings Replied 5 Dec '21

Paul, WOW! That's some damn appreciated advice! Guess I'm going to be looking at the rum world with a brand new perspective. Thanks for the lesson! How can I access all your posting?

slawekr 🇵🇱 | 45 ratings Replied 5 Dec '21

I am not experinced rum drinker but some time ago I did comparison of rums I had. In direct comparison one may see (or taste) differences. The best was Plantation Dark with its wide bouquet. Since then I've tried 5 Plantation rums more and liked all of them.

Paul B 🇺🇸 | 425 ratings Replied 6 Dec '21

Kevin:

I don't understand your last question. Please clarify.

My cabinet used to show my exact ranking. Now that I am no longer a premium member, some have gotten scrambled up.

Kevin 🇺🇸 | 43 ratings Replied 8 Dec '21

Paul, I think I figured it out. I go to your cabinet and click on the bottle. I look forward to your comments as I continue  my journey  and thanks for your postings! Cheers Matey!

Kieron wood 🇬🇧 | 558 ratings Replied 17 Dec '21

I have mixed opinions about plantation rum production and not allowing Barbados producers to protect themselves ... 

 

The main issue I have with plantation is a standard product is dosed on most occasions, where I have tried the newer bottles that delcare this such as Fiji and xaymaca . I thoroughly enjoyed both but I'm well are that the practices surround the buissness taint my view ...

With dosing I have issues with but the norm is suddenly becoming declaring it is ok , Worthy Park recently released 109 and declared that it had colouring added .. Plantation remain adament and deniable to this practice which as a consumer does not give me faith in the brand .

I do not agree with the aging wither but that argument is for another day.

The extreme range infuriates me as it's look at what we can produce without dosing which is despicable .Granted some of the casks they use are extremely rare and hard to get hold off ..

 

Hopefully plantation focuses on providing a product to customer that is clear and concise & abolishes the practice of super sweetening rums ..

 

I will continue to taste them as they have casks in storage that could produce incredible rums .

cantongamer 🇺🇸 | 15 ratings Replied 9 Jan '22

For me, rum should come from the Caribbean. I have never tried any Plantation rum and I don't plan to. I am not a woke SJW like Cap Lee, and I know the meaning of the word "plantation" without trying to read something into it. I just don't want French rum, no matter how good it is.

OdysseusUnbound 🇨🇦 | 40 ratings Replied 12 Jan '22

A person may agree (or not) with the views @CaptainLee explained, but it seems to me the Captain was explaining why some people don't like Plantation as a company. Attacking him personally with pejoratives is childish. And people who say things like "I'm not racist so stop talking about racism" are revealing just how self-centered they are.

Captain Lee 🇺🇸 | 25 ratings Replied 14 Jan '22

It's OK - I don't consider "woke" to be a pejorative...

So @cantongamer - if you aren't woke, and you don't support justice, what are you?  What do you stand for?  What's the opposite of "woke"?  Asleep?  Unaware?

For what it is worth, Maison Ferrand (the parent company of the Plantation brand) doesn't make rum - they bottle rum from all over the world, including the Caribbean. In looking at your cabinet, you have rums bottled by companies based in England (Diageo owns Captain Morgan), Scotland (William Grant owns Sailor Jerry), Mexico (Proximo owns Kraken), Italy (Campari owns Appleton), USA (Apostrophe bottles Kilo Kai), and yes, France (Remy Cointreau owns Mount Gay).

Perhaps as you learn more about the world, your attitudes may change.

Cheers, and enjoy your rum.

 

Immiketoo (PREMIUM) 🇬🇷 | 59 ratings Replied 20 Jan '22

The main reason is their abhorrent practice of intentionally sabotaging the efforts to create a Barbados GI.  They have nearly unlimited resources, which they throw at defeating all the efforts to keep Barbados products pure.

Combined with other shady business practices such as additives, sugars etc, they have alienated many rum producers and this sours many rum drinkers to their products.

All that being said, they have offered some exceptional products in the last few years that many folks enjoy, myself included.

however, I can't in good conscience support a company that employs tactics such as they, despite how good their products might be.

bar la moura 🇭🇷 | 93 ratings Replied 17 Apr '22

have no reason to hate plantation brand for the name, but i really don t like rums sweetened after destillation, i d like to see one day on every rum bottle how much sugar is added so i know if it s a destillate or a liquor. Found something about plantation on the net like they will have problems for barbados and jamaica labels because those countries don t allow adding sugar ...

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