Fiji has entered our conversation several times over the past week. While we have been talking about going there for our upcoming 40th wedding anniversary, cruising friends have been discussing their next destination after the Bahamas. They had hoped to head to the South Pacific however, Fiji is the only island currently open to cruisers. So when Plantation Isle of Fiji presented itself at the store, naturally we needed to review.
Alexandre Gabriel is the entrepreneur behind Plantation Rum. While still in business school, Gabriel discovered that sales of Maison Ferrand, one of the oldest spirit brands in the Cognac region, were stagnant. He consulted his professors and realized what better way to hone business skills than to build a distribution network for the cognac? Through his travels, he began developing a network and passionate partners that ultimately turned Maison Ferrand around.
In the 1990s, Gabriel’s love for travel took him to the Caribbean where he searched for the best rums in the region. Plantation was born as an artisanal rum using the sugar cane of the region while combining the aging process with that of the cognac in France. Today, Alexandre Gabriel is President and Owner of Maison Ferrand, focusing on Ferrand Cognac, Citadelle Gin, and Plantation Rum.
Like the Caribbean rums in Plantation’s repertoire, Isle of Fiji begins with local sugar cane then distilled using both column and traditional pot stills. The rum is aged locally in bourbon casks for up to three years before being sailed to the southwest of France to be aged further in French oak casks for another year. This double aging process is advertised as giving the rum warm and exotic fruit notes.
Editor’s Note: You should also check out our Review of the Plantation Original Dark
The very light golden color leaves considerable lacing on our glasses with plenty of slow-moving legs. The nose is extremely unique in that it took us quite some time to determine where it was taking us. Clint says the nose reminds him of Rhum Agricole which is made from sugarcane juice with a hint of smokiness. For Terry, the nose has more exotic fruit notes, one that is not overly sweet but rich with unfamiliar fruits. It reminds Terry of a rum from St. Maarten made from guavaberry. The nose very much carries through to the palate with a mouthfeel of light honey. The unique notes continue with prunes, green bananas, nutmeg, and a hint of ginger. For Terry, the finish is nonexistent while Clint finds the oak from the French barrels lasting a bit in the throat.
We were very surprised to learn Isle of Fiji is a molasses-based rum. This is one of the most unique rums we have tasted. The rum draws you in to explore the exotic notes while conjuring up images of lush jungles and pristine lagoons. At $25/bottle, Isle of Fiji is a welcome diversion to the same ole Caribbean style rums.
3.75 of 5