While Plantation’s 2017 West Indies Rum Distillery purchase has received the lion’s share of recent press about the brand, the deal also granted them one-third ownership in the Jamaican Long Pond and Monymusk distilleries. Plantation has been strongly emphasizing the Jamaican lately: The high profile Xaymaca blends distillates from both distilleries, while the latest Extreme Series (No. 3) comprises two very long aged Long Pond marques. At a private dinner during Tales of the Cocktail 2018 in New Orleans, Alexandre Gabriel unveiled yet another exotic Jamaican release – a limited edition rum, for a good cause, as well as some very surprising news for rum collectors.
The guest, which included most of the original “O.F.T.D. brothers” as well as noted rum collector Stephen Remsberg had no idea what they were in for upon arrival. However, each left with a special 200 ml preview bottle of Plantation’s newest creation: The Collector. New Orleans native Stephen Remsberg was the guest of honor who inspired the release.
The label tells the origin story:
A few years ago. a gentleman approached me with a challenge: to recreate his favorite rum, an old Jamaican that has been out of production for decades.
He was Steve Remsberg, a legendary collector of rare rums. He entrusted me with one of his four remaining bottles, and I set out to fulfill his dream. The verdict:
“At last, the magic elixir that I have been waiting for since 1972.”
In Steve’s honor, we call this extremely rare edition “THE COLLECTOR.”
Although the label provides no clue regarding his favorite rum, a quick Google search may give you the answer. Hint: It’s a brand that any rum aficionado has certainly heard of, and it was operating in the early 1970s. (Could it be any more obvious???)
Also of extreme interest to rum enthusiasts, guests learned that Stephen will donate his extensive rum collection to the Ferrand Plantation Foundation, a new facility in France for research and preservation of rum cultures, open to rum aficionados, collectors, scholars, and fans. The foundation will be based at Chateau Roisac, a house Ferrand recently acquired near their headquarters in Charentes.
Guest were also treated to a lively exchange of stories between Stephen and Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, who together helped uncover the recipes of many of the classic Tiki recipes that might have been lost forever. Through a series of mail exchanges in the 1990s, Jeff would often rely on Steve’s extensive rum collection and knowledge to tease out the actual rums specified in bartender notebooks.
Returning to The Collector, Gabriel is particularly well suited to attempt the feat of matching the flavor profile of Remsberg’s bottle. Not only does he have decades of blending experience, he also has access to an extensive array of Jamaican rum marques to work from. As luck would have it, Mrs. Wonk and I had previously sampled a wee nip of Remsberg’s bottle during a visit to Chateau Bonbonnet in late 2017. It was absolutely unlike any other Jamaican I’d had to date, and I’ve sampled more than a few. The candied pineapple note was off the charts.
Like Plantation’s recently released Xaymaca blend, the preview edition Collector label brims with wonky details about the components. Here are the key bits on the three rums within:
- Distillery: Long Pond
- Marque: CRV (2000)
- Distillation method: Blair column
- Fermentation: 1 week
- Cask type/age: 17 years in Jamaica in ex-bourbon; 1 year in Ferrand cask in France
- Distillery: Long Pond
- Marque: ITP (1996 and 2000)
- Distillation method: John Dore pot
- Fermentation: 3 weeks
- Cask type/age: 17+ years in Jamaica in ex-bourbon; 1 year in Ferrand cask in France
The label also includes information about the total esters (237 g/hL AA), volatiles (775 g/hL AA), and dosage – none! The rum is bottled at 43 percent ABV, par for rums of that era. (If this is all a wee bit over your head, you can get up to speed via my earlier story about Jamaican marques.)
The use of a column still rum in the blend might raise eyebrows, as classic Jamaican rums are strongly associated with pot stills. However, experts believe columns had arrived in Jamaica by around 1960, so it’s not far-fetched that a rum made in 1970 would have a column component. Sadly, the Blair column at Long Pond is no longer operational, as I noted in my original Long Pond story.
A total of 999 bottles of The Collector will be made available for purchase, with the profits going to the Ferrand Plantation Foundation.
Pricing for The Collector has not yet been set.