You're going to say, that's it, he's really overdoing the tastings he offers, he's going to compare a whisky and a rum!!!


Nay, nay!


If I offer you this cross-tasting, it is only because the two distillates in question, although they obviously do not have the same basic material, have something in common.


I will show you the fruit of the cooperative work of PLANTATION RUM and its SINGLE CASK 2011 GUYANA finish BIG PEAT and DOUGLAS LAING and its ROCK ISLAND RUM CASK EDITION!


You may be starting to understand better!!


For this discovery, I'm not going to go far and ask my faithful BRAD PEAT to brave the elements and the northern temperatures, but I'm just going to stay in the Paris region.


Indeed, it is near Issy les Moulineaux on a barge that I am going to take you today. But be careful not just any barge! Barge 166! And why will you tell me?



Simply because this barge, docked and moving by a system of hydraulic outriggers, was acquired by Alexandre Gabriel's Maison FERRAND to become a show room of the house (including its PLANTATION rums) a stone's throw from the Eiffel Tower.


This floating cellar is also, and above all, the only dynamic aging laboratory in the world where small barrels of Cognac and whisky are gently rocked while waiting for their time.


So, sitting in the bow of the barge in the sun, I suggest you taste the two distillates of the day.



But first of all, a bit of explanation on the exchanges between the two giant spirits companies.


On the one hand, we will find a four-century-old cognac house from Grande Champagne COGNAC FERRAND which was bought and revitalized by ALEXANDRE GABRIEL in 1989. I know, we are not here to talk about Cognac (even if that of the house is renowned and good) but of Rum. Also, this brings us to 1999, where Sieur Alexandre launched PLANTATION RUM.


Objective, to continue a practice of almost 300 years in the world of rum. Sourcing rums aged in Bourbon barrels in the tropics and repatriating them to Château de Bonbonnet in France for the second, more continental, aging stage in French oak Ferrand cognac barrels. DOUBLE MATURATION PLANTING was born. 



But as our man wants to add his touch to the rums he offers, in 2017, he (through Maison Ferrand) acquired West Indies Rum Distillery in Barbados and a third of NRJ (National Rums of Jamaica), which owns the distilleries Clarendon, Long Pond and Inswood on the Caribbean island.


PLANTATION (which will soon be called PLANTERAY for obscure reasons linked to Uncle Sam's market) thus becomes an important player in the renewal and revitalization of Caribbean rum.



On the other hand, from Glasgow comes a young bottler, now 75 years old, the DOUGLAS LAING company (well known in its lines for its famous and revered BIG PEAT (among others). So one of the oldest bottlers in the Scottish market created by a certain FRED DOUGLAS LAING in 1948, who cut his teeth with the famous THE KING OF SCOTS and who specializes in bottling nuggets (including the largest collection in Port Ellen!).


Certainly FRED DOUGLAS is no more and has been replaced by his son FRED LAING and more recently by his granddaughter CARA, but the fact remains that the company delights us with some of the most renowned peated whiskies.



That's it and the story of the day will come to life when, as part of a collaboration between the two companies, barrels of Caribbean rum from PLANTATION were filled with Scottish blend and rum from GUYANA was slipped into barrels. Peated whisky barrel!


PLANTATION RUM GUYANA 2011 vieilli en fût de BIG PEAT


The RUM offered by PLANTATION in 2023 (in the wide range of annual SINGLE CASK) was distilled in 2011 by the DEMERARA DISTILLERS LIMITED (DDL) distillery. British GUIANA distillery founded in 1670 under the name Domaine DIAMOND renowned for rum produced in different wooden stills gleaned across the country. For example, it holds the last (if) wooden stills in the world (one of which has the sweet name of Versailles)!! It also has a still with 4 columns, and a coffey (more conventional double column). In short, enough to produce a quality molasses rum.



The one that Maison FERRAND offers us for its PLANTATION range, once distilled, spent 2 years in the tropics before returning to spend 9 years in the house's cellars in cognac barrels, and finishing its time for 1 year in barrels of BIG PEAT peated whisky supplied by DOUGLAS LAING! Beautiful journey with a distillate with a coppery reflection in the end.



On the nose it first releases beautiful sweet notes of vanilla and caramel cake. However, if you push your nose a little deeper into the glass, you will detect a mixture of notes of burnt molasses and peat smoke in the background.


On the second pass, it will be refreshed with notes of very ripe orange studded with cloves.


 On the third pass, we can detect notes of thick peat with a combustible air and an almost maritime air.


On the palate, it is slightly sweet but quickly develops into a mixture of spices roasted over a peat fire. It remains quite sweet despite its 49.2% alc. Subsequently, it takes on an air closer to a Guyana Rum with notes of molasses and light ester. We can nevertheless find a peaty feeling over time, all with spicy notes.


On the way down, it once again takes on its rum appearance with notes of tropical fruit and almond before finding a surprising peat ester mixture which leaves a slight bitterness in the mouth.


The empty glass retains notes of caramel and a discreet hint of smoke.




Of course we completely change the type of beverage with this Blend and any comparison seems fortuitous.


Well, any peat lover knows of course DOUGLAS LAING and BIG PEAT but he will also appreciate the ROCK ISLAND series (which I have already been able to present to you in its ROCK OYSTER version (here) or even "Mexicanized" in Mezcal casks ( here).


BLENDED MALT from the house highlighting Carpenter and maritime distillates from the Scottish islands of Islay, Jura, Arran and Orkney (in particular).



“Esterized” rums being for me to rum what peated whisky are to whisky, the marriage seemed inevitable! And this is exactly what the CARA LAING teams wanted to test by slipping this peated island distillate into PLANTATION barrels from Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados!


The color of our distillate will be more conventional than an island whiskY aged for around 7 years in bourbon barrels with light gold highlights and seems to have been slightly darkened by a final year spent in PLANTATION rum barrels).



The first nose shows notes of malted barley that are more significant and sweeter than what we are used to having with a ROCK ISLAND. We can nevertheless detect the usual more lemony notes and already well-marked spices.


On the second pass it warms up and we notice sweet notes of pineapple. However, we do not re-make an island distillate and the peat increases in power.


On the 3rd pass, it regains its Rock Island appearance with maritime peat full of spray. However, and this is what makes it atypical, it still contains soft notes of vanilla.



In the mouth, if it reveals an average strength despite its 46.8%, it is softer than another Rock Island starter with notes of banana. Quickly, more and more strong spices invade the spaces.


We then find the usual salty maritime notes with also a background of peat smoke. The spices placed on the cloves will perhaps be more pronounced than usual and give it a certain bitterness.


The descent reveals notes of licorice and ginger and also a mixture of sweet and smoky notes over the length.


The empty glass retains lemony and smoky stigmas on a background of hay.



This double tasting highlights a beautiful work of aging and assembly on both sides of the sleeve of which PLANTATION or DOUGLAS LAING have made a place among the references.