You might be more familiar with Fiji Water than Fiji rum, but Plantation is out to change that with its new Isle of Fiji expression. The spirit is distilled in Fiji by the island’s RUM Co. distillery, using pot and column stills. Afterward, it is aged on Fiji for two to three years in ex-bourbon casks, and then gets a trip to France for a final year of slumber in Ferrand’s French oak casks.
Isle of Fjii has a powerful nose that leaps out of the bottle with big notes of tropical fruit, white banana, nutmeg, and a green, vegetal funk. Considering that funk, it starts off lighter than I expected with flavors of brown sugar and alcohol-soaked melon and cantaloupe. The initial lightness and tropical fruit flavors make a great contrast to its slick, oily body.
The center brings in flavors of unripe banana, honey, and caramelized pineapple, which give way to my favorite part of the experience: an uncanny note of charred marshmallow, which mimics the burnt-black, crispy char of the skin before delving into the sweet, fudgy notes of the soft but toasted center. Adding to the campfire-like experience is a successive note of dry oak, which is itself followed by nutmeg and brown butter. The rum has a long, patient finish which stretches out the marshmallow-center alongside tropical fruit and the very light touch of nutmeg and allspice to a satisfying end.
Plantation Isle of Fiji Rum is likely to be enjoyed by bourbon drinkers, though not because it closely resembles the spirit. Instead, it’s something like a bizarro cousin of bourbon that’s freshly returned from a trip in the South Pacific, where it traded in vanilla and oak spice for marshmallow and nutmeg, with plenty of tropical fruit and an olive oil-thick body included in the package deal. All that for $24 is nothing to sneeze at.
— 40% ABV