Bottled Exclusively for Gerry’s London Old 74…
It’s the little quirks of fate I love so much; A chance conversation on the phone with Allen at Gerry’s Wines and Spirits last April or May primed me with the knowledge that they were commissioning a single cask bottling of rum. It was planned to be available in their fine establishment sometime in September.
Fast forward to June 2012 and TheFloatingRumShack.com is enjoying a relaxed trip to France to visit Cognac Ferrand. Our road trip up from Bordeaux takes us deeper and deeper into the beautiful countryside that (the town of) Cognac is nestled in. Our SatNav performs miracles in negotiating us along the narrow country roads that wind themselves through endless vineyards and fields of wheat to Ars – an interestingly named village around 10km from Cognac town centre.
I begin to understand why Alexandre Gabriel (the Président of Cognac Ferrand) has referred to himself as a simple farmer so many times before – the environment in which you work defines your job title as much as your actual labour and mindset. The Cognac Ferrand site is entirely surrounded by miles and miles of land given over to agriculture! Being this close to nature is both inspirational and a reminder that despite you giving the maximum personal effort, Mother Nature is in ultimate control here and that Her rich harvest is not always a certainty. Alexandre is more than just a farmer though – he is a shroud and intelligent business man, blessed with a creative spirit that has become his trademark.
As we walked with Alexandre around the facility we were rather blown away by neatly stacked barrels of distillates serenely resting and maturing around us alongside a pristinely maintained, modern stainless steel tanks and related equipment. The Engineer in me wants to laud praise at such an environment – its cleanliness and organisation are the perfect starting point from which great works can begin.
Through the chalk markings, we recognise the contents of several barrels – lots of Bajan rum for the yummy 5yo of course, as well as a cask of Jamaica 1983 rum and a cask of Cuban 1998 rum. There’s also a single cask of rum marked as Rhum Guatemala, Gran Añejo: Finish Pineau. Alexandre pauses in front of this and without giving anything away he tells us it’s a special commission for a company in London. A mere heartbeat passes before I calmly state “Oh that must be for Gerry’s” The look on Alexandre’s face is a picture and our reputation for being ‘in the know’ takes another step up… Being the lucky b*stards we are – we got to try some of this rum straight from the barrel (along with many other awesome rums and cognacs that day). Our short rum life has had some pretty amazing moments – but that is right up there as one of the very best!
So what of the Plantation Guatemala Gran Añejo that this single cask is based upon? Well it’s a drier rum than you perhaps might expect given the style of the rums being supplied typically from the region. Lovely tasting with an amazing amount of complexity, which isn’t surprising given the fact that it has already passed through a complex solera aging system that is well known for producing other rather well known rums (think the ”Z” brand). So it’s already been exposed to various bourbon, Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry casks (amongst others), before it’s then transported to France for further ageing in cognac cask for around a year. Competitively priced, the Gran Añejo should definitely be a part of your rum collection – believe us on this – go on – get a bottle.
The twist is that the Gran Añejo is then enhanced with a further six months (or thereabouts) ageing in an ex Pineau Des Charentes cask. Where the Gran Añejo was more toffee on the nose, with a drier, slightly spicy finish – the Pineau cask adds a sharpness to the nose and gorgeous sweeter edge to the already complex rum. It becomes a luxuriously rich riot on the tongue, with a softer finish that melts away and kinda compels you to take another sip… This single cask expression is fabulous – no two ways about it – it’s amazing.
Finishing a bottle of Plantation rum in a short time frame isn’t an unusual situation at TheFloatingRumShack.com, but given the rather limited nature of this rum (and the price); we’ve got to be a little more circumspect than normal given its somewhat limited availability which is a shame.
Details, details: This is a Cask No. 1/1 situation – a maximum of 450 bottles (of which we know a large number have already been purchased – at least a quarter), so it’s not going to last long and if you wish to get your hands on one, then best get along to Gerry’s Wines and Spirits (Soho, London) pronto. Priced at £39.99 – it’s not a cheap rum, but given the ridiculous amount of pleasure you will derive from drinking this – then I think its well worth every penny.
You can contact Gerry’s via their website: http://www.gerrys.uk.com/ and remember that they can arrange shipping too.