Wednesday 17 July 2013

Bajan XO - another bargain M&S sipper

A simple understated design
Now following on from my previous review of Marks & Spencer's own brand rum offering comes their Bajan XO. Like the exceptional Guatemalan offering this comes with no indication of which distillery it's from but some digging suggests it's from the fine people at Foursquare, part of the RL Seale empire.

Again this is a low priced rum (£22 a bottle) that the team at Plantation have made for Marks & Spencer, turning their expertise in blending Cognacs to the cause of rum.

Now, I'm not that fussed about people adding caramel and sugar to their rum as long as the end product tastes good but I get that some people care so it's good that the label displays this upfront. This isn't not something I've seen anywhere else, so kudos to M&S for openness.
This is a blend of column and pot stills and is aged between 8 to 10 years in the obligatory ex-bourbon barrels before being shipped off to France for finishing in Grande Champagne Cognac barrels for a minimum of 6 months. Bottled at 40% ABV.
Transparency in ingredients

When you take a sniff there's an immediate hit of butterscotch, but a very light one with honey and a very little bit of dried coconut coming through. Looking at the rum it's a lovely burnished copper colour with thick, long legs.
Lovely colour

Taking a sip you feel it really coating your mouth with a lovely buttery, almost chewy texture. The butterscotch come through more subtly than you'd expect from the nose, there's an oakiness with it that I can only describe as dipping a lolly stick in hot butterscotch and licking it clean. Some orange zest, dark chocolate and dried fruit come through before this slips down incredibly easily.

The finish is very smooth, lingering with an initial dryness from the time in oak that draws the moisture from your cheeks which seems to reactivate the sweetness.
There's a comparison to be made between this and the Plantation Barbados 5yo. They're very similar but the sweetness on this is a little more dialled down and the feel of it is richer.
I've been very, very impressed by both of these bottles from M&S, the quality of rum you're getting is excellent even before you consider the bargain price. If you were to ask me which to recommend I honestly couldn't split them and, at £22 a bottle why bother? Pick up both and enjoy a bargain indulgence.
  • £22 a bottle
  • 40% ABV
  • Nose - Butterscotch, honey, coconut
  • Flavour - Oaky butterscotch, orange, dried fruits
  • Finish - Very smooth, a lingering sweetness that comes in 2 waves
  • Mixing - Are you mental?