What is it? Rum from the Foursquare distillery in Barbados, molasses based. The rum in this bottling in a blend of both column still and pot still rum that have been aged for at least 12 years in tropical conditions, leading to a higher rate of evaporation and increased spirit/wood interaction, so it’s likely compared to a European aged product of around 18-24 years old. I’ve been looking for information on cask make-up on this and the only information I can find that I really trust is from Wes over at TheFatRumPirate, where it states the rum contains 90% ex-bourbon matured rum and 10% ex-Madeira matured rum, which are subsequently blended for a marrying period before bottling. Wes speaks to the distilleries about their products, so I’ll trust what he says on this one.
Coloured, chill filtered and bottled at 40% abv
Sugar? Absolutely not. Foursquare don’t add anything to their rum other than colouring (with the exception of their Spiced rum).
Nose: Initially lots of cut oak, maybe a bit too heavy on wood at the start. Polished wooden tables, caramel, toffee, vanilla and dried coconut. Under the oaky onslaught there are some gentle cooking spices, with clove and a little bit of cinnamon, some smoky cigar leaves and a distant touch of tar. It’s a very dry nose. The longer you nose this the more you notice, as tucked away there is a really light lift of mango, a little pineapple and the faintest hint of banana.
Palate: Medium, verging on thick mouth feel, coating and oily. Bone dry delivery. Massive oak attack, tannic and quite sharp. Vanillas, coconut again from the casks and that fruity mango as well as some dried papaya and dried banana chips. Very, very bitter dark chocolate (90% cocoa stuff) and toffee pennies from a tin of Quality Street. Oak pops back up again, just in case you forgot it was there. The alcohol is pretty assertive for 40% but it’s not overbearing or burning – it’s just very clearly there.
Finish: Pretty long for a low abv actually. Ah, respite from the oak here, more “sweet” cask notes with the vanilla, coconut, and butterscotch rather than toffee. The smoky tobacco can make itself heard here as well as a lovely bitter orange rind note, rums-soaked banana pieces and a touch of sultana. Dark chocolate (70% this time, not as bitter) and some dried tropical fruits as it’s fades away.
Thoughts? I do like this rum, and it’s a clear example of “pure rum”, but I want to like it more than I do. It’s really good rum, but I’ve been consistently getting far too much oak each time I drink this and it find it too intrusive on the balance. I’m not getting much else other than ex-bourbon cask influence and I’d really like to get more of the Madeira casks; other bottlings of Foursquare I’ve had (the Port and Zinfandel cask ones) have been outstanding and this 12 year old can’t keep up with those I’m afraid. I still think it’s a great buy for the price (£35ish) and a must for anyone into their Bajan rum. I’ve not got around to opening my 8 year old Doorly’s yet and I’m hoping that it will allow more flavours to come out because of the shorter maturation period…..we’ll see.