What is it? Single Blended Rum (molasses based, both pot and column still at a single distillery) from Foursquare in Barbados. This is Exceptional Cask Selection Mark 14 in the line-up of the range and it’s a Port cask one, yippee. Now the reason I’m so excited by this is because way back in 2015 the UK was treated to a Port cask “finish” rum from Foursquare as part of the ECS range – it was so new that the bottle was simply labelled as “Exceptional Cask Selection”, there wasn’t even a number on it – for the purpose of this we’ll call it ECS2. This rum was really the first proper rum I’d tried and what started my love affair with the spirit. So now we have another Port cask rum to play with. So what’s in this one? Well it’s back to the old “blend of a blend” that we know and love from Foursquare ECS cask treatment rums; pot and column rum is blended, some of it goes off to be matured for 10 years in ex-bourbon casks and some of it goes off to some other ex-bourbon casks where it sits for 4 years, at which point it’s moved over to to Port casks for 6 years. The resulting 2 rums (10 year ex-bourbon and 10 year ex-bourbon/Port) are blended together to get our resulting rum. So total aging is 10 years, all done tropically.
Not coloured, not chillfiltered and bottled at 51% abv. It’s worth noting this is not a cask strength rum, we’d be up to around 60% abv if there were the case. Richard Seale has experimented with the abv and found that 51% was the sweet spot on this one, so that’s why it’s been bottled at that strength.
This has an outrun of 21,000 bottles globally with 9000 of those in Europe.
Nose: Ah, this takes me back. All the way to that point in 2015 when I first stuck my nose into ECS2 (Port cask). Bone dry – yes, a nose can be dry 🙂 . Massive red and black fruits with black plums, black cherry, strawberries, blackberry jam and of course black grapes. Vanillas from the cask along with dark chocolate, cinnamon and nutmeg. There’s heat from some ginger root and ground black peppercorns, a touch of roasted coconut and roasted chestnuts. Cut wood and a flicker of brine which adds a tiny bit of savoury to the mix.
Palate: Full mouth feel, really good body. Very dry, very dry indeed. There’s this great oxymoron with Foursquare rums of the dry sweetness. Usually you get sweet or you get dry with drinks, but frequently I find these bottles have a incredibly dry effect on the palate but burst with sweet flavour notes. For example, this rum is a dry as a camels ass but it’s full of flavours we associate with sweetness, such as caramel, sweet vanilla, honey and bags of plums, cherries and strawberry, but all the time your tongue is puckering. Along side the sweet notes is some very dark chocolate, white pepper and chilli jam, just to light up your mouth every now and then.
Finish: Long. It’s quite spicy here with red chillies, white pepper and mustard seeds. The fruity notes make a little appearance but it’s fleeting and goes back to dark chocolate, a fruity Kenyan coffee, butterscotch and oaky spices. The spice and dryness make you want to dive right back in for another glass, it’s very drinkable and very moreish.
Thoughts? Another belter from Foursquare, as always. It does very much remind me of the ECS2 Port cask in a lot of ways, but at the same time it’s clearly a very different rum. The evolution of Foursquare ECS bottles over the last 5 years is shown very obviously here when you look at both the 9 year old Port Cask ECS2 and the Détente ECS14.
So this rum does what it sets out to do. It shows you how cask type can change the resulting rum and yet leave a clear picture of the distillery character in place too, and how the two bond to make a harmonious result.
This was £60 when released. Just shut up and take my money.
Easily one of my top 3 rums of 2020, without even thinking about it. Unfortunately for the Détente it’s going to be kept of the top spot by it’s comrade; the Nobiliary.