Foursquare Rum Distillery 2004

Foursquare Rum Distilery 2004 rum review by the fat rum pirateFoursquare Rum Distillery should need little or no introduction.  Over the past few years alone, the distillery has released a number of new innovative rums.

These new rums compliment and expand upon the existing classics in the Foursquare repertoire.

Thanks to importer Marussia Beverages, the UK has been treated to a number of new releases in the past couple of months.  Some have been unexpected such as the Doorly’s 8 Year Old (review coming soon).  Others such as this rum, very much anticipated and eagerly received!

This rum represents the third release in the Exceptional Casks Series.  The 1998 Foursquare – no longer available, the Port Cask and Zinfandel Finish make up the four releases so far.

Recently Richard has hooked up with Luca Gargano and formed “The Guardians of Rum”.  For those on Instagram they can be found on there.  Richard Seale has even noted Luca as being his “mentor”.  They have visited distilleries together as well as putting forward their own views on a Rum Classification system.  They have also collaborated on some Velier and Habitation Velier releases.  Watch this space for reviews for them when I get hold of them.

This rum is labelled following their proposed system.  It is labelled as a “Single Blended Rum” – which is a blended rum from a single distillery.  It is also noted on the label as “Full Proof”.  A term I take to mean as being straight from the cask but it is open to interpretation.

This rum is a blend of artisanal pot and twin column distilled rums.  It has been aged for 11 years in ex-Bourbon Casks.  All this information is available on the rear label of the bottle.Foursquare Rum Distillery 2004 rum review by the fat rum pirate

A 70cl of this rum retails at around £45 in the UK.  As mentioned earlier it is bottled at “Full Strength” – 59% ABV in this case.  In effect you are getting around 1 litre of regular 40% ABV spirit.  This is good value especially when you consider the UK’s wonderous tax policy (the higher the ABV the more the Chancellor takes as his cut).

How this rum has come about, is probably in part due to Luca Gargano’s influence. Also the growing number of rum enthusiasts who wish to have Cask or Full Strength rums.  Many of whom Richard has spoke with openly on Social Media and commented on such threads.  The main driving force though is probably Richard’s own desire to innovate and move the rum industry forward.

As well as the Exceptional Casks series and the Velier’s Richard also has plans to re-release the classic R.L Seales 10 Year Old at an increased ABV -upping it a shade to 46%.  The Doorly’s range has also seen 8 and 12 year old rums introduced to a wider market in the past couple of years.

So lets move onto the actual rum.  The rum presents itself in the glass as a nice golden/reddish brown.  This rum has no added caramel colouring.

Foursquare Rum Distillery 2004 rum review by the fat rum pirateThe nose exhibits a classic Bajan rum profile.  Nice bourbon oaked notes, vanilla and some rich dried fruits.  The extra ABV introduces extra smoky and spicy elements.  The aromas are more intense – its like a Bajan concentrate.  As reflects all of Foursquares output the nose is nicely balanced and wonderful to nose. It reels you in.  Even the empty glass is a joy! (not that it will last long)

Sipping a rum at an ABV of 59% is very much a personal choice.  When working on rum blends it is not uncommon for blenders to reduce their rums to 20% ABV when nosing and tasting to try and identify all the components and pick out anything that isn’t quite working or what can be improved.  However, many whisky and rum enthusiasts prefer to drink only Cask or Full Strength drinks.

I’ve noted on Social Media numerous occasions when people seem to want a “stronger” ABV rum or seem to dismiss those bottled at 40-43%.

My view is quite straightforward with regard Cask Strength or “strong” rums (over 50% ABV).  I appreciate the opportunity to try the spirit at full strength.  However, I feel that sipping rums at such high ABV’s is not necessarily the best way to enjoy them.  Like the blenders I believe a few drops of water can open spirits up and reveal flavours that can be masked by alcohol burn or the sheer intensity of such spirits.  That is just my opinion/palate though.

Sipping the rum at full strength its best to take it slowly.  You really can just take tiny sips this rum and get a whole mouthful of flavour.  The first few sips allow the tongue and palate to acclimatise to the proof. After a while you can begin to really enjoy the spirit to its full.

Unsurprisingly, at this ABV its very intense, very spicy and there is a alcohol burn (anyone wanting a spirit without alcohol burn should switch to liqueur’s that’s what you really want!) but it isn’t unpleasant or harsh in anyway. Just very rummy.

Rich deep oak notes and spicy/sweet notes with a little sour mash flavour coming through from the Bourbon oak.  Familiar notes of vanilla and dark chocolate  The finish is long and satisfying –  oaked and gently warming.Foursquare Rum Distillery 2004 Exceptional Casks Rum Review by the fat rum pirate

I found this rum best with a few drops of water.  It allowed more of the subtler notes to reveal themselves – slightly less oak and spice and more dried fruits – raisin and sultanas.

At 59% ABV you can pretty much please yourself how you sip this rum – you are doing no wrong in adding water.

This rum represents fantastic value for money.  In addition to this it also seriously raises the bar at what a commercial distillery can produce.  Whilst commercial offerings have been made available at higher ABV’s they are usually “Overproof” rums rather than Cask or Full Strength.  They certainly aren’t often well balanced, complex sipping rums such as this.  This rum shows that the rum distilleries shouldn’t rely on the Independent bottlers to release their Cask or Full Strength rum.

If many other producers used the word “Exceptional” to describe their rums they would be ridiculed.  This rum is indeed exceptional.  This 2004 offering has every aspect of classic Bajan rum making.  The balance and the flavours are fantastic.

The Exceptional Casks series offer the best examples of truly “premium” Bajan rum at the most “un-premium” prices you will find.

5 stars

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