Foursquare Rum Distillery Criterion

Foursquare Rum Distillery Criterion Rum Review by the fat rum pirateFoursquare Rum Distillery Criterion is the latest rum in their Exceptional Cask Selection.  It seems that in the Foursquare world it never rains but it pours.  Just last year we were spoilt with numbers 3 and 4 in the Exceptional Cask Selection and the “controversial” Foursquare 2006.

Once again Mr Seale (and to a lesser extent) Mr Gargano have conspired to ensure we get a couple of Foursquare releases in quick succession.  As if the recently re-vamped R L Seale’s 10 Year Old and the plethora of Indie bottlings haven’t been enough for me lately. Not to mention the very generous (and very touching I must add) bottle of Old Brigand from Steve over at Rum Diaries Blog, obtained for me whilst in Barbados.  I’m considering re-naming the site The Foursquare Rum Pirate…..

I do not believe the re-invigoration of Foursquare Rum Distillery over the past couple of years and the rise in the popularity of “pure” additive free rum is a coincidence. Richard has worked hard with Luca to promote this, alongside the Gargano Rum Classification. They have also set up the collective which is known as The Guardians of Rum.  You do not apply to be a member of this group you are chosen.  You should wear your badge with pride.  As one of the Guardians you may think I am biased towards Foursquare.

And you would be right to think that.  I am hugely biased as they consistently put out fantastic rum.  At the same time I will always honestly evaluate their products.

Anyway lets look at what we are getting this time.  Criterion is a rum which as been aged for ten years in ex-Bourbon and Madeira casks.  It is a Single Blended Rum of Pot and Column distillates.  It was bottled in April 2017 and has an ABV of 56%.  The rum was initially aged for 3 years in ex-bourbon before being further matured for 7 years in very old (Richard’s words) ex-Madeira wine casks.

The rum is the fifth release in the Exceptional Cask Series and the first to have a cork stopper.  A lot of people have moaned about Foursquare using screw caps for their Doorly’s and Exceptional Cask Series.  So finally we have a cork, albeit it synthetic.

The rum is one of only 2000 bottles.  Discussion online has thrown up varying figures of how many are available worldwide.  This is just the European edition from what I understand.  The US bottling will presumably be in 750ml bottles so may have its own number run.  Which is fine.  I’ve picked up enough to keep me going for now.

Foursquare Rum Distillery Criterion rum review by the fat rum pirateCurrently Criterion is only available in the UK from the Whisky Exchange.  It retails at £56.95.  Which I think is more than a reasonable price to pay for a Cask Strength 10 Year Old rum.  Especially when you know how well Foursquare blends their rums.

Criterion –  a principle or standard by which something may be judged or decided. Richard has went for slightly cryptic names for his recent releases.  He wasn’t comfortable calling another rum a “finish” when it has been matured and Zinfandel Cask Blend wasn’t exactly very snappy either.

Anyway lets move onto the review and see what the liquid inside is like.

In the glass the rum is a orange/reddish/brown.  The rum has no colour added to it. The colour is down to the time spent in the barrel.

Nosing the rum you get a very nicely balanced spirit.  Even at 56% there is no overwhelming strong alcohol notes.  It is unmistakably a Foursquare rum.  Even amongst Bajan rums I can still pick out something from Foursquare.  The overall balance just always seems a touch better than the likes of Cockspur and even Mount Gay.

There is a really nice richness to the nose.  The Madeira cask has left its mark but it isn’t as sweet smelling as the Port cask.  It is not quite as fruity as the Zinfandel Blend either.  The Madeira cask has instead imparted a rich deep almost red wine/grape like note with a really deep hit of oak and raisin.  The Bourbon notes so prevalent in the 2004 Foursquare are way down the mix with this blend.

Sipped Criterion is surpringly easy to drink even at Cask Strength.  A drop or two of water do it no harm either.  It’s quite intense so you can dial it down to around 46% with water and you won’t feel you are missing out.

On the initial sip it is to begin very sweet.  On the tongue it is very sweet. Once yourFoursquare Rum Distillery Criterion rum review by the fat rum pirate taste buds get a hold of the rum you begin to appreciate more the complexity of the blend.  The zesty/spicy bourbon notes muted on nosing are there.  Reassuring and familiar but they are carried long with a rich deep smoky oak.  Which in turn are presented alongside some rich raisin and an almost sherried note.

Like the Port and Zinfandel rums that went before this Criterion is classic Foursquare but with a very definite twist.

Finish wise Criterion offers a long and satisfying experience.  Again great balance, strong oak notes and plenty fruit and spicy zest.  Whether you will fully appreciate it or go for another sip is another matter.  It’s very moorish.

You could look at my reviews and conclude that I really like Foursquare rums.  You could say I’m a bit of a “fan-boy”.  If anyone does think I maybe overrate their juice giving another of their rums a perfect score my reply is simple…..

Name some better rums than this, ones that I also haven’t rated very highly.

This stuff is world class and a true representation of what a premium rum should and more importantly CAN be.

When rum is as good as this it is indeed FUN!

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