Foursquare Rum Distillery Port Cask Finish

Foursquare Port Finish rum review by the fat rum pirateFoursquare Rum Distillery, St Philip, Barbados really should need no introduction.  Originally set up by Reginald Leon Seale the great-great grandfather of the current Master Blender and Distiller Richard Seale, the distillery has become the byword for classic Caribbean rum.

Any new release from Foursquare is always welcome.  The 2012 UK release of Rum Sixty Six was a welcome edition to the Foursquare portfolio, which also includes R L Seale’s 10 Year Old and the Doorly’s series of rums.  US drinkers may also be familiar with The Real McCoy range of rums.  In 2015 (and in particular August) we have been well and truly spoiled here in the UK.  Not only has Richard released the long anticipated Doorly’s 12 but has also decided that 9 years (quite an unusual age for a rum) has been long enough for us to wait for this latest offering.

The Port Cask Finish is a Limited Edition with around 12,000 bottles available in Europe.  Presentation wise the Port Cask Finish comes in the traditional slightly stubby Doorly’s bottle.  It is nicely weighted and the slightly bulbous neck makes it differ from most stubby style bottles.  However, I am slightly disappointed that like the Doorly’s XO I do not get a corked enclosure.  It is rather surprisingly a metallic screw cap again a la Doorly’s.  (In the US I understand you get a cork and a 750ml bottle)

At just over £30 a bottle this is really a minor quibble.  The rum is a limited release and the labelling, to me seems to be mimicking the kind of label’s distillers may place on casks whilst they are maturing or on test bottles. Like often given out at whisky distilleries for example.  It’s understated and really not very exciting.  It does though give you all the information you could want, unlike many bottles!

The Port Cask Finish is a blend of pot and column distilled rum all distilled, blended and bottled at Foursquare.  The Port Cask Finish is actually a bit misleading.  Many producers would rate it as “double aged”.  The rum is aged for 3 years in Bourbon Barrels and is then re-casked into 220 litre Port Casks for a second maturation of 6 years.  So whilst it is finished in Port it actually spends the bulk of its time in Port Casks.  Not merely dunked, like so many other fancy wine finishes are in the rum and whisky world.

In the UK a bottle of this rum will set you back just over £30 for a 70cl/700ml bottle.  The rum is 40% ABV.  Like all of Richard’s rums it is very fairly priced.  He could easily have sold this for £50 and no one would have blinked an eye.  I first tried this rum as part of a recent Twitter Tasting I took part in and I already had two bottles on pre-order.  A no brainer purchase really.Foursquare Port Rum Finish review by the fat rum pirate

The nose of the Port Cask Finish is classic Foursquare.  Light oak and gentle vanilla.  LIke Doorly’s XO it has a floral note to it with some rich tropical fruit.  Bajan rum is seen by some as being a little bit lightweight. It is quite a light and gentle style of rum but I’ve always found Bajan rum to be very enjoyable.  Variety is what I like about rum.  I also like authentic rum.

The Port Cask Finish has a very reddish tinge to it when it is in the bottle.  When it is poured in the glass it is quite a vivid reddish gold.  It is one of those rums that looks a lot of different colours depending on your viewpoint and the light.  It’s a golden rum stylistically for those who like to categorise such things.

When sipped, initially the rum has quite a lot of oak.  It’s very clean and smooth.  In terms of the actual spirit you will immediately feel that you are drinking something which is a little bit special.  It reminds me a little of Barbancourt 5 Star in terms of delivery.  It is very easy to sip with minimal burn and is way smoother than a single digit rum has any right to be.  The cask selection and blending to produce such a good “mid age” rum is to be applauded.  It offers an absolute minimum of alcohol burn but it still has enough rummy-ness to still make you feel like you are drinking rum.

The Port Cask Finish is slightly dry and the second glass when sipped seems much sweeter than the first.  The rum seems to build and offer more complexity the more time you spend with it.  (Believe me spending time with this rum will not be a problem!)  The Port finish is very evident with a kind of slightly tannic red wine bite to the rum which probably explains the slightly dry finish.  In spite of this, the rum really isn’t dry overall.  It is not as dry as MGXO and is certainly not as dry and oaky as Foursquare’s RL Seales 10 Year Old.

The overall profile of this rum is that of oak and fruit.  There is a little vanilla but the Port Cask really gives this rum a fruity/wine like kick.  The rum is sweet but please take into account that this rum does not suffer from any funny business.  No added sugar, no glycerin or flavourings, no macerated fruit and the finish in the Port Casks was done with no residual Port left in them not with a load of wine sloshing around in the cask!  These are all tricks that some other Premium Rum producers (and Independent bottlers) regularly use.  So when I say this is a sweet rum, it is sweet in comparison to other non adultered rums.  Do not compare this to Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva or El Dorado 12.  Very different animals.

Foursquare Port Rum Finish review by the fat rum pirateThe sweet notes are of Peaches, Vanilla, even some Red Apple the rum also has a hint of red wine/port which runs through it.  Giving a dried fruit note.  Combine this with some very nice and balanced oak ageing and we have another winner from Foursquare.

I wouldn’t consider mixing this rum as it has an added layer of complexity, which Doorly’s 5 for example doesn’t have (stick with that as a high quality mixer).  It is also slightly more refined and smoother than Doorly’s XO.  This is likely due to the 6 years in smaller Port Casks compared to the 2 years Doorly’s XO is in much larger Oloroso Sherry Butts.

It is (and this will not surprise many) really good.  When you begin to talk about which of Foursquare’s rums are better than the others, you really are talking about very minute variations.  They are all without doubt 4-5 star rums.  From my point of view and enjoying a slightly sweeter rum, I’m happy giving this a 5 star rating as I think it is every bit as good as my favourite Foursquare rum – Rum Sixty Six.  Deduct half a point if you prefer the drier R L Seale’s but to be honest just buy anything they put out. It’s all excellent!

I will shortly be reviewing Doorly’s 12, The Real McCoy 12 Year Old AND revisiting Rum Sixty Six (also a 12 year old).  So don’t be surprised if any of my ratings change by a half mark or so.  I’ll explain all as we progress.

5 stars

 

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