Foursquare Rum Distillery St Philip, Barbados. For many people Barbados is the birthplace of rum. Which is handy because in the Richard Seale Foursquare have one of the most vocal rum producers.
Passionately against additives and very much against the more secretive side of the rum world Richard is currently involved with Luca Gargano of Velier in educating and trying to push through new classifications of rum.
Calling for greater transparency and more information about the actual rum in the bottle rather than the faux marketing stories, the label used on this offering is giving the consumer much more information about the bottles contents.
This Zinfandel Cask Blend is a mix of Pot and Column distilled rum which has been first aged in Bourbon casks before being finished in Zinfandel casks. In total the rum has been aged for 11 years. The Zinfandel Cask Blend is Mark IV of the “Exceptional Cask Selection”. Regular readers will be aware that the similarly packaged Port Cask Finish swept the Rum of the Year for 2015 on this website and was the pick of the new rums released in 2015 for many other people as well.
The rum has been bottled at 43% and it retails at around the £40 mark in the UK. It has only very recently finally reached our shores and as with many Foursquare rums it is being distributed by Marussia Beverages of Holland. Strangely much like last year its release and availability has combined with a new release in the Doorly’s range – an 8 year old aged solely in bourbon casks.
Foursquare have released quite a few new rums over the past few years such as the Real McCoy range, Doorly’s 12 and the Exceptional Cask releases. They also have a couple of bottlings due in conjunction again with Luca Gargano of Velier. Independent bottlers such as Compagnie des Indes and Berrys’ have also continued to release rums distilled at Foursquare.
Before I start the tasting notes I will make something very clear to avoid any possible confusion. As with the Port Cask from last year this Zinfandel cask rum has a sweeter profile than a Foursquare rum which has been aged solely in Bourbon casks. The term sweet will be used in the review but please do not confuse this with a rum which has been sweetened with added sugar or artificial additives. It is not sweet in the sense of Diplomatico or Ron Zacapa rums. It is not a syrupy sugary rum.
The Zinfandel Cask Blend is very similar in appearance to the Port Cask (Foursquare do add Caramel colouring to their rums) – it is a nice reddish brown colour.
I’m not a huge wine buff and I have only come across White Zinfandel Rose Wine. However Zinfandel grapes also produce red wines. The nose is delicate yet bursting with light fruity flavours. It does remind me of Zinfandel Rose – nice sweet red berries, a little blackcurrant gives a little extra depth. There is a little oak on the nose and some familiar vanilla and a little light caramel/toffee. It has similarities to the Port Cask finish but it has a slightly lighter fruitier nose. As with all Foursquare rums there are no “off notes” or anything that doesn’t seem to be working in harmony. The balance is pretty much perfect.
Taste wise the rum delivers everything the nose promises. Light fruity strawberries, a great mix of vanilla and a really nice warming mix of oak and some great mouth watering spicy notes on the mid palate. The finish is long and nicely oaked – the initial sweetness of the sip gives way to the oak and spice from the bourbon casks. At 43% it is pretty much at optimum sipping strength. It is sweet and light yet robust enough to satisfy a more seasoned rum sipper. For those who prefer heavier rums such as Caroni or aged Demerara this rum may be a little on the sweet side but in my opinion it offers a very good alternative to the more standard Bajan rums. For those who enjoy El Dorado, Zacapa etc this may be a rum which shows how “sweet” can be achieved without any additives or “secret recipes”.
Although this is a very agreeable and easy rum to drink I also feel it offers more than enough complexity and depth of flavour. I would have a real issue with any genuine rum fan who didn’t enjoy this rum.
The Zinfandel Cask Blend is classic Foursquare but with just enough difference to make it stand out from other more standard Bajan rums. The finish works exceptionally well and really adds an extra layer of fruity flavour and spicy zest.
When you consider the whole package – this costs just £40 it is really is a bit of a no brainer when it comes to scoring. The only slight criticism would be the screw cap. I can counter that argument with the following – this isn’t a rum that will be sticking around long in your collection unless you buy multiple bottles.
Which is one thing I’ll be doing!