Velier Foursquare 2006

Velier Foursquare 2006 Rum Review by the fat rum pirateThe first collaboration between Velier and Foursquare Distillery, Barbados.  This will certainly not be the last.  With Velier no longer issuing their acclaimed aged Demerara rums from DDL, Luca Gargano has began sourcing rum from other distilleries to release under the Velier banner.

As well as working together on this release Luca and Richard Seale of Foursquare distillery have also begun a project entitled “Guardians of Rum”.  The group is a collective of rum producers, writers and enthusiasts who champion and promote “pure” rum.  I’m pleased to say I was granted entry to this group when I finally met Richard in October 2016.

Key to the determination of “Pure” rum is the Gargano Classification system.  Luca has suggested the following

  1. Pure Single Rum – 100% pot (i.e. batch) still
  2. Single Blended Rum – a blend of only pot still and traditional column still
  3. Rum – rum from a traditional column still
  4. Industrial Rum – Modern multi-column still

Released earlier this year this sold out virtually immediately.  With 2400 bottles available worldwide there was quite a scramble for the rum.  Some were surprised by this.  To be honest I wasn’t, with little output from Velier (other than the younger Habitation releases) in terms of aged rums since 2014 Velier fans had money burning a whole in their pocket.

Sadly a lot of this was immediately put up for re-sale and it seems a lot is not going to be drank anytime soon either.  It was virtually impossible to get a bottle of this in the UK.  Fortunately after much grumbling by a few of us over here Richard/Luca made available a few bottles from their own “stash” at London Rumfest.  The retail price was £110.

So what are you getting for your £110 because that is expensive by Foursquares usual standards at least?

First up you get the classic Velier opaque tall bottle and a colour coded sleeve (red and white).  The rum is denoted in line with the Gargano classification as a Single Blended rum.  It is bottled at Cask Strength 62% ABV and the Angel’s Share was a frightening 72%.  It is a 10 year old double matured rum – 3 years spent in Bourbon barrels and 7 years in ex-Cognac casks.  All ageing (unlike many Independent bottlings) has been done in the tropics.  Which accounts for the huge Angel’s Share.  The rum is a blend of rums from a double retort pot still and a traditional Coffey column still. 

velier Foursquare 2006 Rum Review by the fat rum pirate

As part of their releases Foursquare have already toyed with “finishes” or double maturations (the Port and Zinfandel cask spring to mind) and higher proof/ABV spirits (the own 2004 release earlier this year).  With this Velier release we are getting both.

When poured the 2006 is a rich reddish brown it looks noticeably a shade darker than most of Foursquares output.

The nose also seems to be ramped up a little.  Even taking into account the extra ABV everything seems just a touch more concentrated.

Which I guess is part of Velier’s trademark – richer more concentrated rums than many of their competitors.  The richness of the nose brings forward a lot of fruity flavour – a hint even of black berries alongside more familiar banana and pineapple sweetness.  There is an almost syrupy caramel note in the rum and also integrated into the balanced nose are some wafts of vanilla essence and a nice reassuring spicy oak hit as you nose deeper.

It doesn’t smell especially strong or potent.  There is nothing screaming out from the glass saying “extreme alcohol content beware” like many “overproof” rums do. I’ll make a distinction here between what I would truly class an Overproof rum and how I view a Cask Strength rum.

An overproof for me is made for mixing in cocktails or adding as a float in relatively small measures.  They are not really intended for drinking neat or sipping.  A Cask Strength spirit is really something for a more experienced sipper.  Something they can play around adding water if they so wish to try and coax all the flavours out.

Anyway I digress.  It is possible to sip this rum at 62% ABV there is a lot of flavour to be had from doing so but it does leave you with a very mouth feel and I find a certain amount of numbness and tinglyness in parts.  I’m getting a lot of big fruity concentrated flavours – blackcurrants, raisin, and a touch of red wine.  The oak is also very prominent.  For me I feel the more nuanced elements of the rum are being overtaken by the strength of the spirit.

Velier Foursquare 2006 Rum Review by the fat rum pirateA few drops of water should calm things down and allow the more subtle notes of a Bajan rum to shine more.  It’s not an easy going Bajan style rum.  It’s a bit more challenging especially in comparison to the Zinfandel cask blend.  You’ll be surprised to find liquorice makes an appearance. 

This rum is a bit of contradiction in that it is initially very fruity but quickly becomes dry and quite oaky.  The mid section of this seems to pass from full fruity flavours into dry intense oak quite quickly.  The finish is a medium length and is full of spicy bourbon oaked notes.

This is a complex, intense and challenging rum.  For a Bajan rum it will surprise quite a few people.

The thing with Velier and Foursquare is that the bar is set so high that you start to review the against each other rather than everything else.  For my own personal preference I would prefer the sweetness to linger longer and the dry finish to be less, well dry.  But am I being too critical?

I am, this is still one of the best 20 rums I have ever tasted.  Easily.  Is it the best Foursquare rum I have ever had? The jury is out on that one at the moment but its certainly up there.

And that is not a bad place to be!  This really has in many peoples minds became this years rum.

5 stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

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