Doorly’s XO Fine Old Barbados Rum

DOORLY'S XO RUM REVIEW BARBADOS SEALE BAJANDoorly’s XO Fine Old Barbados Rum.  From the house of Martin Doorly no less.  None the wiser? No me neither.  The rum is produced by R. L. Seale at the wonderful Foursquare Distillery.  So what does this Doorly fellow have to do with it exactly?

Well, in 1906 the Rum Duty Act was passed and this caused considerable changes to how rum was distributed in Barbados.  The new law meant that distilleries had to obtain a licence and could only sell rums in bulk.  Many of the distillers became bottlers instead. Of these Martin Doorly & Co.  The growth of branded names began and Martin Doorly evolved into Doorly Macaw Rum and became the first bottled rum to be exported from the island.

As time has passed the company was bought out by R.L. Seale who continues to make Doorly’s rum.  The front of the bottle gives a little information on how Doorly’s XO is matured for a second time in Oloroso Sherry Casks.  (From my limited understanding of Sherry this is a sweeter blend but don’t quote me on that).

Unlike Rum Sixty Six  (12 Year Old) and R.L. Seale’s 10 Year Old there is no defining age statement on this rum.  Whilst usually this might cause a critical eye to be passed over the rum, in this instance as it is Richard Seale distilling few people will suggest he does this in order to give the impression the rum is older than stated.  The rums in this blend have been quoted online as being anywhere from 6 to 12 years in age.  The age of the rum probably varies from time to time, to enable consistent flavour and blending.  I have seen very little in the other reviews of the Doorly’s XO which suggests that anyone has found this rum to be a disappointment or more to the point taste cheap.

The presentation of the bottle is another of our stubby little friends which I so enjoy.  There is a slight disappointment with regard the blue screw top lid.  However, such is the price of all of Four Squares common offerings (£35 would seem to be the ceiling) I would rather see costs cut in terms of bottle tops than quality of rum.  Doorly’s XO is available in the UK at around £25-30 and is fairly common in specialist wine merchants, department stores and “proper” off licenses (i.e. not corner shops).  Due to the similarity in the bottle make sure you do no confuse Doorly’s XO with the 5 year old.  They are two different rums, the 5 year old is around £20 and well worth seeking out.  (This is another reason why the rum in this blend must be quite well aged).  The rum is bottled at 40% ABV

The front label of the rum also states that this is a “rum without equal” and the rear label simply states “There are rums for those who know and then there is Doorly’s XO for those who know better!”  Thinks a lot of himself this Martin Doorly……..Doorly's XO Rum Review Barbados Seale Bajan

Onto the tasting and testing.  The Doorlys presents itself as lovely golden/reddish brown in the bottle and in the glass.  It has that distinctive light and fruity Bajan nose.  Tropical Fruits and vanilla with a little sweet toffee.  It’s nicely balanced and subtle on the nose.

When sipped the rum is initially quite sweet with notes of toffee, banana, a little orange and citrusy lemon/lime.  It’s a classic Bajan blend.  As an introduction to the overall style of a Bajan rum, Doorlys would be a classic example.  It is smooth with very little afterburn.  The finish is long and quite spicy with a hint of oak.  For my palate the fruitiness in this particular blend (I presume from the ageing in Oloroso Sherry Casks) leads me to prefer it over R.L. Seale’s 10 Year Old – today.  However, on days where I seek a less fruitier more oaked drink I probably will opt for a 10 Year Old.  For those not familiar with Bajan style rum – the rum is a little on the dry side.

With Doorlys XO £25-30, R.L. Seales 10 Year Old £30-35 and Rum Sixty Six £30-35 you could easily pick up three excellent Bajan expressions for under £100.  To say one is better than the other would be dangerous.  The snob in you may think that the Rum Sixty Six will be the best as its the oldest.  In much the same way many prefer El Dorado 12 year old to the 15 year old (and even the 21) it will come down to personal preference and possibly even a just a case of what you fancy on the day.

The three rum’s are very similar in a lot of ways but when tasted side by side you will find that Doorlys XO and Rum Sixty Six are much fruitier than the oakier R.L. Seales 10 Year Old.

I’ve had few disappointments with my rum adventures to the island of Barbados (sadly not actually visiting but one day!).  I can only really think of Mount Gay Eclipse and Plantations 5 Year Old Grand Reserve (which I think I do need to re-visit anyway) that I didn’t really enjoy.  Foursquare Distillery have yet to disappoint me and I would personally rank this as there second best rum next to Rum Sixty Six.  If we then take that into a face off between Cockspur 12 and Rum Sixty Six – I can’t split the two.

This is a classic Bajan style rum which has no additives (other than Oloroso Sherry Casks).  It is rum as rum is when it isn’t “fannied about with”.  It might not appeal to those more familiar with the new breed of sweet “premium sipping rum’s”.  It might even confuse those more familiar with Demerara or Navy Style rums.  It’s not pungent or high ester like the Jamaican rums, it offers a rum experience more akin to the Cuban style.  Subtle, well balanced and slightly dry.

This is a classic rum.

4 stars




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4 comments on “Doorly’s XO Fine Old Barbados Rum

  1. […] Some of which are only a few pounds more expensive now than this. I’m thinking the likes of Doorly’s XO or Mount Gay XO (which may be due a price hike with the new […]

  2. Also my favourite pairer with a Cuban cigar.

  3. Out of all the rums I’ve had out of all the rums there is on the market, if you asked me to pick which one would define RUM the most, it will be this one, followed by Chairmans Reserve. For me it has to be dark, even if I know it has been coloured, it seems to have a placebo affect on me! Smooth,and tasty no nonsense rum.

  4. Absolutely fab rum, and priced lower than it should for the amazing quality. A classic.

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