Foursquare Rum Distillery Sassafras

Foursquare Rum Distillery Sassafras Rum review by the fat rum pirateFoursquare Rum Distillery Sassafras. Had Foursquare called their iconic first collaboration with Velier Sassafras instead of 2006 – then this rum could have been called Sassafras 2. This release is essentially 2006, only older to all intents and purposes.

We’ve not seen a lot of Foursquare rum that has been matured in ex-cognac casks. The excellent 2013 and 2006 being the only ones I can think of. Sadly for me those are both rums which I no longer have access to. I did buy multiple bottles of the 2013 and intended to keep a bottle back. Unfortunately, I ended up drinking it.

I’m sure a lot of you probably think I have a huge collection of rum. The reality is I rarely have more than 10 open or available bottles. I don’t tend to buy multiple bottles very often and I do drink what I have. I know a lot of other reviewers often refer back to older bottlings and compare and contrast. I’m rarely in a position to do that other than from memory. I have a collection of perhaps around 50 “rare” bottles – a couple of Velier Demerara’s, Foursquare ECS, limited edition Worthy Parks and a few Independent bottlings. I could buy more rum than I do but I tend to stick to a monthly budget. In all honesty I think I get my priorities about right in that respect.

Anyway enough about me lets get on with the review. That’s what you are here for!

Foursquare Rum Distillery Sassafras as noted already has been partially aged in ex-cognac casks. It has been matured for 3 years in ex-bourbon before being transferred to ex-cognac casks for a further 11 years of tropical maturation on Barbados. It was bottled in November 2020. I guess they could have called this 2006 – 2 but that would have looked a bit silly I think.

The rum is Single Blended so it is rum from a Single Distillery and is a Blend of Pot and Column distilled rum. It has been bottled at Cask Strength 61% ABV.

Presentation wise it comes in the classic opaque Velier bottle with the sturdy cardboard sleeve. The colour scheme used for this release is black, white and red. As with most Velier releases the presentation is fairly basic but striking nonetheless and focuses on giving the consumer information about the actual rum rather than fFoursquare Rum Distillery Sassafras Rum review by the fat rum pirateairy tales.

There are 6,000 bottles of this Limited Edition release available worldwide. Retail it will be priced at around the £/€180 mark, when it hits out shelves.

As far as the name is concerned Sassafras is an aromatic flower/tree. It was in the past used to flavour Root Beer though most brands now use an artificial Sassafras flavouring as the base. Some use a Sassafras extract that doesn’t have the chemical compound Safrole which is carcinogen. For more technical information please see the Wikipedia page. I don’t really understand it all/lack interest. I have been reassured by Richard Seale that no Sassafras was used in the making of the rum it is just in his words “a symbolic link”.

So lets see what this latest Foursquare/Velier collaboration is like shall we?

In the glass Foursquare Rum Distillery Sassafras is mahogany colour with an orange hue. It is dark and intense looking.

The nose is full of dark dried fruits – sultana and raisins. The fruitiness is added to in the shape of redcurrants and blackberries. Lurking just beneath the fruitiness is a layer of well integrated oak spice with rich dark vanilla and a little citrus and some pineapple.

There is an almost smoky richness to this rum. It’s quite woody but the fruitiness stops it feeling over oaked or “old”. It remains rich and vibrant. There’s a hint of tobacco and something which I can’t quite put my finger on but I think when Dave Broom used the term “old leather armchairs” I’m getting a similar kind of vibe. This is familiar and comforting.

Further nosing reveals more of cognac like influence. I’m getting some orange zest and a lighter white grape note.

It’s a very complex nose but even at 61% ABV the alcohol feels very much in tandem with the aromas. It’s not at all boozy. Just very, very nice!

One last nose before I dig in reveals a sweeter toffee and caramel note and some walnuts? There’s just so much going on with this.

Sipped, the entry is as the nose suggests quite intense with lots of flavour coming at you. It starts with an intense rush of dark fruits and quickly opens up into a mid palate with an array of oak spice, vanilla, quite heavy tannins and some lighter notes of toasted coconut.

This is a more intense tasting experience than, for example Detente. The flavours seem more concentrated and the overall make up of this rum is quite heavy (in Barbados terms anyway). It is very drinkable and very tasty but I’m taking more time between sips with this one.

The finish is extremely long and not overly heavy on the oak or to dry. As is the hallmark of all Foursquare’s rums this is beautifully balanced. The blending at Foursquare is for me up there with the very best, if not the best in the world today.

The rum slowly faFoursquare Rum Distillery Sassafras Rum review by the fat rum piratedes out with the dried fruit notes accompanied by lovely warming oak, vanilla and a slight kick of black pepper.

This will sell very quickly I’m sure. However, with 6,000 bottles available those that do want a bottle to drink – should be able to pick one up without too much of a problem. Especially those lucky enough to be in mainland Europe.

Quite what Brexit will mean for us in the UK – I’m not too sure. So I’m pleased I was given the chance to sample the first bottle which made it over here privately!

Another exceptional Foursquare.





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