Foursquare Rum Distillery Zinfandel Cask Blend

Foursquare zinfandel cask blend rum review by the fat rum pirateFoursquare 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.

Foursquare Zinfandel Cask Blend Rum Review by the fat rum pirateBefore 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 though possibly not these ECS releases) – it is a nice reddish brown colour nonetheless.

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”.

Foursquare Zinfandel Cask Blend Rum review by the fat rum pirateAlthough 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!

5 stars










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12 comments on “Foursquare Rum Distillery Zinfandel Cask Blend

  1. Hi Fat Rum Pirate, big fan.
    Love this rum and enjoyed the review however the bit about the White Zinfandel Rose made me cringe. I’m sure you know by now that Zinfandel is a red grape that can produce big, rich and robust reds that respond well to oak ageing. White Zinfandel is the evil by-product that is sickly sweet and confected and drunk by teenagers mixed with lemonade to make it even sweeter.
    With all these wine style cask finishes that rum is seeing these days (Port, sherry, red wine etc.) it would be good to understand what the effect of the cask is having on the rum – which I don’t think you captured here. Just a bit of honest feedback. Please don’t shoot me!

    • Apologies been a long time since I read this review. Thanks for the feedback

  2. […] Foursquare 11-year-old Zinfandel Cask […]

  3. I just asked Richard Seale. Probably he will answer to this here soon.

    • I’m sure he don’t put anything in his rums anyway.
      He is a #GuardianOfRum

  4. Whisky fans often complain about use of caramel colouring. Interestingly though most of the “old greats” were all coloured, unlike today’s “modern mediocrities”. If used in moderation, caramel colouring is virtually indistinguishable. Malt Maniacs have done some great testing here, and results make an interesting read – google it to find it, anyone who’s truly interested in the topic.

    In Germany the bottlings are required to be marked “mit farbstoff”, whereas in UK at least they were not in the past (dunno about now?). So for a lot of folks it came as a suprise to see many old greats contained tiny amounts of caramel colouring. In the rum world caramel colouring is falsely linked by many to sweetness – has nothing to do with that. But of course announcing that a product has it / doesn’t have it is a good thing – gives us the possibility to choose. I am not a fanatic on this particular additive, unless it is used excessively (think Cu Dubh). In the latter case it is awful.

  5. You stated that foursquare do add colouring to their rums! I am under the impression the Richard Seale does not mess with his rums…i am shocked…..or is this a typo?

    • Most commercial bottlers add Caramel for colouring. Some more than others. Foursquare are no different. Adding caramel colouring is different than adding sugar or additives (although some may argue otherwise)

      • Well, that totally bursts my bubble. I thought Foursquare was the Compass Box of rums! Although I guess I should have known that Doorly’s XO doesn’t end up that color naturally after 6-8 years in barrels, even if it is aged in a hot climate.

        They (Foursquare) should definitely look into dropping the added color for their special releases like this one. I’m sure there’s enough color from the barrels (especially zin and port) – just look at what Springbank does with their Red line.

        • Why do you feel so strongly about caramel colouring? Many would not buy rum that was a natural colour

          • I guess it’s a personal preference, but I don’t think any spirit needs coloring or any additives, including rum. Coming from the Scotch world, as Ralfy Mitchell put it best, ‘the only purpose for caramel [coloring] in whisky is to deceive’ – I couldn’t agree more.

            I took to Twitter to ask Foursquare about this issue…
            … and they interestingly said the Port Cask bottling does not have added color. I really appreciate their response and willingness to communicate details.

  6. Couldn’t agree more with this. Balance of the rum is bang on and, as you say, that little elevated sweetness from the wine casks gives it a little extra. I’m in a quandary, I think I prefer this to the port cask, which is a big shout as that was my favourite rum last year too. I to better get stocking up!

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