Holmes Cay Single Cask Rum Barbados 2005

Holmes Cay Single Cask Rum Barbados 2005 rum review by the fat rum pirateHolmes Cay Barbados 2005 Single Cask Rum. Holmes Cay are a new Independent bottler based in New York City. So for once US rum fans you have one over us Europeans! Add further insult to injury, this their first release is currently only distributed in New York. In part due to the US’s insane liquor laws.

Which is a bit of a shame for anyone outside of New York but I am sure that the 504 bottles of this Foursquare 2005 bottling will sell out pretty quickly! So good news for Holmes Key and their founder Eric Kaye.

You may well be wondering how I a native of the North East of England came by this particular rum. Well, I am reviewing this from a sample kindly provided to me by Eric at this years London Rumfest. Obviously before accepting this sample I ensure I knew exactly what I was getting in the bottle…..

Holmes Cay Single Cask Rum Barbados 2005 was distilled at Foursquare Rum Distillery. It was aged for 11 years in the tropics before being bought by an independent rum broker and shipped to the UK for a further 3 years, for what we now term continental ageing. As mentioned earlier there are 504 bottles available of this release from two different casks. So a Foursquare completist may seek a bottle of both. The entire maturation has been in ex-bourbon casks. It was bottled in October 2019. it is as most Foursquare rums tend to be a blend of both pot and column distilled rum blended together in the barrel.

My sample is from Cask no.2 and was bottled at 64.3% ABV Cask Strength. No additives and no colourings required. The rum retails at $149.

Should you require further information on Holmes Cay or want a list of stockists then their website is here.

Now I’m not in the habit of taking samples direct from bottlers/producers. Whilst I have around 400 samples at home around 95% come from fellow enthusiasts. Thing is I know this is going to be a decent standard, so what the heck!

In th glass we have a dark brown spirit with an orange/red hue. Holmes Cay Barbados 2005 has a very familiar nose. I’ve reviewed so many Foursquare rums over the past five years that I can tell straight away now when I am presented with a Foursquare.

This particular offering has quite a lot of coconut on the nose. Ripe banana, vanilla, a touch of peach and some lovely well integrated oak spice. There is a little more oomph here than with the 40-46% ABV Foursquare’s but it still has a really nice balance on the nose.

Further nosing reveals chopped nuts, a touch of raisin, red grape and a tiny hint of citrus. A very slight oily note as well.

It’s all really good and really beautifully balanced. Comparisons to rums such as the Exceptional Cask Series 2004, 2005 and 2007 are ineveitable. I would also add Rum Sixty Six Cask Strength to that mix. Should you wish to know how Holmes Cay Barbados 2005 fared in a blind taste testing of other Foursquare rums then you should visit Rum Revelations for a run down.

Sipped at full ABV Holmes Cay Barbados 2005 is initially a little bit too much. You need a couple of sips to get accustomed to the high ABV. You might even need a drop or two of water. It’s very much your choice to drink at a ABV that suits your palate. Not everyone appreciates rum at such a high ABV.

Holmes Cay Barbados 2005 is a spicy and quite oaky rum on the initial sip or two. Lots of oak and spicy ginger mingles alongside a good hit of white pepper and some wood chips. The more you sip the more you notice the flavours that were on the nose.

Vanilla and coconut creep back into the mix as your palate settles down to this rum. Stoned fruits and some red grapes give the mid palate a slightly tannic note. This is a big complex rum. Yes it is typical Foursquare and isn’t a hundred miles away from a lot of other Foursquare rums, but it more than holds it own.

Holmes Cay Barbados 2005 is a really well balanced and well developed rum. The mix of tropical and continental ageing has worked really well in this instance. At 14 years in the tropics this might have got a bit too woody. This is pretty much perfect in terms of maturation.Holmes Cay Single Cask Rum Barbados 2005 rum review by the fat rum pirate

As you sip more you notice more complexity – almonds and peanuts come into the mix alongside banana and some ginger. The spiciness builds on the mid palate and as you move onto the finish you have a really complex and very long lasting array of spices and oak.

A really good barrel pick from Holmes Cay. This is a great example of Foursquare rum. No second maturation all ex-bourbon aged. The base spirit really shines here.




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