The Real McCoy Rum Aged 12 Years

The Real McCoy Aged 12 Years Rum Review by the fat rum pirateIn 1920, when prohibition began, Captain Bill McCoy made a name for himself as America’s first “Rum Runner”.  He always delivered the finest quality rum which became known around the world as “The Real McCoy”.

I’ve no idea how true this is.  I’ve every confidence if I trawl the internet I will find various different stories about the origins of the term “The Real McCoy”.  In the UK a popular crisp brand are term the “Real McCoy’s”.

Curiosity will no doubt lead me to search the origin, however that’s not the point I’m trying to make.  The point is it doesn’t matter what the back story to this rum is.  As it has no bearing on what is actually contained in the bottle.

If indeed the rum is “Following McCoy’s Prohibition Tradition” as the label states,. then it is extremely unlikely that is really being produced today with the same “unadulterated authenticity” as it was back in the 1920’s.  I for one hope it isn’t, as I can imagine the rum he actually smuggled into the US was the worst of the worst kind of kill devil!

The Real McCoy is aimed mainly at the US market.  It seems that like no other place on earth a good marketing story really sells it for the Americans.  Being fair I think it also works for most of the halfwits that live on this little island across the pond as well……..

What the Real McCoy really should be focusing on is the juice in the bottle.  Now whilst the whole marketing ploy is everything you would expect in the name of “Super Duper Premium Rum” – this is also noted as being “a super premium sipping rum to rival the world’s finest spirits”, it does have perhaps the biggest saving grace a rum can be afforded.

The Real McCoy 12 Year rum review by the fat rum pirateOn the reverse of the bottle below the marketing/fairy story right at the bottom of the label

“Distilled and bottled by Foursquare Distillery. Product of Barbados”

So this must be similar to Rum Sixty Six and Doorly’s 12? At least standard wise you know to expect something pretty decent!

I don’t think this rum has actually been given an official UK release (I had thought that this was just Rum Sixty Six for the US market).  As a result its price can vary quite greatly for the 750ml (US size) bottle.  Coming in at 40% ABV it is anything from £35 upto £45.  Obviously I paid £35 as I’m a thrifty shopper!

Thinking this was the same as Rum Sixty Six I asked Richard Seale who confirmed this was in fact a different blend “More Pot Still Rum in the blend” and with some caramel colouring to suit the US market.  (Please note caramel colouring in small doses does not change taste, just appearance).

Like the Rum Sixty Six you get a nice corked enclosure with this stubby style bottle.  The labelling is bold and uncluttered.  It isn’t outstanding but I could see me picking this off the shelf.  Note to the distributor – I would pick it up a lot quicker if had Foursquare Distillery more prominently on the label…….

Reviewing rum is quite an expensive “hobby” so I usually tend not to buy to many similar rums.  However the value and consistent excellence of Foursquare’s offering mean I do not mind picking up their rums even if they are similar.  I have three 12 year old rums from Foursquare and I will be doing a direct comparison article soon.  Being honest whilst I can note differences when I try them back to back I am not sure I could positively identify one from the other blind….maybe I just need more practice.

From what I can gather the rums in the Real McCoy blend are matured only in bourbon casks rather than some of the fortified wine finishes/maturations of other Foursquare rums.  As part of this review I won’t compare to the other 12 year old Foursquare rums I have reviewed.  I think it will make the future article more interesting.

The Real McCoy 12 year old rum review by the fat rum pirate

The nose on the Real McCoy screams “Bajan”.  It also has some very Bourbon like sweet/sour like notes, with some real chunky oaky notes.  This remind me slightly of the more charred oak notes of Mount Gay’s Black Barrel rum.

Despite all this the nose still has the more familiar Bajan notes of vanilla and light fruits, a little banana.

It is rich, intense and quite spicy.  12 Years in Bourbon casks make this very oaky yet not overly dry.  It’s a mouth waterer of a rum and the feeling will be very familiar to anyone who drinks bourbon.  It really hits the taste buds that react to sweet and sour notes.

Although I have never reviewed Bourbon (or whisky) I have experienced a good few.  This is very clearly rum – no dispute but it does have some similarities to the great American spirit.

There is a note of light tobacco smoke which also runs through this rum.  Again as with all Foursquare rums.  There is a lot explore and savour.  At the same time as producing something which is quite familiar Richard has also sought to challenge the palate of the rum drinker.

Initially there is a lot of sweet orange citrus and more bitter zest when sipped, moving onto charred oak notes, spicy black pepper and those smoky tobacco notes.  The finish is actually quite spicy and tingly but in no way unpleasant and longlasting.

Another classic rum from a classic distillery.  Worth every penny even if I had paid £45!

4.5 stars







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6 comments on “The Real McCoy Rum Aged 12 Years

  1. Curious if you ever got to the comparison of the 3 12 years mentioned in this review?

  2. There is also a limited edition version with a white label that is bottled at 46% ABV and according to the information on the label, it has been finished in madeira casks for the last three years of ageing. Having tasted both version, I would say that the limited edition is a much more balanced, and also pronounced rum (the higher ABV goes a long way here), exhibiting extraordinary balance found in few rums. I highly recommend this version for both review and personal consumption purposes! Cheers!

    • Thanks we are still waiting for it here in the UK

  3. I was so glad to read your review of Real McCoy 12. My local liquor store carries it. I looked once but that was before I’d heard of Foursquare. The story on the bottle made me afraid it was just marketing covering up another mediocre rum.
    And you are so right about us Americans falling for a good story!

  4. In terms of a UK release John Lewis, of all places, stock the 3 year old and 5 year old variants (for £30 an £35 respectively).
    It’s pretty evident that they add colouring. The 3 year old is crystal clear but the 5 year old looks like shoe polish : )

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