S.B.S – Single Barrel Selection Barbados 2008 Marsala Cask

SBS Barbados 2008 Marsala Cask Rum Review by the fat rum pirateS.B.S – Single Barrel Selection Barbados 2008 Marsala Cask. Single Barrel Selection is part of the 1423 groups output. Formed in 2008 1423 are based in Denmark and are headed up by co-owners Thomas Vogensen, Parminder S Bhatia and Joshua Singh.

1423 seek out single casks of rum and also bottle blends of rum in their Companera range. Their range has recently become more prominent in the UK thanks to Skylark Spirits who are importing the 1423 rums into the UK. Should you wish to learn more about 1423 they have a very informative website here.

Single Barrel Selection Barbados 2008 Marsala Cask is a rum which originally hailed from the Foursquare Rum Distillery. Probably the most popular distillery amongst enthusiasts at the moment. With the possible exception of the now defunct Caroni Distillery.

This rum is from a single barrel which yielded 371 bottles. It was distilled back in 2008 and was bottled in Denmark in 2017. Prior to bottling the rum was aged for 12 months in Denmark in ex-Marsala casks. The Marsala itself was aged for 5 years. It is unclear when the rum was originally brought to Europe, so I don’t know the percentage of Continental European/Tropical ageing.

The rum is currently available via Amazon priced at £89.99 for a 70cl bottle. The ABV on this one is 55% ABV. I am not sure if this is Cask Strength. I suspect not, it may have had some dilution in Denmark. It is noted as Non-Chill Filtered.

Presentation wise the design is modern using a short stubby style bottle with a cork stopper. The rum also comes with a card sleeve with a cut out which means you can still read the details on the bottle. Information wise the rum displays number of bottles, year of distillation etc prominently on the front label. The card sleeve helps the bottle stand out a but more – it’s reminiscent of the Compagnie des Indes sleeves. Though the 1423 bottles aren’t quite as colourful and striking.

In the glass Single Barrel Selection Barbados 2008 Marsala Cask is a dark reddish brown with orange flashes.

The nose is very inviting with lots of coconut and vanilla present. Further nosing reveals some plum and blackberry. Almost like a Mixed Fruit Jam.The Marsala cask finish is quite evident giving this rum a sweeter nose than you would encounter, in say Foursquare 2005 or Rum Sixty Six. There is a zesty freshness to the end of the nose and a slight spiciness – and a touch of smoke.

Sipped at the full 55% ABV this is very drinkable and very nicely done. The sip reveals more oak influence from the ex-bourbon maturation. Really nice notes again of the coconut followed by vanilla and some real good lemon zest. Tingly spices from the bourbon cask give this a really nice complex mouthfeel.

The mid palate is perhaps where the Marsala cask is most noticeable. Once the coconut and vanilla fade we are re-acquainted with the rich fruity notes – plum, tangerine and some blackberries/currants.

Finish wise it is quite a dry finish. Lots of woody oak notes and some real bourbon like notes. It’s light, refreshing. I like the way the initial sip, mid palate and finish all evolve and move into very different territories. It’s a really complex sip.

The Marsala cask doesn’t dominate this rum or take away any of the qualities that were present prior to the second maturation. Instead it adds a subtle extra layer of fruitiness which makes this rum different enough to warrant a purchase.

Price wisSBS Barbados 2008 Marsala Cask Rum Review by the fat rum piratee it is “expensive” should you compare it to Foursquare’s own releases. Ultimately it will depend on how much you need to try every Foursquare around. I would opt for something like this, with a different finish to many of the Indie bottlings currently available.

Believe me whilst a Indie bottling of Foursquare aged for around 12 years in ex-bourbon barrels is great – I wouldn’t say it is any better than the distilleries own bottlings. Some aren’t quite as good or two, three times the price.

As Foursquare have released so many of their own bottlings recently, this may only be for the hardcore. That said I have noticed that a number of enthusiasts have still been buying this. I doubt the 371 bottles will last very much longer.

1423 were responsible for the second maturation of the Worthy Park bottlings. The Marsala and Oloroso finish limited editions. They have also worked with Worthy Park again on their new editions. Stand by for the reviews – they are on the way. So it is safe to say they know what they are doing when it comes to this kind of secondary maturation/finish.

A slightly different take on classic Foursquare and a very tasty rum to boot. Didn’t even need dilution at 55% ABV.

Well worth a look.




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