Foursquare: Sagacity

Country: Barbados

Pot & Column Still Blend

Aging: 12 years

ABV: 48%

Review number 2! I’m a little late to the party with this particular one, seeing as how I’m on my second bottle of it…hopefully that’s an indication as to the direction of this review.

Foursquare is a distillery that is very well known to anyone who has started venturing beyond the supermarket aisles in their quest for quality rum. Based in Barbados, this powerhouse of a distillery has been responsible for some of the best expressions of unadulterated rum in the past few years. The Master Distiller, Richard Seale, is the fourth generation scion of RL Seale & Co, originally one of the country’s biggest rum bottlers and exporters. The company purchased a run down sugar factory (with buildings dating back to the 1700’s!) in 1995, renovated it with custom built stills made up with parts from Scotland, Italy (a country which Seale’s long time counterpart from Velier, Luca Gargano, hails from) and Barbados, producing their first rum in 1996.

The Exceptional Cask Series, of which this is number 11 (or Mark XI to use the official nomenclature), was first released in 2008. Each release has garnered critical acclaim, not just for the quality of the product, but also for eschewing the marketing fluff that has plagued a lot of rums.

Bottled at 48%, it’s made from a combination of single distillery rum blends, one aged in ex-Maderia casks for 12 years, the other for the same amount of time but in ex-Bourbon casks. When we talk about types of rums, there’s been, for some time, movement afoot to travel away from the existing mainstream classifications of “White”, “Golden” and “Dark.” Leading the charge are the two characters mentioned previously, Messrs Gargano and Seale: I’ve placed a link to their proposed classification system, which both the Whisky Exchange website and Boutique-y rum have taken inspiration from, below.

Personally, I think it’s not only a much better way of understanding how the rum is made, but also helps consumers to discover what it is they like about the rums they have, encouraging them to try producers they might otherwise have ignored.

To the bottle!

Presentation – Simple but effective I think is the tagline here (unlike this blog). A good quality synthetic stopper caps a bottle with the standard, high-quality Exceptional Cask series label; the name of the bottle front and centre with it’s Mark designation to the left, information on cask type, aging, distillation and release date underneath, all on a parchment style label that oozes quality and reliability without marketing hype. The ribbon attached to the bottle by the Foursquare wax seal is a particularly nice touch.

Nose – Caramelised bananas and toffee first, followed by white pepper and desiccated coconut. After a while I can get some digestive biscuits into the mix with cherry jam. Awesome stuff!

Palate – It’s not so hot that you can’t comfortably let this linger in your mouth on first sip, which I find a pleasant surprise at 48%. A light wooden influence from the ex-bourbon presumably, then vanilla-soaked raisins and that peppery spice that was promised on the nose.

Finish – Lingers forever, that spice really hangs around along with the oakiness.

Notes – I love this rum. Dangerously easy to sip on, smells absolutely heavenly and makes a mean riff on a Gayle Seale daiquiri when combined with Veritas (review and recipe en-route). You can read more about the Gargano classification on the Velier website here.

Scores on the door:

Presentation: 5/5
Nose: 8/10
Taste: 18/20
Finish: 14/15
Total: 45/50

How the rating system works:
Its’ entirely arbitrary but I’ve weighted it towards the things that matter most to me when looking to buy a new bottle. Hence, the greater emphasise on taste say compared with presentation. Also, if the rum doesn’t benefit from dilution, there’ll be no “+ water” modifier on the review.

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