Brand: Foursquare, Exceptional Cask Selection series
Origin: Foursquare, St. Philip, Barbados
Still: Pot & Column Blend
Age: 12 years
What better rum to sip for review number four than Foursquare?
Foursquare is well-known in rum enthusiast circles as a distillery that you can count on for quality. This Barbados-based distillery was once a sugar plantation, before eventually being bought by the Seale family in 1996; since then, it has focused solely on the production of top-tier rum.
Master blender Richard Seale has a strong presence in the rum world, and has captivated rum and whiskey drinkers alike with his Exceptional Cask Selection (ECS) series. This collection of premium rum features at least biannually releases, typically a vintage aged for 12 years (and named after the year the blend components were distilled) and another bearing some name that Seale has decided upon after a long constultation of his dictionary.
Each vintage release is blended exclusively from Pot and Column distillates, aged in ex-Bourbon barrels. Other aging styles used in the ECS series named releases include ex-Port (Detente, Port Cask Finish), ex-Madeira (Sagacity, Redoubtable), and ex-Sherry (Premise, Empery) casks, among others. Despite being matured in the same cask type, these vintages each have their own character, and the 2009 has quite a special one.
Low clairty, burnt orange-brown, low viscosity; long legs
Nail polish remover, cherry pits, vanilla syrup, oak, pastry dough, caramel candies
Toffee, butterscotch, bourbon-soaked oak, tropical fruits (banana, papaya), ground dark roast coffee
Medium finish; primary flavors depart quickly, leaving fruity and slightly tannic notes, finishing with a trail of airy bourbon-influenced oak notes
There's something about 2009 that makes me feel like I'm trying a Foursquare for the first time when I sip it. Of all the ECS vintages (I have 2007, 2008, 2009), I feel like 2009 best ties to the named releases, while expanding on the previous vintages, and really showing the range of single maturation types. (If you are asking yourself if I took this as an opportunity to taste through my stock of Foursquare vintages, the answer is "yes")
The prevailing note when nosing 2009 is the unwavering scent of nail polish remover, which combined with vanilla, oak, and pastry dough, rounds out what I would call the signature bouquet of Foursquare, but amplified, yet not too hot.
Toffee, butterscotch, bourbon barrel oak, and coffee come through on the palate. The rich flavors are fortified by the 120 proof, which provides a nice kick without overpowering with excessive heat. Another Foursquare palate staple, vanilla, waxes and wanes throughout the palate, and joins a bourbon note on the back palate as a reminder of the cask this rum was aged in.
That bourbon note is exhibited again at the end of the medium-length finish, but not before experiencing notes of tropical fruits like papaya, banana, and pineapple, along with the mouth-drying tannins of an aged distillate.
2009 is certainly one of my favorites out of the ECS line, to the point that I put a serious dent in the bottle while reviewing this rum. I currently have 8 bottles in my collection, with 2 (Empery, Premise) on the way, and can say that this is one of my favorites of the lot. It is bold, yet approachable, and shows what a combination of single maturation, a premium distillate, and a masterful art of blending can accomplish.