Brand: Blackadder, Raw Cask series
Origin: Foursquare, St. Philip, Barbados
Still: Pot & Column Blend
Age: 10 years
Independent bottlers– defined as a company that sources rum from distillers and releases them under their own label– is a growing phenomenon in the rum world. It allows an additional level of intrigue to be imparted on a barrel, such as a different aging climate, or a secondary maturation, perhaps. However, in scotch whisky, independent bottlers are well-known, and may even enjoy the same prestige as the distilleries from which they source.
Some examples of these whisky bottlers are also well-known in the rum world, including Scottish bottler Duncan Taylor, who has bottled rums from Trinidad, Fiji, Jamaica, and St. Lucia, among others, according to their website (I've personally had a chance to sample their 16 year Caroni release); or Samaroli, a company based in Italy and known for releasing various Demerara, Jamaican, and Caribbean rum blends.
Today, we're featuring a selection from Blackadder, a family-run, independent bottler founded in Scotland back in 1995. Blackadder's branding is reminiscent of ornate lettering yanked from the pages of European monks' illuminated manuscripts. Their signature lineup of whiskies– and many of their rums– comes from the Raw Cask line, which features the respective spirit bottled without any filter; that's right: any filtering. Sediment and other particles from the direct cask dump is present in the bottle, providing the "raw" nature of the collection.
This particular bottling is Barbados rum from Foursquare, aged for 10 years in ex-Bourbon casks; I have bottle no. 214 of 239, from cask BR21-04. Thanks to a fellow member of Friends of Rum Tennessee, Ephraim, my girlfriend and I got to sample this during a visit to Elixir in Spring Hill, TN; once we tried it, I knew I had to get a bottle myself.
Golden brown, medium clarity, medium viscosity; floating barrel dump particulate
Vanilla custard, sour cherries, nail polish remover, oak, butterscotch, light smoke
Vanilla, raw cane sugar, malted barley, oak, ground dark coffee, tobacco
Medium-long; powerful but moist, with notes of oak, barley, bourbon, and cigar smoke
If you're looking for any other independently-bottled, 10 year ex-Bourbon cask-aged Foursquare rum, turn back now. The Blackadder Foursquare 10yr Raw Cask is a very exciting one that brings a lot of interesting and novel tasting notes into the Foursquare lexicon.
In the glass, the rum is a nice, golden brown color, with medium clarity and viscosity. As previously mentioned, the "raw" part of the cask is visible in my pour, by way of barrel particulate that was bottled with the rum; the evidence of no filtering is very present!
The nose offers vanilla custard, sour cherries, nail polish remover, oak, butterscotch, and a light smokiness. This smoke is not similar to Caroni-style burnt tire smoke, but more like the lingering scent in a room after a candle has been snuffed out.
The palate also offers vanilla, raw cane sugar, malted barley, oak, ground dark coffee, and tobacco. It may be my mind playing tricks on me, drinking a rum released by a bottler that also produces scotch whisky, but there is a distinct note of malted barley that dances around the palate throughout the experience. It provides a light touch of astringency to the rest of the palate, along with the tobacco and ground dark coffee notes. Very interesting to say the least, and something that I have yet to experience with any Barbados rum.
The finish is medium to long, and comes on strong, with notes of oak, barley, bourbon, and cigar smoke; still, this is a moist finish, and not (too) overpowering. It's a pleasantly astringent end to a wonderful experience, and begs the drinker to take another sip and experience more of what this rum offers.
Despite the visible presence of the barrel particulate, there was no noticeable (and therefore no negative) impact on the tasting experience of this bottle. In fact, some of the bigger pieces ended up sticking to the glass while sipping throughout the pour. Certainly don't let this be a barrier to paying the big bucks if you find this on a shelf somewhere (because I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little curious about this element).
This is a really excellent, dynamic rum. It has a bit more character, and different notes than any other Foursquare rum I've ever experienced, and is certainly a fun one to explore. There are some telltale "Foursquare signature" notes, like vanilla, nail polish remover, and oak; and then there are other, less common notes such as malted barley, dark coffee, and tobacco which lead to an experience that is a further departure from the main catalog of Foursquare rums.
Overall, I am very happy I ended up grabbing this bottle, and look forward to cracking it open every once in a while to see even more of the range of flavors Foursquare offers.
- Blackadder website
- thefatrumpirate Blackadder Raw Cask Foursquare 11 year review - this is a different release, but I figure it's a good companion review given the lack of reviews for my bottle