Brand: Real McCoy

Origin: Foursquare, St. Philip, Barbados (picked by Lincoln Road Package Store)

Still: Pot & Column Blend

Age: 12 years

Finish: ex-Bourbon

ABV: 46%

Those of us who buy bottles of rum (or other spirits) while traveling, especially for friends and family, may fancy ourselves "rum runners". However, the most famous rum runner of all is the namesake of the brand which we are reviewing today: Captain Bill McCoy.

McCoy gained noteriety in the Prohibition era by running liquor of various sorts from the Bahamas to thirsty Americans along the East coast. Because he never cut his spirits with adulterating substances (unlike a lot of other competing bootleg suppliers), his sought-after liquor supply was dubbed "the Real McCoy".

The Real McCoy rum follows in the same tradition as its namesake. Founder and CEO Bailey Pryor decided to create this label while filming a documentary about the famed rum-runner, and decided to source rum from one of the premier distilleries around: Foursquare. Like Bill McCoy, Richard Seale, the venerable Master Distiller at Foursquare, is unwavering in his devotion to quality, additive-free rum.

The Real McCoy's core lineup offers 80 proof 3 year, 5 year, and 12 year bottlings, as well as limited edition runs of "Distiller's Proof" (92 proof) 5 year and 12 year expressions for clubs or stores which want something a little more special.

Today, we're looking at a Real McCoy 12 year Custom Batch, selected by Lincoln Road Package Store of Hattiesburg, Mississippi; it's my understanding that the "Custom Batch" program was simply renamed "Distiller's Proof". Lincoln Road's bottles come from batch #1216, which was presumably distilled in 2009, given that I bought my bottle in late 2021. Since Foursquare 2009 is one of my favorite ECS releases, I'm looking forward to reviewing this special bottling.


Amber brown, medium clarity, medium-low viscosity


Vanilla, nail polish remover, caramel toffee, toasted nuts, fresh-cut oak, pastry dough


Butterscotch, vanilla, fresh pastry dough, bourbon-soaked oak, light smoke


Long, warming, moist, and smoky; oak tannins, toasted walnuts

Rating: 7/10


This is a wonderful store pick by Jamie and the crew at Lincoln Road, and a wonderful batch from Foursquare, as always. It's got a touch more proof than the standard 12 year bottling (92 proof versus the standard 80), and a wonderul slate of flavors, including some that set it apart from the standard 12.

In the glass, the rum is a typical amber brown color, with medium clarity and medium-low viscosity.

Nosing the glass, I get notes of vanilla, nail polish remover, toffee, toasted nuts, fresh-cut oak, and pastry dough. All the notes one may expect to find in an ex-Bourbon cask-aged Foursquare rum. It's quite light and balanced, and does not provide any indication that it carries a higher alcohol content.

Taking a sip, I get butterscotch, vanilla, and fresh pastry dough flavors, along with plenty of bourbon-soaked oak, and a light smoky element. Again, nothing surprising coming from a Bajan rum. The only difference would be the light smoke that accompanies a wonderful, well-balanced palate.

The finish is long, warming, moist, and smoky, with plenty of oak tannins and toasted walnut notes to go around.

In summary, this is a wonderful expression from Foursquare, proofed (and priced) below their typical long-aged offerings. This fills a niche in between the 80 proof 12 year and any Foursquare Exceptional Cask Selection releases of a similar maturation. With this being a custom batch, Lincoln Road got to offer a unique experience and hopefully turn more people on to masterfully-blended Foursquare rums and the classic Bajan profile.

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