Brand: Rolling Fork
Origin: Foursquare, St. Philip, Barbados (picked by Lincoln Road Package Store)
Still: Pot & Column Blend
Age: 12 years
For our 50th rum review, we are featuring a Bajan rum bottled by a Kentucky-based independent bottler (IB), and selected by a liquor store located in Mississippi.
Rolling Fork Spirits was founded in 2017 by Jordan Morris and Turner Wathen who were looking to break into the spirits scene with a unique rum blending concept. Named after a famed Kentucky distillery that was founded in the late 18th century, the duo's company sought to bring unadulterated, quality rum to the American market. After a bit of a bumpy start, Rolling Fork started releasing rums that they blended and/or sourced themselves, including but not limited to rums from Jamaica and El Salvador.
With their continued success, Rolling Fork started releasing some really enticing rums, including single cask bottlings and the "Lost Cask" series– which features long-aged rums from a variety of distilleries.
The rum in front of me today is from the former category. Rolling Fork bottled this 12 year single cask produced at the renowned Foursquare rum distillery in St. Philip, Barbados. Distilled in May 2008, the rum was aged in oak barrels (presumably ex-Bourbon barrels) for 12 years, before being bottled at a strength of 61% ABV. This particular cask was was selected by Hattiesburg, Mississippi-based Lincoln Road Package Store.
Golden brown, medium clarity, medium-high viscosity
Butterscotch, banana bread, vanilla, paint thinner, toffee, black pepper
Vanilla, butterscotch, rye spice, pastry dough, toffee
Medium, hot, tannic; vanilla, bourbon oak, cinnamon, coffee beans
This Rolling Fork release is powerful and tasty. It's reminiscent of Foursquare ECS 2009, with a ton of Foursquare signature notes on display, but drinks much hotter. This is interesting, as generally, this shares the same details as the Foursquare ECS 2008 release– 12 year aged, distilled in 2008, and ~60% ABV. The proof is definitely noticeable in this rum, and the finish diminishes relatively quickly compared to other higher proof Foursquares.
This 12 year rum is a nice golden brown color in my glass, and has medium clarity and medium-high viscosity.
The nose has notes of butterscotch, banana bread, vanilla, paint thinner, toffee, and black pepper. It is a pleasant nose and undeniably Foursquare, and does not exhibit too much alcoholic heat right off the bat. Banana bread joins common Foursquare notes like butterscotch, vanilla, and paint thinner, while toffee provides a slight nutty note, and black pepper a little spice.
The 12 year's palate offers vanilla, butterscotch, rye spices, pastry dough, and toffee notes. It's an intense, hot palate that once again features common Foursquare notes, but also intense spices akin to rye, and some background toffee. Unfortunately, the flavors get lost a bit due to the overwhelming nature of the proof on display in the palate.
On the finish, I get notes of vanilla, bourbon oak, cinnamon, and coffee beans. It is medium length, tannic, and very hot. To date, I don't believe I've experienced a hotter Foursquare finish. It quickly wipes away the pleasant notes from the palate– if you were able to get past the heat in that part of the experience– and progresses into more astringent territory with oak and bitter coffee beans.
This rum has a lot of things going for it like delicious flavors, high proof, and solid aging, but falls short of being a great bottling. The palate is a bit hot and reminiscent of an overproof bourbon in its power– which may have been a selling point– while the finish ends abruptly and bitterly. I'm not opposed to a higher strength rum, but this veers towards the over-powered end of the spectrum. Definitely a nice bottle of a quality rum, but it is not one that I would consider session-able.