Brand: Alleyne Arthur's
Origin: Foursquare, St. Philip, Barbados
Still: Pot & Column Blend
Alleyne Arthur's is a brand that most rum enthusiasts may not be familiar with. There are a few bottles by this brand that pop up in Total Wine stores, but otherwise, this is an enigmatic rum that is largely not exported. Its distiller, though, is no stranger to the rum-interested: this brand is produced by Foursquare, if that wasn't already apparent by this review coming out in the middle of Foursquare February.
The only real information I can get from the brand– and specifically this expression– comes from the back label of the bottle. In the 1860s, George Henry Alleyne established a dry goods store with Robert Arthur, his son-in-law. In the early 1900s, the store was blending and bottling rum under their combined name, Alleyne Arthur; in 1993, the rights to their blends were sold to the Seales.
This expression appears to be a version of the brand's Special Barbados Rum, but simply darker; whether that's from aging or light coloring, I am not sure. Having tried both bottles, I find it a little odd that this version exists, unless it was a necessity for some cocktails' presentations. There is no age statement, nor maturation type; knowing other Foursquare rums, it's almost a certainty that this rum was aged in ex-Bourbon casks for some amount of time, before being bottled at 43% ABV.
However, doing some digging I was able to find this Rum Project forum post detailing an email exchange between forum owner "Capn Jimbo" and Richard Seale. The email quotation is as follows:
"Hi Capn Jimbo !
Thanks for the kind comments on Alleyne Arthur Special Barbados Rum.
This is one of the oldest brands of rum in Barbados and is generally not exported. Only our atypical direct arrangement with Total Wine has allowed > this brand of rum to the US market.
To your questions :
- [pot or column] A blend of both (as all of our rums)
- [basis] Molasses ( you sure the shelf talker said "juice", maybe they intended to say "sugar cane" and got lost in translation somewhere.)
- [additives/flavorings] NONE !!!!! (as all of our rums)
- [age] 2/3 year blend (making it older than 95% of the rums on the market).
Diffords is usually pretty spot on. Trust this helps.
This confirms that the Special Barbados Rum expression is a 2-3 year old pot and column blend. Due to the darker color, the Black Barbados Rum components may have spent a little more time aging, or were the same 2-3 year rums blended with some longer-aged rums to get the desired visual effect.
Bronze, high clarity, medium viscosity
Saltwater taffy, bubblegum, banana peel, vanilla, hand soap
Bubblegum, vanilla, saltwater taffy, butterscotch, fresh-sliced orange
Medium length, salty, silky texture; oak, bubblegum, vanilla
While this isn't a conventional Foursquare rum that most of us have experienced, it's an enjoyable dram that holds up on its own. Alleyne Arthur's Black Barbados Rum has a completely unique profile compared to other brands like Doorly's or the Exceptional Cask Selection; and that's okay! It certainly shows that Richard Seale has indeed stayed true to Alleyne and Arthur's tradition.
In the glass, Alleyne Arthur's is a bronze color with high clarity and medium viscosity.
This Black Barbados Rum brings forward saltwater taffy aromas early in the nosing, followed by a classic bubblegum note, earthy banana peel, and fragrant hand soap. Honestly, this doesn't sound much like any Foursquare rum, nor a rum I would be interested in based off the nose itself. But the aromas are constructed very well, and I'm certainly not judging a rum just by its nose!
The palate brings out that bubblegum straightaway, before bringing some recognizable vanilla flavors. The mid-palate returns the unique saltwater taffy note to the experience, followed by butterscotch and orange slices. Like the nose, a unique slate of flavors that (mostly) do not appear in most Foursquare distillate; it's similarly well-formed, with each note being present but not overpowering.
The medium length finish is salty, and carries a silky texture. Oak, bubblegum, and vanilla are the only notes I get as this dark Bajan rum runs its course.
Alleyne Arthur's Black Barbados Rum isn't a showstopper, and isn't quite as black as some similarly named Jamaican rums or Demerara expressions. Still, it's a fun pour that would shine really well in a cocktail, and offers something different than any other Foursquare-distilled cocktail rum.