Origin: Foursquare, St. Philip, Barbados
Still: Pot & Column Blend
Finish: ex-Bourbon & ex-Sherry
After first reviewing the 14 year expression back in October 2022, we finally revisit Doorly's, the acclaimed budget-friendly Barbados rum brand.
Distilled at Foursquare rum distillery, this brand is owned by R.L. Seale & Co. Ltd., the same company that owns the Foursquare distillery and other brands such as Foursquare Exceptional Cask Selection and Alleyne Arthur's.
This rum is the XO (often an abbreviation of "extra old") expression, which is a blend of molasses-based pot and column still distillate. The rums are first matured in ex-Bourbon casks for 5 years, followed by maturation in Oloroso sherry casks for a period of 1-3 years; this means the blend is made up of 6-8 year old rums.
After maturation, the rums are blended and bottled at 40% ABV. Keeping in the Doorly's tradition, the bottle features the stunning Blue Macaw on its front label.
Orange-brown, medium clarity, low viscosity
Butterscotch, vanilla, ethanol, old/dusty paper, strawberry wafer cookies, brown sugar
Caramel, vanilla, brown sugar, red grapes, cinnamon
Medium, tannic, slightly fruity; oak, black cherry, cinnamon, black pepper
Doorly's XO definitely hits the mark as a double-matured, balanced, blended Bajan rum. I'll contrast this praise with my misgivings that this is a little light in its body, and is not as complex as it perhaps could be. The sherry note is very subtle, and unless you know what to look for, could be entirely missed.
XO is an orange-brown color in my glass, with medium clairty and low viscosity.
The nose opens with butterscotch and vanilla, which are often seen in other rums distilled at Foursquare. Some raw ethanol is quite present when nosing as well. The aroma of sugary strawberry wafer cookies comes in next, followed by a deep brown sugar note. A prevailing note throughout the nose is that of old and/or dusty paper, which is most likely a byproduct of the sherry cask aging.
Caramel opens up the Doorly's XO palate, followed by vanilla and brown sugar. Musty red grapes again reference the casks used to mature the rum, while drying and spicy cinnamon rounds out the palate. This is pleasant, but simply fine; I wouldn't say this is anything incredibly special, but is certainlly better than many other mid-aged rums out there.
XO's finish is medium length, tannic, and slightly fruity. Oak starts out, followed by black cherry, cinnamon, and black pepper.
As many commenters of XO mention on Facebook and Reddit, this is a more than decent sipper– especially for the price of ~$30 that you can get this for at Total Wine. It's a great bottle for easing into sherry-aged rums, and can provide some classic Bajan notes with a fruity twist in cocktails without breaking the bank. The lack of complexity and body means this loses some points, but Doorly's XO was meant to be a budget-friendly sipper, and I think it fits this role quite well.