Brand: Foursquare, Exceptional Cask Selection series
Origin: Foursquare, St. Philip, Barbados
Still: Pot & Column Blend
Age: 12 years
I don't know a better way to kick off Foursquare February than with the latest Exceptional Cask Selection (ECS) release: Foursquare 2010. We have come a long way since the last ECS vintage we reviewed, encountering the latest ex-Sherry cask release as well as scoring the longest-aged ECS bottling to date.
Foursquare ECS 2010 sees the vintage collection enter into the second decade of the 21st century, but maintain the same premise: a blend of pot and column rums, aged for 12 years in an ex-Bourbon cask, and bottled at a hefty strength. One thing I particularly enjoy about the ECS vintages is that although the background is simple, the rum itself is far more complex. In my opinion, these bottles highlight Richard Seale's prowess as one of the rum world's best blenders.
2010 is the first new Foursquare ECS release to hit Memphis shelves after Indelible made its debut last fall. The 60% ABV rum can be found at a number of stores, which will likely come in handy if I decide to grab a back up bottle. Now, on to the rum!
Orange-brown, medium clarity, medium viscosity
Vanilla, butterscotch, oak, permanent marker, black cherry, marzipan, grapes
Butterscotch, vanilla, almonds, pastry dough, heavy cream, cherry turnover, orange peel
Medium length, oaky, fruity, sweet yet strong; bourbon-soaked oak, medium roast coffee beans, cherries, dark chocolate, salted caramel, artificial banana
Foursquare vintages can often be criticized as being fairly uniform in profile. On one hand, I can agree with this, given the difficulty in providing a unique experience year after year, despite using the same cask and still types for each vintage. However, 2010 manages to shine even among the previous 3 vintages that I have had the pleasure to own.
Foursquare 2010 is an orange-brown color in my glencairn, with medium clarity and viscosity.
Vanilla, butterscotch, oak, and permanent marker show up right off the bat when sniffing the rum. Most of the hallmarks of Foursquare are all present and accounted for; there is a notable lack of raw pastry dough on the initial whiffs. However, marzipan shows up, offering the essence of sweet almond paste in lieu of kneaded dough, as black cherry and grape notes bring some fruitiness to the fairly savory bouquet.
2010's palate provides an overture of butterscotch, vanilla, almonds, and that missing pastry dough note right off the bat, and in perfect synchronization; one almost needs 4 different sips to gather the same number of notes. The next note is interesting, as it's a bit creamy and almost neutralizes the initial flavors before transitioning into the rear palate and finish. It reminds me of heavy cream in its profile and texture. Cherry turnover and orange peel bring fruit, sweetness, and slight tart element to the palate. This is really excellent, and truly rivals my current favorite ECS, 2009, for a palate most exemplative of Foursquare rum.
A medium length finish rounds out the experience, with its oaky and fruity notes providing a sweet yet strong conclusion to each sip. Notes of bourbon-soaked oak, medium roast coffee beans, cherries, dark chocolate, salted caramel, and an artificial banana flavor (think banana Laffy Taffy or Nerds candy) can be found as the rum runs its course.
Can Richard Seale still work magic through 12 year old ex-Bourbon cask-aged rums? You bet. 2010 is another testament to the prowess of the Bajan master blender, and is worthy of a spot on your shelf. This is a really fun, enjoyable, and (relatively) affordable bottle of expertly-crafted rum that is really among the best available on the market today.