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Review 17 – Foursquare Rum Distillery 2004

Foursquare Rum is renowned in the rum community. Ever since 1926 when Reginald Leon Seale founded the company in Barbados, rum has run through the veins of the Seale family. Today the master distiller and blender is his great grandson Richard Seale. Foursquare’s philosophy around the rum industry are to remain purists. They focus on the authenticity, complexity and balance of rum.

Recently, Foursquare have released a range of Rums known as their “Exceptional Cask Selection” and this 2004 is the third release from that range. It is labelled as the Mark III. Also it is worth noting that this release is the first that has been bottled at cask strength (59% ABV), much higher than the previous two.

The labelling on the bottle is very unique and ground-breaking. Rather than focus on a big brand logo, instead we are given all information about this rum on the labels. We are provided with the name of the distillery, country of origin, wood in which it was aged, time spent aging, the distillation process and the release date. We are also shown the ABV level as well. This represents a refreshing change from the norm and puts all the information in the hands of the customer for them to make a decision on whether this is a rum they would like to purchase.

Alongside that information we are told this rum is “Single Blend.” Richard Seale has been working closely alongside Luca Gargano and they are trying to push for a new labelling system in the rum industry so that the consumer understands what they are drinking. In this case “Single Blend” means rum which has been blended together from a single distillery. In this case we have a blend of pot still rum and column distilled rums. Look out for our article on that classification coming soon!

But let’s get into the review.

In the glass the rum is a golden mahogany colour. This has come purely from the production process and not from any added caramel colouring. The nose brings a hit of ethanol due to the high ABV, but past this I get notes of vanilla, smokey oak and some fruits. I also get some green apple and sugar cane juice. Quite classically Bajan.

Enough of the smelling, it’s time to taste. The first thing we would recommend here is care! This rum is 59% ABV and deserves respect. For those who like their rum strong by all means go ahead, but feel free to add a few drops of water to bring it down to a level that is more palatable for you.

After a couple of small sips to get accustomed to the powerful nature of the spirit, the flavours start to appear from behind the alcohol burn that is present. There is spiciness on the front of the tongue which doesn’t travel through the tongue but seems to appear again at the back of the throat. Now we get some of the notes which were on the nose earlier. The oak comes through alongside the spicy notes and some vanilla. The time spent in this bourbon oak is really shining through. Delving deeper we find hints of raisin and dried apricots. Very well balanced and the ending doesn’t burn anywhere near as much as expected with the ABV that is present. Amazingly well balance with a myriad of flavours for you to discover. Adding a few drops of water helps bring these flavours out further and unearth a couple of others including dark chocolate, hints of leather and something slightly akin to walnuts but a tad sweeter.

It is easy to see why this rum is part of Richard Seale’s exceptional cask selection range. It is also easy to see why this rum has received so many different awards by the IWSC and the ISC. The ISC also voted Foursquare the 2017 Rum Producer of the Year.

A final point to mention on this rum is the price. At just £50 the value of this rum is extraordinary. Aged for 11 years, nothing added except the master blender’s years of experience, this rum is a must have in your collection.

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