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Rum Reviews

Barbados Foursquare Rum, 2005, 15 Years, 60.2% bottled by Malt, Grain & Cane

Our rum adventures continues! We’re trying yet another Foursquare rum today from Singaporean independent bottler, Malt, Grain & Cane (MGC), and we’re not complaining. Foursquare is a big favorite with us, we enjoyed the previous bottling, which was an Indonesia exclusive, and we’re curious to see how this one differs. 

 

Richard Seale the force behind Foursquare's success. (Image Source: Food for Thought)

Quick recap: Foursquare Distillery is located in Barbados, which is headed up by Richard Seale, its highly charismatic founder. He maintains a strong focus on bottling high quality rums that have not been sweetened. This preserves a good deal of quality and purity with the rum. Which also makes Foursquare’s rums so sought after.

Foursquare’s rums are typically aged in American Oak Bourbon Barrels, though they do tinker with some other casks such as Port Pipes, Cognac, Zinfandel, to name a few.

Today’s Foursquare was first tropically aged for 11 Years, before being shipped off to Europe (wish it was us instead of the rum) in a neutral container in early 2017, and subsequently re-filled into first-fill bourbon barrels for 4 additional years of continental aging. This makes the rum 15 years in full, bottled at 60.2% abv.

Let’s get to it.

 

 

Barbados Foursquare Rum, 2005, 15 Years, 60.2% bottled by Malt, Grain & Cane 

 

Colour. Safely sesame oil. Thick, golden honey.

 

Rich, thick, golden sesame oil. Similar appearance, just as similarly aromatic. (Image Source: Olivado)

Nose. Ooh lots of spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise. Very aromatic. It is also very sweet, with oodles of caramel and vanilla. The same sarsaparilla and liquorice that we have come to know and love. Always very reminiscent of cola fizz. This one is very gentle on the nose but very perfumery.

 

Fresh cut white flowers and leafs offer the rum a perfumery experience. (Image Source: House Beautiful)

Nosing it alittle deeper, you find yourself in a much more of a flower garden – fields of daises, freshly cut honeysuckle, jasmines, lilies. Much to be appreciated about the freshness of it. It even reminds me of fresh linens. There’s also very delicate wafts of banana and coconuts, perhaps in the form of ice cream.

 

Creamy banana ice cream forms a delightfully rich, tropical base to the nose. (Image Source: Taste of Home)

This leads into subtle more herbaceous notes, freshly cut grass, parsley, coriander – leafy scents.

 

A nice handful of herbs rounds the nose out with some leafy aromatic notes. (Image Source: Comfort of Cooking)

On the palate. This takes a wildly different turn from what was found on the nose. This comes in much heftier and richer. The texture is thicker and oilier. The spices found here harbour a much stronger presence. I get some cardamom, star anise, bay leaves. This quickly gives way to a much more woody, oaky quality. Deep but at the same time sweet and vanilla-rich. Again, the banana and coconut ice cream is present here.

 

Is that curry spices I find? Light dusting of cardamom, star anise, now where's the bay leaves? (Image Source: Smita Chandra)

Rich yet tarty notes from blackberries, raisins, plums, even ripened cherries. It somewhat reminds me of Sherry aged Scotch. I think Scotch lovers would be down for this, it’ll certainly be a treat. Think raisin bread or maybe a chocolate ganache.

 

Rich Sherry notes will be familiar to classic Speyside Scotch fans. It's all things raisin bread, Christmas cake, and chocolate ganache. (Image Source: Bon Appetit)

The base notes move towards a more medicinal touch, here I find heavier notes of manuka honey, lavender, some camphor. It resides further in the backseat, quiet but present.

 

Unctuous plum juice with a dollop of honey gives the finish a rich, sweet yet tarty end note. (Image Source: Lacademie)

The finish. Fairly long. A reprisal of cola fizzes and Sherry, dark plum juice and that chocolate ganache. Beefy and tart, but a good creaminess supports the base.

 

My Take

Foursquare hardly disappoints does it? That characteristic cola fizz is always something I look forward to, but at the same time this bottle (as compared to the Indonesia exclusive) takes us into much deeper territory. Forget the brighter notes, here we’re well in the much darker, intense base notes. The spices that show up remind me of curries or a lamb briyani. Aromatic yet subtle and unyielding.

 

Aromas galore, much more intense spices, deeper beefier body. This would be perfect for a briyani pairing. (Image Source: Panning the Globe)

The other stand out quality is really all that Sherry notes that comes forth. I really enjoyed that tart yet bittersweet character of chocolate ganache and maraschino cherries. It gives the rum a lot of complexity, especially when paired with the rich manuka honey and vanilla cream. It feels like dessert, and who doesn’t like dessert?

 

Rich, velvety, dark forest cake. You've got bittersweet dark chocolate, tart ripened cherries, vanilla cream and a whole lot of Sherry or Brandy infused into the sponge. This rum feels festive. (Image Source: NYT Cooking)

 

Our Rating 

🥊 🎱 🎄 🍫 🍨 🍯

This rum was certainly a heavyweight, very quiet and brooding but so much to unpack and give in terms of complexity. In the end it felt like dessert on Christmas. You got your dark chocolate black forest cakes, your banana sundae, loads of deep herb notes you could see with the meats of a festive main course, and rich manuka honey layering the cakes.

 

In you’re interested in trying one, you could probably still find a few bottles over at Malt, Grain & Cane.

Alternatively, find them at one of MGC's partners, LMDW, Auld Alliance, The Single Cask, Swan Song, Limehouse Asia, Cafe Gavroche (all based in Singapore), or Miles Whisky Bar (Indonesia) and Rudder (Japan).

Of course be sure to follow MGC on Instagram and Facebook (@MaltGrainCane) or follow Marcus himself @HampdenPirate.

Kanpai! 

 

@111hotpot

 

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