Tasting Notes for Foursquare 2009 - Exceptional Cask Selection
Nose: Cranberry, orange peel, caramelized pineapple, coconut, and dried peach co-mingle with oak.
Taste: Rich and assertive. Tart cherry, raisins, nougat, vanilla, and sharp oak spice.
Finish: The palate gradually fades leaving traces of fresh ginger and caramalized pineapple.
Even outside the rum drinking community, Barbados's Foursquare Distillery is no longer news. Each year they put out three ever-phenomenal releases in their Exceptional Cask Selection series, and everyone agrees that they are great and that we are all so lucky to be able to get our hands on them. Whether or not they are getting "better" is subjective, but master distiller and blender Richard Seale has certainly been refining and honing his blending senses. While the differences between older vintages, like the 2004 and 2005, were large and easily noticeable, the last couple years have been more acute. We are in the midst of watching one of the all time great distilleries truly define it's style and profile, and these annual vintage dated bottlings (as opposed to the also aged stated, but whimsically named bottlings) are the best way to follow the progress. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.
The 2009 vintage is the 17th release in their Exceptional Cask Selection series. It’s a single blended rum, which means it contains both pot and column still rums from a single distillery. Aged for 12 years in first, second, and third fill bourbon barrels and bottled at 60% without additives of any kind.
Limited edition of 8000 bottles worldwide.
In some spirit categories there are distilleries which just stand out for excellence. Buffalo Trace for bourbons, Middleton for Irish whiskeys, to name but two examples. The equilvalent distillery in the rum world, for us anyway, is the Foursquare Distillery in Barbados. They simply do not make bad rum.
The FourSquare Distillery is owned by R.L Seale & Company, a fourth generation family business started in the 1926 and now run by Sir David Seale and his son Richard. After spending decades perfecting their techniques in blending rum, they finally started producing their own when they took over and refurbished an old abandoned Sugar Factory in 1995. Production started in 1996 and the awards have been flowing in ever since, including the International Spirits Challenge (ISC) Rum Producer of the Year four times, in 2016 through 2019 and the International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) Rum Producer of the Year in 2016, 2018 and 2019.
Distilling operations are overseen by Richard Seale, who has developed a reputation for innovation and embracing new technologies. Surprisingly, despite the distillery being located in the middle of a sugar plantation, they need to import most of their molasses from neighbouring Guyana (the sugar cane factory was separated from the old plantation in the 1950's).
The rums produced at Foursquare are generally a blend of pot and column stills, and rums are blended both before and after aging. As is the norm, aging is usually done in ex-bourbon casks, but they have also use ex-sherry, madeira, port and zinfadel casks in smaller amounts. Casks are filled at 65-68% abv for greater wood extraction, which is rare as most rum producers fill casks above 70% and many approaching 80% abv. Absolutely no additives are ever added to Foursquare rums.
In a time when many producers take average rum and throw in some sugar or other additives to cover up flaws and fool the public into paying a premium (we won't mention names, but will always point out when additives have been introduced), Foursquare have taken a systematic approach to their distillation. Using the most modern equipment and techniques available, together with a strong focus on producing to the highest quality, ensures that the rum speak for itself. No additives required!
Producer Foursquare Distillery Style Single Blended Rum Age A minimum of 12 years Volume 70CL ABV 60%