Today we are looking at three wonderful rums from Foursquare Rum Distillery. Probitas (Veritas), Detente, and the 2008, a member of their exceptional cask series.
Foursquare is located on a former sugar plantation that dates back to approximately 1720. It is on the Caribbean island of Barbados. The distillery was re-opened by the Seale family in 1996. Distilling operations and blending are currently directed by Richard Seale, 4th Generation trader/distiller of R.L. Seale & Co.
Our first rum has something unusual about it – it has different names depending on where you purchase it. It is called Vertitas in the European Union, but because the name had legal issues, this same rum is called Probitas here in the United States.
The creation of Probitas Rum was a joint venture with Luca Gargano. They wanted to create something like a flavorful, yet mainstream white rum of old. Luca wanted the blend to be composed of solely unaged rum. Richard Seale wanted the blend to have some component that was aged slightly, and this is what was decided upon.
So Probitas is a blend of aged Foursquare pot still rum with unaged Hampden rum. The Foursquare rum was aged for 2 years in ex-bourbon casks. The strength is 47% abv so that it is strong enough to use if blended in a cocktail. Great for Daiquiris.
This has a rich, oily mouthfeel. Burnt caramel, fermented banana, a light touch of classic hogo flavor. Some tasters sensed a bit of anise. Some sweetness!
This is a pot column blend. 10 Years old.
It has a 51% abv. By the way, there was a bit of confusion about this one. Some early pre-release labels sent to the TTB show an ABV of 48%, but those labels are not always accurate.
This is a blend of rum aged 10 years in ex-bourbon barrels (single matured,) and rum aged 4 years in ex-bourbon, which was then also aged another 6 years in ex-port barrels (double matured.) A few of those barrels are first-fill ex-port casks, but most are used ex-port
Another great rum – the consensus of the good folks tasting this was that this was a bit thinner than the probitas but still good. Hints of cherry, vanilla, toffee on the nose. On the palate there is more bourbon influence, and some nice port influence, caramel, fruity notes
Foursquare 2008 Rum
12 years old. Ex-bourbon cask, but most not first fill. Could be 2nd or 3rd fill barrels. By the way, using refill barrels to age rum is a part of the local culture because they don’t have as many trees as in America.
The nose has notes of caramel, toffee, hey, this is perhaps more like bourbon. The palate is really rich and thick! The taste here is surprisingly different from the nose. More of the rum flavors. Molasses notes loud and clear! I prefer this over the Probitas. I did like that, but I’d use that for cocktails.
Doorly’s 12 Year Fine Old Barbados Rum
This is a blend of pot and column still rums. Aged in ex-bourbon oak casks, and some component of this was been finished in ex-madeira casks.
The nose has notes of caramel, toffee. The palate offers some sweetness (although no sugar has been added!,) molasses, toffee, oak, and a modest array of funky & fruity rum esters.
This is one of my favorite rums. I recommend this one to all my friends. Unadulterated pure rum, affordable, and readily available. In the top of its class.
When tasted side-by-side with the Foursquare 2008 exceptional cask, this is much thinner, packs less of a flavor punch. But that is not surprising – the Doorly’s is 40% abv (80 proof,) meant for sipping straight, while the Foursquare 2008 ECS is a whopping 60% abv (120 proof.) It’s like the difference between Stagg Jr. Bourbon and George T. Stagg Bourbon. The majority of casual American rum drinkers would surely prefer to drink the Doorly’s straight, as opposed to the 2008.
By the way, I found an interesting affordable rum mix: 50-50 Doorly’s 12 Year and Probitas. This kicks the Doorly’s up a notch, yet is made from sub $30 bottles!
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