Foursquare - Exceptional Cask Selection 2005 - 59% abv.
Updated: Dec 27, 2018
Rum-Review-A-Day: Day 20 - Foursquare - Exceptional Cask Selection Mark VI - 2005 - 59% abv.
In sticking with Foursquare’s spirit of Christmas and Forbes’ pick for best rum of 2018 (…and International Spirits Challenge (ISC) and International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) best rum producer…and…and…and...) I thought I should shed some light on a rum that lately frequents the pages of all rum groups including the Ministry of Rum as well as bars of rum lovers around the world; Foursquare 2005. This is another release in Foursquare’s exceptional cask series, and is the follow-up to the Foursquare 2004, which was also incredibly well received by pretty much everyone who got their hands on it. The 2005 is a single blended rum (blend of double retort copper pot still and traditional column coffey still…we’re taking Foursquare here, so no surprises). The rum has been tropically aged for 12 years in ex-bourbon casks before being bottled at 59% abv. There were 12000 of these bottles released. While I have consumed A LOT of all of Foursqare’s exceptional cask series, this is the first time I have sat down to to dig deeper into one and write a review. Might as well start with one of my favourites!
On the nose - THIS is rum! There is nothing that immediately jumps out of the glass except for an incredibly well integrated and balanced scent of what (at least in my mind) great Barbados rum should smell like. As you sit with it and try to piece it apart you get an understanding of all of the complex tones going on, which just blend together staggeringly well. From the 12 tropical years in ex-bourbon, there is definitely some wood going on. Wet oak, vanilla, chocolate. Something slightly briny, similar to salted caramel. The more I concentrate on the vanilla tones, I feel how creamy they are, which gives a Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream-like character to the nose. There are also floral and leafy things going on here. Violets and honeysuckle blended with eucalyptus and dried peppermint tea. Lightly burnt/smokey tones come through together with a hit of umami. Imagine smoked bonito (katsuobushi) flakes without the fish (thankfully). Cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom. Hazelnuts and pecans. The fruity notes are also there; freshly picked macintosh apples, ripe pears, hints of mango and cherries…But also some citrus, similar to freshly pressed lemon juice, with its residual sweetness. This nose is woody, nutty, sweet, spicy, smokey, fruity…It’s got it all, while on the surface remaining incredibly balanced and modest. It makes you want to drink it.
On the palate - charred oak staves, mixed with that creamy vanilla and black pepper. It starts smokey, creamy and fiery! This rum really takes your palate (and mind) on a ride! Cloves and cinnamon help to intensify the spicy aspects. Burnt butter caramel. Bitter almonds. Roasted chestnuts. Slight tones of petrol and liquid cement. Coconuts. Also something earthy, similar to the taste of wet birch bark. Figs. Stewed green apples and plums. Pears and honeydew melon. Just honey…brings me back to the honeysuckle on the nose as well. Reminds me of sucking the back of a honeysuckle flower; slightly floral, slightly sweet, yet also green and fresh. Just like with the nose, this is a flavour bomb, without any specific flavour trying selfishly to be better than the next one. Delicious.
The finish is dry. Not much oil. Quite a bit of heat, although exactly where I would want it, and probably less than I would have expected from the 59% abv. (yet another dangerous one, folks!). Finish is long and ever changing. I sat with it for some time and started writing that the finish is woody with a hint of smoke and apples, although at the moment (a later moment, I might add) my mouth is filled with pineapple and ripe mango.
What can I say, this rum is incredibly well made. Balanced & modest, yet intricate, bold and exciting.
Funnily enough, when I was just getting in to rum, I was not drawn to Barbados because I was looking for things that were simply explosive, such as the famous Jamaican funk…But I have learned that that same explosiveness exists in these Foursquare rums, it’s just so well balanced that you don’t notice specific sensory extremes in the same way. I gave it time and I sat with it…and damn, how wrong I was...
Absolutely beautiful rum.