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It's almost inevitable that any product of exceedingly high quality and finite quantity finds a rapturous audience. It's just a shame that New York's honeymoon with Foursquare rum couldn't have lasted a little longer before all the "Pappy of Rum" articles started showing up. Suddenly, just as Foursquare was acquainting rum lovers with its phenomenal range of aged Caribbean spirits, they vanished, snapped up in a puff of hyperbolic smoke. So now we only get a handful of bottles and there is more hype surrounding Foursquare's limited availability than what's actually in the bottle, which is unfortunate, because the liquid is beautiful.
Rum as a spirits category is full of compromises, and Richard Seale of Foursquare has set himself apart in his total dedication to his vision and ethos. The Seale family has been in the rum business since the 1920s, but predominantly as blenders, buying up rums from various Caribbean distilleries and releasing them as proprietary brands. It wasn't until the mid-1990s, when Richard Seale purchased and restored a defunct sugar factory on the island of Barbados, that he started distilling on a combination of pot and column stills.
All Foursquare rums are "pure", without additions of sugar, caramel, liquid tannin, or any other additives that are prolifically used in commercial rum production. The age statements are genuine, none of this "Solera 23" business, where a miniscule fraction of the rum might be 23 years old, but most is young, adulterated spirit. The releases are priced fairly (though the secondary market is going a little crazy), especially taking into account the angel's share (loss of spirit due to evaporation from cask) which is about 8-9% in the Caribbean, compared with only 1-2% in continental Europe.
I won't be the person saying Foursquare is the Pappy Van Winkle of rum and you should run out and buy all the bottles you can. I'll urge you to give Foursquare the merit it deserves based on the incredibly high quality of work they are doing, and the passion they bring to the rum world in the attempt to create and market honest spirits. Oskar Kostecki
We cannot ship spirits out of state. Today's offer is available for in-store pick-up, delivery within New York City, and shipping within the state.
Nominally the "entry-level" release from Foursquare, there is nothing simple about this rum. The Zinfandel Cask is the answer to 2016's Port Cask finish release: fruit forward and effusive, combining aromas of caramel, dried stone fruit, and baking spices with a hint of brandied cherries and red berry fruit. The palate is light on its feet; this is not a heavy (full-bodied and high ester) rum by any means, but it's nonetheless complex, with a slight salinity that creeps in on the finish. This rum is 11 years-old, and a great introduction to the Foursquare family. Oskar Kostecki
Premise is the long-awaited sherry cask release from Foursquare, spending three years in ex-bourbon cask and seven years in ex-sherry cask. The heat and humidity of the Caribbean has turned this into a beautiful marriage of baked fruit and spice, with a hint of sweetness from the barrel aging and a great texture and viscosity on the palate. Notes of salted caramel, baked apple, sultana, dried apricots, orange marmalade, vanilla, baking spice and leather. The flavors here are broad and intense, though the sherry notes never become overbearing. This is one of my favorite rum releases of the past few years. Oskar Kostecki
The vintage releases from Foursquare are the torchbearers for what this distillery is trying to achieve. They are bottled at full strength, tracking the interaction between liquid, cask, and climate for over eleven years. No cask finish here, the complexity comes from the strict aging regiment and bottling at higher proof. Notes of fresh apple, pear, pear drop, apricot, white peach, honey, baking spices and a hint of smoke. With a few drops of water or an ice cube this opens up tremendously, revealing more floral character as well as a rich, graham cracker note and more fresh fruit. Very complex, and utterly delicious. Oskar Kostecki
The 2005 release is very similar to the 2004, though it benefits from an extra year of tropical aging. The 2005 appears slightly spicier and meatier than the 2004, with a bit more smoke, vanilla, baking spice, and dried fruit, both on the nose and palate. Oskar Kostecki
In this instance, Richard Seale's propensity for fantasy names seems to have backfired. The rumor is, the moment Foursquare Dominus hit these shores, Dominus Estate, the Napa wine producer, took issue with this particular cuvée's naming. I'm not sure how things are playing out legally, but I do know the handful of bottles we received will be the last. I was able to taste it in a casual environment a few months ago, and didn't take down any tasting notes. Through the fog of memory, I remember this bottle being very, very good. I had a fun time with it. Oskar Kostecki