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Last year we had a slew of articles proclaiming Foursquare was "the Pappy of rum." It's hard to know where to go from there. It's fair to say that Foursquare has made it. When Foursquare 2005 won the International Spirits Challenge’s Supreme Champion award last year, the first time a rum has ever won that title, it was a watershed moment for the whole category. The incredibly high quality of spirit coming from this Barbados distillery has found a rapturous audience with industry professionals and consumers alike.
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% yearly in the Caribbean, compared with only 1-2% in continental Europe.
We're very happy to offer two brand new releases from Foursquare, the 2007 vintage and the Empery. Along with that, we've held onto some previous bottles and are sending them out into the world as well.
As always, we cannot ship spirits out of state. Today's email is availbale for pick-up, delivery within the city, or shipping in New York State.
A collaboration between two of the best rum distilleries in the world, Foursquare and Hampden Estate in Jamaica, Probitas is made of three components: a 2-year-aged Foursquare rum distilled on Coffey still, an unaged Foursquare Coffey still, and an unaged Hampden Estate pot-distilled rum. Opening with notes of creamy vanilla and citrus on the nose, from the first sip this is rich and complex, incorporating the best of what both producers have to offer, with just enough funk from the Hampden distillate to make this very engaging. Tropical fruit, banana custard, notes of molasses and sugarcane are all present on the thick and oily palate. Sipping it neat isn't a problem, but cocktails is where this rum really shines. Will make the perfect Daiquiri! Oskar Kostecki
The vintage releases from Foursquare just keep getting better and better. Aged all in ex-bourbon cask for a minimum of 12 years, this 2007 release is a powerhouse, incorporating everything we loved about the 2004 and 2005, but amplifying it even further. Richard Seale increased the pot still component for the 2007, and it's gushing with richness and intensity. An incredible combination of sweet spice, dried fruit, chocolate, leather and tobacco, all very intense, but very much balanced. Richard Seale and the Foursquare team just keep raising the bar with each release. Oskar Kostecki
Wow! Talk about intensity. 14 years old, with an average of 4 years spent in high quality ex-sherry casks, this has a monster of a nose, incorporating everything from sherry, dark chocolate, walnuts, taffy, salted caramel, honey, dried orange peel, and intense oak spice. The palate is incredibly thick, rich, and oily, and absolutely delivers on all the promise of the nose. Chewy tannins and bold flavors lead to an insanely long finish. Quite similar to the "Patrimonio" released a few years ago in collaboration with Velier, but only available in Europe. Oskar Kostecki
Richard Seale of Foursquare Distillery on Barbados is a master of blending pot and column distillates, and indeed all rums produced under the official Foursquare label are such combinations. Finding the right balance between the two has been done with great skill and care, and in the past few years Foursquare has emerged as one of the leading rum brands in the world (we're obviously talking quality here, not quantity). But here we have a different animal: the only commercial example I have ever seen of a 100% pot-distilled Foursquare. Wow is this intense. Aged for two years in Cognac casks and bottled at a whopping 64%, this is a brawny rum, full of character and flavor. Notes of leather, baking spice, raisin, dried apricot, baked apple, and vanilla are all present, along with a meaty and rich mouthfeel. If you've enjoyed the official Foursquare offerings, this will be right up your alley; a step further down the rabbit-hole. 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
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