Richard Seale and his foursquare is having a pretty good 2020 considering everything that’s going on. With the releases of the mindbogglingly ridiculously (but aptly) named Plenipotenziario, the regal Nobiliary (great comparison on these two here) and later in the year the 2008.
It’s safe to say that Foursquare is digging itself in more and more as THE golden standard for rum quality, pureness and straight taste with each bottle new expression. A very passionate following (of which I am becoming one) leads the charge with declarations of love all over, rum reviewers give the tipples from the distillery’s stills a constant stream of good to great reviews. This effort leads to a wider respect and hopefully a further normalization of this rum; meaning that -thanks to the frequent releases of new bottlings surrounded by quite some hype- foursquare will be more available wherever you go. Perhaps even kicking Plantation of the pedestal on which it was placed by the larger mainstream consumer market.
Wow, that last sentence sounded a bit Fox news-y.
Back to the rum at hand, today I’ll be reviewing the Nobiliary. This is the 12th “installment” of the Exceptional Cask Selection and is named for its noble character, hence the name and the royal purple lettering (love that detail). Why royal purple? Well, little history lesson; back in the time of the Great empires (think Persian, Roman, Byzantine) purple was the color of royalty (or nobility), simply because the clothes with this pigment were so exorbitantly expensive. Rulers liked showing of their power and wealth by flaunting purple (in this case the emperor does have clothes, purple ones at that). Now that you know this, you can dazzle all your friends with your knowledge of the letter colouring of the Nobiliary and its meaning. (thank god for The Rum Robin, right?)
After this history lesson, let’s go through the specs: the Nobiliary is aged in Barbados for 14 years, all of which in Ex-bourbon casks and bottled at 62%. The distillate in this bottle is a blend of a continuous twin column still and a double retort pot still and there are absolutely no additives (sweeteners, flavourings, colouring) or take-aways (chill-filtering).
Okay, let the regal tasting start
Dark orange-brown, very apple juice-y
Boy, that is a lovely sniff. The rum first presents itself as quite dry with a lot of interesting and intense smells just around the corner. The nose gives a powerful impression, with a pleasant first oomph and lovely fruitiness. The most notable scents I get are raisins and plums. I also get some funky varnish and a bit of darker leather-y notes. Some sourness also sneaks in, which gives the rum a fresher nose.
Ooh, that tickles the tongue in a nice way. The first sip brings along a fair amount of spiciness and fruit. The varnish smell is almost unrecognizable on the palate, instead I get some more bourbon influence. A hint of vanilla, with some acidity which combines in a great dry mouthfeel, but with a full flavour.
It takes a couple of sips to get used to the intense spices, which bring some amazing notes themselves. It’s after these sips that the rum really opens up completely. The vanilla notes are coming to the forefront, together with some dark chocolate. Though the 62% ABV keeps the rum punchy and quite an experience with every sip.
Thanks to the intense flavours of the high ABV and the many years in the Barrel, the finish is really long and almost as complex as some lesser rums in their entirety. After the sip, everything mellows out, the dark chocolate loses some of its cacao and the vanilla combines with yet a new hint, one of caramel. A nice relaxing end to an intense, dry and flavourful rum.
Wow, this is one hell of a dram. From what I’ve read about and have tasted from foursquare before, I always thought Foursquare was a rather composed and quiet sort of rum. Like Speyside or Lowland whiskies, great quality and more missionary than kinky.
But was I wrong, after drinking this truly noble rum it seems that I still have quite a while to go in my rum-journey and a lot to learn.
This is truly a noble rum; and not some weak nobility, but more of an emperor Augustus or King Louis XIV. A Nobility out of this world, which only deserves to be praised. An intense opening palate and a complex, satisfying middle palate and finish make sure of this. Truly a stunning rum.