Rum Review: Rasta Morris Foursquare 2005 14y

Rasta Morris review #3. And this one should be no surprise… Yes! It’s a Foursquare. Because every Indy rum bottler should at least attempt to get a Foursquare in their portfolio.

In the short time, I’ve had this blog, I’ve written about Foursquare quite frequently. With the distillery being the golden standard for non-Jamaican rum (as this is a whole different category to me) it’s more a question about picking a favourite kid at the moment. It’s hard, some of the crazier (think Sassafras) or the more accessible expressions (think Détente) really make me happy. These are the kid’s that are either great athletes or are on their way to becoming doctors or something.

However, it must be said that the other -meaning ex-bourbon- Foursquare rums are all very similar on some levels. Which of course is understandable… as they’re all from the same distillery, with the same finish. The only variable is the ABV. So there’s little that sets them apart sometimes.

All these consistent and consistently good rums that I’ve tried were official bottlings. OB’s will always have a certain amount of homogeneity about them, this counts for rum as much as it does for whisky. Independent bottlings, however, have the opportunity to show a different part of the much-loved distilleries. I do hope this bottling will have that. As I love Foursquare, but I’m curious about some new Foursquare aspects. Let’s see if this is a wacky and varied Indy or bottling of a palate we all know and love.

For the specs: this is a 14-year-old Foursquare, distilled in 2005, aged in the tropics for 11 years and bottled in 2019 at a cask strength of 63.6%. Only 273 bottles were released.

Colour:

Somewhere between gold and copper. Nice orange hue

Nose:

Ah yes, typically Foursquare. Be it with a slight twist, it smells a bit fresher and vegetal than what I’m used to. The slight glue/polish scents from the other high ABV Foursquare releases are present, along with a certain minerality. This minerality helps give the fruitiness of the rum a new definition. Making it more juicy and fresher. Mango, guava and fresh pineapple are the notes I’m getting. The longer the rum breathes the more the fruit fades away for the dark tea, caramel and leather notes we’re more familiar with when it comes to Foursquare. Anyhow, nice complexity on the nose.

Taste:

The taste leans more towards the classical, browner vanilla, caramel and spice Foursquare palate. The warm spice of Foursquare along with its trademark glue/polish and the ever-inviting fruit-caramel combo should be the stuff of hymns.

This bottling does have something extra though. It’s hard to describe, but it’s almost something dirty. A bit of rubber and lots of leather and tobacco. This makes the palate increasingly heavy, along with the spice this is becoming a hefty fellow.

Finish:

The finish is very extended. With the heavier flavours remaining, the leather, caramel, tobacco, and glue are present from start to finish (apart from the nose).

It should be no surprise that a Foursquare release is good. It’s become a familiar and continually satisfying palate. The nose gave the initial indication of a very fresh palate, this seemed not to be the case. The palate instead was heavier and darker than any Foursquare I’ve had so far. This gave the rum a very dynamic and complex experience from the fresh start to the dark finish. much of the same goodness with some elongated pleasures on both side of the spectrum. so yeah, pretty good.

9/10

Rum Review : Rasta Morris Trinidad 2007

The second Rasta Morris, This time we’re traveling to Trinidad and Tobago. An island we all know for the legendary caroni and some (mostly locals and rum-geeks) know for Fernandes. Today Trinidad is home to only one distillery. TDL (Trinidad Distillers Limited), these are the kind people who make Angustora rum, the world famous bitters and some other products.

TDL is a pretty modern institution when you look at their production method, the distillery has these huge column stills which make rum a very light, approachable rum. Think Bacardi or Havana Club, but better quality and taste. Angustora has a very wide portfolio ranging from a 3 year old white rum (charcoal filtered) to special blends with significant dates for the company as names such as: 1919, 1824, 1787.

Overall I’m not to crazy about this type of more commercially focused “light” rum. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a very tasty tipple and more people should be drinking this than Don Papa or Kraken or whatever is in a new skull-shaped bottle. I just don’t really get as much pleasure from drinking this type of rum. So, I’m very curios what Mr Bruyneel has done with this distillery.

The rum is 13 years old, having spent 8 years in Trinidad & Tobago and then another 5 years in Europe. And -here’s the real put-your-mouth-on-the-curb-kicker- bottled at 67.5% ABV, yes, sixty-seven point five. We’ll see how it goes, I’m intrigued.

Colour:

Light golden with a subtle brown hue.

Nose:

On par with its baffling 67.5% ABV, very prickly and rather sharp at first. Some coconut shavings and dried plums are closely behind this initial sharpness, this sharpness also translates to some glue-ish nose. All this is being coated by honey, or at least a floral sweetness. The nose isn’t bad, nothing too mindblowing either.

Taste:

The taste is much better than the nose lets on. My first impressions are that the rum is warm, with a pleasant alcoholic spice. Not like the sharp nose. I do feel the alcohol going down my throat, though it’s way more Hot Toddy than shot-of-vodka.

The light floral theme does carry over to the palate, behind the ever-present heated spice of 67.5% there is a very subtle rum full of fresh honey, coconuts and orange blossoms. The combinations of both extremes (the ABV and subtle flavours) gives a whole range of flavours. As the honey sometimes transforms itself into dark slightly bitter caramel and the coconuts get roasted a bit.

Finish:

The finish is medium-long. The main notes remaining are those of roasted coconuts, the bitter caramel and a tiny amount of the floral orange blossom. The finish gets darker the longer it goes on, eventually leading to a distant hint of tobacco.

I didn’t expect this rum to work as well as it does. The ABV is something you’ll probably won’t get used to, and that seems to be the point here. Trinidadian rum in general is nice, in both meanings of the word. it’s pleasant tasting, but it has no real presence, no fist slamming on the table and demanding your attention.

This kind of does have that. 67.5% is a pretty big fist of course. It also makes the lighter, “nicer/kinder” flavours heavier and more interesting while still preserving them somewhat. I also really do love that it’s still such a drinkable rum, even at this ABV. This one works way better than the lower ABV Venezuela from Rasta Morris. Good one Bert!

8/10