I’m a little late on this one… only about 6 months and almost 2 new releases late; so overall, not too shabby. So, with a bit of a delay, I’ll be reviewing the Foursquare ECS (Exceptional Cask Selection) #13, the 2008 vintage. Due to my tardiness, there has already been some writing on it, which you can find here and here.
The 2008 is the 13th installment of the Exceptional cask series and the 5th vintage (after 1998, 2004, 2005, and 2007). The ECS-series releases have quickly become essential grabs for everyone even a bit interested in rum; with Foursquare being the golden standard for general rum quality and Richard Seale being the professor of and preacher for transparency, pure production, and rum GI.
This will no doubt be a solid rum, the recent history of Foursquare shows no reason to think otherwise. Definitely for the price at which the bottles are sold primarily. At release, the 2008 will set you back about €70-80, and from previous experience I’ve never felt that a Doorly’s or Foursquare has been overpriced, more often than not it’s the exact opposite. With the primary price being rather under their worth and then picking up on the secondary market by an immense margin, as is the case for much of the Foursquare ECS rums
Now, the 2008 as a rum. Let’s quickly run over the specs; The rum has been produced by a Pot and Column blend (single blended rum) and aged for 12 years on ex-bourbon casks, it was then bottled in April of 2020 at an ABV of 60%.
Dark orange, mahogany, copper
The initial impression is a bit underwhelming. Some vanilla and glue are present but it’s not the full and gentle nose, it’s more sharp and alcoholic which sort of makes sense at 60%. Further notes of citrus is added in the form of tangerines. Lots of spice closes of the initial nosing.
After letting the rum rest for a while, the deeper notes start coming forward. There’s more chocolate cake and the vanilla is somewhat more pronounced. The nose is overall pretty good, but nothing that blows my mind.
On the palate is where the rum really starts to shine. Initial sweeter notes of vanilla and marzipan are combined with woody spices and the ABV adds a bit of a kick to it, less so than what I expected from the nose. Further on there are some sherry notes by way of oranges and raisins. It also should be no surprise that the rum is as dry as you would expect from a foursquare. The rum also carries some heaviness, a certain boldness and bravado which I do appreciate.
There is a long lingering finish filled with the transition of vanilla and sherry to tobacco and eventually leather with the woodiness and spices continuing on from the beginning and middle palates.
Overall a good Foursquare, it hits all the expectations without going above and beyond. All the purely ex-bourbon Foursquares possess so much of the same qualities (no shit, Sherlock), this of course makes them solid rums, some slightly better than others. But it also makes for a mostly homogeneous and unsurprising(ly good) set of releases. The limited quantities of the bottlings then ramp up interest and eventually prices, which for rum lovers is a damn shame.
Because don’t get me wrong. Every single Foursquare I’ve tasted so far is of the highest quality. So maybe the limited releases of vintages and expressions isn’t all that bad when they produce these sorts of rum. And every Foursquare is an outstanding rum, be it in the Barbadian segment, or worldwide. Seale really knows how to make rum.
I, therefore, look forward to tasting the Détente (the review of which is coming soon), this will be a good time to see what Foursquare does on Port cask (I haven’t tried one yet).
Anyhoo, Foursquare 2008: good, solid Foursquare; great rum. Even though it lacks that eye-widening special je-ne-sais-quoi, which makes you say “oooh Holy Guacamole, this is something”, it’s a bloody good drink.