As the days bleed into one another and 2020 continues to descend into a Lovecraftian viral-haunted and hornet-swarmed nightmare; once all the online classes have been taken, the cupcakes baked, the Animal Crossing island maxed, one can appreciate the joy of receiving a box in the mail of a selection of Bajan distillery Foursquare’s fave selection of rums.
So a round of applause for Brand Ambassador Peter Holland organising this fabulous at-home experience, and Richard Seale of Foursquare, a veritable treasure trove of knowledge of the rum industry.
Free from added sugar and flavourings, Foursquare’s Barbados rums are made with molasses, and distilled through both pot and column stills, hopefully ready to give us the best of both!
Let’s cut to the chase and get down to business! Beginning with the Doorly’s 3 Year Old (47% ABV)! The 47% is a development on the 40%, the pricier higher proof being a small sacrifice to make to meet bartender tastes for this characteristic Doorly’s gem.
Almost entirely clear if not for the hint of straw, the Doorly’s 3 Year Old (47% ABV) enters the fray with a nose packing a vanilla punch over the boozier aromas, followed by tropical fruits of coconut and hints of banana, freshly cut pineapple and cut-grass.
That tropical sweetness on the tongue puts up a fierce battle, but soon gives way to an oakier, smokier flavour I adore, finishing with a shameless but short boozy kick. What a joy, this one, can’t wait to make some citrus cocktails with this one.
The classic that taught everyone what the Hyacinth Macaw was, the Doorly’s XO is a Bajan standard of 43%, a rum matured in Oloroso sherry casks: and you can tell.
The deep amber releases a nose of light fruitiness, toffee, and hints of vanilla, and the flavours – oof. The initial sweetness of oak and vanilla unveil a wintery spiced and caramelised orange, whose citrus restrains the sweetness of the rum. And then comes dessert, the cocoa and raisins so characteristic of an Oloroso finish. What a classic.
A shade darker and drier, the Doorly’s 12 Year Old rum (43% ABV) is blended in Madeira casks, harkening to the booze history of Barbados. Boy, if that nose isn’t keeping the Doorly’s style going: more of the banana, candied orange and sweet pineapple – with added risque leather and tobacco.
And that flavour? The spice swans right in, it lingers on your tongue, there is a confidence here that is a privilege. The tobacco, and cocoa, and roasted coffee bean tempers the vanilla and dry oak, with a long but very subtle finish of shaved Ceylon cinnamon. Honestly. A joy.
Oh we pulling out the big guns already?
The Nobiliary 14 year blend is taking no prisoners with that cask strength 62% ABV, as the 12th release of the Exceptional Cask series, it has a lot to live up to.
Currently only available at the Whisky Exchange for the UK, the Nobiliary and-
Oh 7 heavens I got distracted, that NOSE.
I could sniff this all day. That incredible aroma of ripe, ripped figs, of plums segmented and dipped in syrup, the sweetness of dates swollen in the sun, vanilla and shaved sweet coconut mingle with bright, firecracker spice. I am in love.
Sip it: You want tropical fruit? You got it. You want the familiar stone fruits of preserves and autumn? You got it. You want ginger and cinnamon and bay leaf and clove and hints of sherry? You got it all.
Complex, dry, a whirlwind. A long finish of spice and fruit. The prior Exceptional Casks were wonderful, but the Nobiliary is not here to play. This is it.
The Nobiliary felt like the peak of the evening, so I gazed rather warily at the Crisma: a rum cream liqueur.
Aged rum, vanilla, coffee, cream? Seems threatening enough. Yes, there are things that scare me. Cream liqueurs are that category. One fears the edging closer to tipsily watching the Downton Abbey Christmas Special on Boxing Day.
I take that back. I take that all back. The Crisma is a *!&£(!@$* delight.
It’s your every high-school guilty pleasure after its 20-something glow up.
Throw the buckets of sugar out the window, enjoy a restrained, subtler, unapologetic cream liqueur that has nothing to prove and everything to give. The Crisma is going to *dominate* winter.
A longstanding fan of Foursquare, I knew I was in for a treat when the box came in, but I wasn’t expecting just what I was in for. The Doorly’s 3, 12 and XO have always been classics, and they won’t let us forget that. But mate, the Nobiliary and Crisma? They decimated.
More thanks to Peter Holland and Richard Seale of Foursquare for this tasting experience, it’s been a ride.
Find more of Foursquare and Doorly’s Rum Bajan bottlings online at The Whisky Exchange.