Review: Foursquare Destino – Velier

Foursquare Destino (Barbados)! Yes, that bottle whose picture you can see around rum groups with the “ISO” tag. Richard Seale (R.L. Seale) featuring Luca Gargano (Velier) made this a “hit” among rum lovers, both being names that are well respected in the rum world. Unfortunately I arrived too late at the party and didn’t get to try the “preview” – Foursquare Destino Velier 70th Anniversary Release, but fate (he he) smiled upon me and I was lucky enough to be able to buy one of the last bottles of Destino (“standard” release) available in Italy.

This is one of 2610 bottles released, distilled from molasses in pot and column still, tropical aged for 2 years in ex-Bourbon casks and 12 years in ex-Madeira casks (yes, 14 years) with the angel share being higher than 43%, and bottled at 61% ABV – barrel proof. Now I really don’t want to delay the tasting anymore, I’ve given my praises to Richard Seale before and Luca Gargano is just up there with his unique Velier releases. That’s just it!

On the nose the ABV does jump out with an acetone aroma, it feels old and dusty. There’s dry fruits, old leather, tobacco, dark chocolate, olive brine, candied cherries, raspberry jam, prunes, burnt orange peel, maple syrup, blackberry liqueur – not necessarily in this order, they just dance in tandem. Creamy and charred oak, spices – cloves and pepper being obvious to me, and if I stick my nose deeper I can get some hints of gasoline – oh my, it’s hot.

On the palate it’s ‘darker’ than the nose. This reminds me a bit of childhood, and no, I wasn’t power chugging overproof rums (unfortunately) – the first thing that comes into my mind is dark chocolate brownie. It’s very warm and silky, 61% ABV and it doesn’t bite at all. Dark fruits – dark chocolate covered raisins, prunes, creme de cassis, Luxardo cherries, black raspberries with savoury canned mushrooms, candied walnuts and black olives. There’s a rubber/tire and petroleum taste going on that just plays nice with everything else. The Madeira cask is well integrated, but the obvious notes would be unfermented and fortified wine along with some red grapes. Hints of Fernet. Oak spices are here at every step, black pepper, tobacco, burnt wood, maple syrup with some aniseed in the background. The more I drink it the more juicy it becomes and it brightens up. The finish is like ruits covered in molasses with oak shaves on top. There is a lingering fruity sweetness, with a touch of bitter that keeps going on.

Ok, if I keep going I’ll arrive at work a bit merrier than I should. This is simply amazing! It’s dark and bright in the same time. Rich and dry. Sweet and bitter. The balance is uncanny. In a blind tasting Destino could easily pass as a (very expensive) Guyanese rum. I feel so lucky to have a bottle of this. There is just one downside… I can’t untaste it now and once it’s gone, that’s it, I might need to go to rehab. No biggie!

Foursquare Destino – Velier score:
Flavour/taste: 63/70
Value for money: 12/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 90/100


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