A lot of Barbados talk lately, with the Barbados rum GI being (unfortunately) a matter of debate as the West Indies Rum Distillery (owned by Maison Ferrand that produces the Plantation rums) opposes the GI proposed by the other three rum producers on the island: Mount Gay, St. Nicholas Abbey and Foursquare. More on the subject here or a simple “Barbados rum GI” Google search should do the trick if you’re looking to keep yourself up to date.
With that in mind I decided to get into the second bottle from Foursquare’s Exceptional Cask Selection that was launched more than 5 years ago. The Port Cask Finish it’s not really a ‘finish’ – more like a double maturation as Richard Seale would later describe his next releases. It’s been aged for 3 years in ex-Bourbon casks with the last 6 years being spend in… well… Port casks – bringing it to a total of 9 years spent in oak. It’s a molasses based rum, blend of pot and column still that after the 9 years ageing in the tropical climate was bottled at 40% ABV, free of any gimmicks.
On the nose it’s definitely Barbadian rum. Sour cherries, vanilla, dark chocolate, dusty oak, grape skins, juicy apricots, melon and mangoes. Earl Grey tea, match sticks and a floral honey scent. Burnt orange zest, cloves and red apples. I can feel a hint of fusel oil in the background, a little bit like a Caroni – interesting.
On the palate it starts fairly sweet but it dries out by the end. Sponge cake, sour cherries, vanilla custard, lemon zest and oak spices. Peach jam, cloves, cacao, pink pepper with a tad of savory canned mushrooms. Only 40% ABV but the flavours are all over the place. This is very complex especially given its age – I guess that’s what 9 years of ageing in a tropical climate can do. The Port cask brings out fruity notes like strawberries, plums and red grapes. The finish is fairly long with oak spices and a hint of sea salt.
At 40% ABV this is so easy to drink, but complex nonetheless and at the time of the release was only £30. That’s just insane, I feel like I came late to the party, delicious stuff.
As I mentioned this is the second release from the Exceptional Cask Selection. The ECS range has 11 (limited in numbers) releases so far with a number 12 (Nobiliary) announced to make its appearance on the market “in due course”. They are all Barbadian rums from the very same distillery and retain the same DNA, but in the same time they are unique enough and each have their own characteristical flavour profile. Can’t see any danger of “standardisation” here.
I’ve tasted the whole of ECS and it never let me down so far and I’m sure many people will nod in agreement as they read this. Maybe I just really like Barbadian rum and maybe you do as well.
If only there was a way of protecting identity of the rum made in Barbados… hmm.
Foursquare Port Cask Finish – Mark II score:
Value for money: 14/15