Review: Foursquare 2013 – Habitation Velier

I couldn’t be locked in my house with nothing to do and not reach for a bottle from one of my favourite rum producers in the world – Foursquare Distillery, Barbados. This bottle is released in collaboration with Velier and it’s part of their Habitation Velier range. Dubbed as The House of Pure Single Rums on the label, Habitation Velier is a collection of cask strength, unadulterated, limited rums from around the Caribbean.

Pure Single Rum, under the Gargano classification (Luca Gargano being the CEO of Velier) means the rum is pot still distilled, comes from a single distillery and it’s free of additives – think Single Malt but with sugarcane spirit.

Foursquare really doesn’t need any presentation, multi-awarded distillery from Barbados established in 1995. They are behind brands like Doorly’s, Old Brigand (distributed locally in Barbados), Real McCoy and more. Their Exceptional Cask Selection range got the attention and praise of the rum geek community and the bottlings made in collaboration with Velier are being sold out in a matter of minutes at the moment. Pretty cool, eh?

All the information for Foursquare 2013 is present on the label, I’m just gonna list it here too. Molasses based rum, distilled in 2013 at Foursquare in their double retort pot still and aged for 2 years (The Lone Caner stated that it’s actually 2 years and 11 months) in the tropics in ex-Cognac casks. What makes this rum unique is the fact that usually Barbados rum is a blend of column and pot still distillates whereas this one is pure pot still. Also the addition of Cognac cask short ageing makes it quite interesting. Bottled in 2015 at a mouthwatering 64% ABV with no additives, colouring or chill filtering.

On the nose it feels sweet and acidic. Fruity with apples, red grapes, apricots, banana peels, canned mango in syrup and orange zest. Then there is some pot still funk/acidity to it with notes of mothballs, nail varnish and wasabi. Aromatic tobacco, dusty cardboard, caramel and touch of tutti frutti flavour. A bit earthy too… I could nose this for hours, but I’d rather drink some.

On the palate the ‘funk’ takes a step back and the ex-Cognac cask influence really shines. Definitely a grapey/wine/cognac profile to it followed by intense tobacco, leather and peaches. Acidity does make my tongue tingle with notes of wasabi, pink grapefruit and varnish. Subtle layers of toffee and vanilla to balance the intensity. Black tea, walnuts, toasted biscuits, honey and a hint of sweet smokiness. It’s amazing what almost 3 years ageing in the tropics can do, the oak is definitely present adding some baking spices into the mix. The finish is long with sweet cherries, charred oak, cloves and some floral notes.

Given its ABV this doesn’t bite at all, it’s well balanced and complex. You’d have a bit of trouble trying to find this bottle at the moment, but at the time of the release it was around £85 and that’s pretty much a bargain. Stunning stuff!

Foursquare 2013 – Habitation Velier score:
Flavour/taste: 60/70
Value for money: 14/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 89/100


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