Barbados is considered the home of rum, but the Rum Duty Act from 1906 shaped its industry as we know it today. The act allowed distilleries to sell rum only in bulk therefore a lot of trading companies became bottlers and blenders acting as a buffer between the producers and the buyers. Names like Martin Doorly’s and Co, E.S.A. Field, Alleyne Arthur, John D Taylor, R.L. Seale and so on were of traders that specialised themselves in blending rums bought from the distilleries creating their own distinct product.
R.L. Seale was officially founded in 1926 and in 1996 they finalised their own distillery – Foursquare. The company is named after Richard Seale’s (Master Distiller at Foursquare Distillery) grand grandfather – Reginald Leon Seale. R.L. Seale is the home of many brands including the names mentioned above, which were acquired over time in order to preserve them, only today they are all produced at Foursquare Distillery. For example Doorly’s is their export brand, Old Brigand is one of their local rums, Foursquare is the high-end limited series, and the list goes on.
But there’s one rum that bares the name of the company – R.L. Seale’s Finest Barbados Rum.
R.L. Seale’s rum won multiple awards at the IWSC proving there’s more to it than just an unique looking bottle – meant to look like an old school leather pouch used to carry rum back in the days. Molasses based rum, column and pot distilled and then aged for 10 years in Barbados in ex-Bourbon barrels. As always with Foursquare, the rum is free of any additions and it’s bottled at a decent 46% ABV (used to be 43% ABV until last year).
On the nose feels rich and spicy. Dried prunes, apricots, hazelnuts, cinnamon, sultanas and pink pepper. Sour cherries, wood shavings, ripe bananas, almonds and vanilla. A combo of tropical fruits, spiciness and oak. Bit of raspberries, coriander and marmalade too.
On the palate the wood is more proeminent and dried fruits are on the menu. Dried apricots, dried figs, dried mango, raisins, peaches, tobacco, cinnamon, vanilla and burnt oak. Red apples and cherries with hints of anise and saffron. It’s dry and woody yet has quite a creamy mouthfeel. A sharp citrusy/lemony note all the way balancing it. Finish is medium to long with vanilla, bit of saffron and wood smoke.
I’m not the first to review this bottle, but I thought I should definitely have one of the staple Barbados rums featured here. Most Bajan rums I tried are usually quite rich in flavour something I enjoy, but R.L. Seale’s is drier and delivers. Balances woody and fruity very well while still being oak forward. You can find it from around £40 (sometimes cheaper) from Amazon and various retailers such as Master of Malt which is more than a good price for what you’re getting.
R.L. Seale ‘s 10 Year Old (46% ABV) score:
Value for money: 15/15