Review: Foursquare Nosing & Tasting Set (Zeewijck)

Last year there was a question on the Foursquare Rum Appreciation Society on Facebook as to when to celebrate World Foursquare Day and how. Plenty of people came with suggestions for the date like 4th of February (because four-square) or the 30th of November as it’s the Barbados Independence Day. The date everyone agreed one was 17th of November as that’s the day when Foursquare Distillery opened in 1996. As for the celebration I suggested having Corn ‘n’ Oils around the world and posting them online because, why not, it’s a beautiful and underrated drink. The people who brainstormed and contributed to the idea were rewarded by Richard Blesgraaf (founder of the group and shop owner at Zeewijck) with a Foursquare Tasting Set and I was lucky enough to get one my way for my idea.

I’ll be honest, I did forget about the set, but I found it recently and I decided to do a fun little blind tasting with it and see how the rums featured will rank. This set is not available in the shop anymore, but I noticed there’s a lovely Guyana Nosing & Tasting Set up for grabs which looks very promising.

So for the Foursquare Nose & Tasting Set we’ve got:

– Cane Island Barbados 8 Year Old Single Estate 43% ABV
– Compagne des Indes Barbados 12 Year Old 45% ABV
Kill Devil Barbados Foursquare 2007 9 Year Old 46% ABV
– Rum Sixty Six Family Reserve 12 Year Old 40% ABV
Foursquare Port Cask Finish 9 Year Old 40% ABV
– Kintra Rum Foursquare Barbados 14 Year Old 57.7% ABV

The flyer pictured above came with some information about each and I’ll leave it at that as I have 6 rums to sample… busy times! The tasting is blind using 25ml samples with the score simply reflecting the complexity of the rum on the nose and palate out of a total of 70 points.

Rum #1

On the nose feels quite boozy and fruity. Vanilla, agave syrup, ripe pineapple, parsley, yellow apples, mango, lemon zest and melon. A hint of wasabi and some ginger. I am enjoying the complexity of the aroma.

On the palate is a bit on the sweeter side. Vanilla custard, figs, honey, melon, cocoa and ripe pears. Nice spiciness with white pepper, nutmeg and some sweet tobacco. Finish is medium to long with oak spices and tropical fruits.

Really enjoyed it, it has a good sweetness to spiciness ratio with the fruitiness being tamed by the oaky notes.

Flavour/taste: 59/70


On the nose feels rich and sweet. Maple syrup, molasses, dusty cardboard, plum and blackcurrants. Salted caramel and a hint of strawberry. Has a lovely fortified wine vibe to it.

On the palate is mellow and sweet. I do believe this one could be the Port Cask as I can feel the influence. Red grapes, fortified wine, strawberry jam, blackcurrant liqueur, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur and sour cherries. A hint of dark chocolate and ginger. Finish is medium with fortified wine notes.

Also enjoyable, more on the sweet and rich side, moreish and very easy to drink – too easy if anything, it’s missing some oomph. To be noted it’s the one with the darkest colour.

Flavour/taste: 57/70


On the nose I’m struggling to get the flavours out, feels pretty thin. Yellow apples, some honey, vanilla and charred oak. A touch of saffron and white pepper. Had to get my nose all the way into the glass just to get that.

On the palate it becomes slightly more intense. Mango, saffron and golden syrup. Some saltiness along with quite a bit of charred oak. Vanilla and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Finish is short to medium with salted caramel and a touch of smoke.

This one wasn’t very well balanced. Wouldn’t mind sipping it, but I had better Foursquare.

Flavour/taste: 51/70


On the nose feels rich and full bodied. Maple syrup, sour cherry, dark chocolate, dry figs and raisins. Cloves and marmalade with a touch of floral honey. Tobacco and dusty cardboard. Very inviting!

On the palate is also rich and dark. Canned plums, some molasses, dry figs, coffee and raisins. Cocoa and a touch of liquorice. Pineapple juice, tobacco and pencil shavings. Finish is medium with molasses, dried plums and cayenne pepper

This was really nice, love the richness, although it’s missing some spice. It does have more kick than #2 which I like.

Flavour/taste: 58/70


On the nose feels a bit sharper than most of the others. Plum, a touch of varnish, pears, honey and ginger. Vanilla, caramel, lemon zest and a hint of cardamom. Seems pretty balanced.

On the palate it has a very salty-mineral note to it that seems to ruin the balance felt on the nose. Salted caramel, golden syrup, white pepper and ginger. Green jalapeno, yellow apples, cocoa nibs, vanilla and charred oak. Finish is medium with honey, salt and a bit of smoke.

Same problem as #3, the balance doesn’t seem too great compared with the others, but it was better. And more body to it which helped.

Flavour/taste: 53/70


On the nose it’s wildly different from the others. It jumped out of the glass with notes of olive brine, rotten pineapple, English Breakfast tea and ripe pears. If I didn’t know I would’ve said this is Jamaican rum like a continental aged Worthy Park. Tomato juice, ginger, saffron, black pepper and honey. Pretty intense!

On the palate this is definitely a higher ABV, can feel the heat. English Breakfast tea, saffron and pears again. Cardamom, black pepper, melon and mango. Some mothballs, tobacco, wasabi, stone fruits and chili. Reminds me of Mount Gay Pot Still to a degree. Finish is long with wasabi and tropical fruits.

This is absolutely gorgeous – complex, intense, plenty of body and quite different than all the Foursquares before.

Flavour/taste: 61/70

Here are the results:

6th place: rum#3 – Kill Devil Barbados Foursquare 2007 9 Year Old 46% ABV
5th place: rum#5 – Rum Sixty Six Family Reserve 12 Year Old 40% ABV
4th place: rum#2 – Foursquare Port Cask Finish 9 Year Old 40% ABV (I knew it!)
3rd place: rum#4 – Cane Island Barbados 8 Year Old Single Estate 43% ABV
2nd place: rum#1 – Compagne des Indes Barbados 12 Year Old 45% ABV
1st place: rum#6 – Kintra Rum Foursquare Barbados 14 Year Old 57.7% ABV

I had a feeling the Kintra would win knowing given the ABV and being older compared to the others, but the flavour profile was a complete surprise – a very pleasant and different one. The Compagne des Indes was absolutely great as well, it was the most balanced flavour wise.

Kintra Foursquare 14 YO label – taken from Rum Shop Boy

The way the Kintra Foursquare 14 YO stood out made me curious so I gave it a search where I found a review written by the Rum Shop Boy who was saying that there’s a possibility that this is an entirely pot still distilled Foursquare. Makes sense given how odd (the good kind) its profile was compared to the others. You can read his full review here.

This was definitely fun, I should do it more often! – he said smiling to himself after going through 6 different Barbadian rums in a row. Looking forward to 17th of November for the World Foursquare Day even more now and, although the circumstances aren’t ideal, I know I’ll down a couple of Corn ‘n’ Oils.


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