Review: The Real McCoy 12 Year Old Limited Edition Madeira Cask

If you’re reading this when it was uploaded, today is my birthday and I wanted to taste and review something from one of my favourite rum producing countries/distilleries – Barbados/Foursquare Distillery. Lately, thanks to Brexit, popularity and, of course, bottle flippers, getting one of the new Foursquare releases is basically a sprint to checkout before the stock runs out, so I decided to get some Real McCoy that was partially aged in a Madeira cask.

Real McCoy was founded by Bailey Pryor – the idea came up while he was producing a documentary film about Bill McCoy, a rum runner of the Prohibition era. “McCoy was the first to fill a boat with alcohol in the Caribbean, sail it up to New York City, and legally act as a floating liquor store three miles off shore. McCoy was careful to always stay outside the three mile limit, which was international waters in the early days of U.S. Prohibition.” – taken from their website. The website also emphasises the fact that McCoy never adulterated the alcohol he was selling, which is something Foursquare Distillery also stands by.

Bailey Prior met Richard Seale, the Master Distiller of Foursquare, while he was researching for his documentary and now their collaboration resulted in the Real McCoy range of rums.

Real McCoy advertises and distributes the brand, mainly in the US, but all their rums are produced and aged at Foursquare, in Barbados. I assume this partnership allows Foursquare juice easier access to the US market.

The Real McCoy Madeira Cask is a limited run of 500 cases from 2016. The rum was aged for 12 years in ex-Bourbon casks (90% of the blend) and Madeira casks (10% of the blend) and, according to the label, it contains a high ratio of pot still rum. The blend makeup sounds a lot like Doorly’s 12 Year Old, with the only difference seemingly being the ABV, but as far as I know, the Real McCoy range is very often described as woodier than the other Foursquare expressions – perhaps to please the bourbon drinking population more.

So molasses based, pot and column still distilled and aged for 12 years in Barbados in ex-Bourbon and Madeira casks. Bottled at 46% and without added sugar or flavours.

On the nose it feels sweet and fruity. Cherries, prunes, blackberries, blackcurrant, red apples, blood orange and sultanas. Sponge cake, nutmeg, saffron, almonds and cashews. The wood influence is definitely big as well with notes of vanilla, old leather, cinnamon and allspice. I know the cask was Madeira, but it was a bit of a PX Sherry profile.

On the palate is definitely woodier. Prune jam, sour cherries, raisins, cappuccino and dark chocolate. Burnt orange zest, cayenne pepper, tobacco and caramel. Blanco vermouth, dusty cardboard, pink pepper, allspice and walnuts. There’s a slight bitterness towards the end. The finish is long with charred oak and nuts.

I usually like woody Foursquares, Doorly’s 14 Year Old is a good example of that, and this Real McCoy is great too, but the bitterness is a tad off-putting and it could’ve been better by Foursquare standards – or maybe I just had high expectations.

You can grab one for £70 (The Whisky Exchange) which is bit too much in opinion.

The Real McCoy 12 Year Old Limited Edition Madeira Cask score:
Flavour/taste: 57/70
Value for money: 12/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 84/100


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