Review: Foursquare Sovereignty – Mark XIX

Rum Show was upon us this weekend and while I attended only the trade session, I did manage to make the most of it. I took this opportunity to put together a review of the Sovereignty (among others to follow) ahead of its UK release.

Foursquare Sovereignty is the 19th Exceptional Cask Selection, a range of limited edition bottles that started in 2008 which explores the potential of Barbados rum through blending and ageing. I’ve already had a look ahead at the 20th release, Foursquare Isonomy, and I was very much impressed so I am looking forward to sample the Sovereignty as well.

As the label mentions, Mark XIX was released on November 2021 (it takes time for it to reach various markets after release) the same month as Barbados’ Independence Day (November 30th), which is referenced in its name – Sovereignty: supreme power or authority.

This is a “sherried” Foursquare, having spent 3 years in ex-Bourbon and further 11 years in ex-Oloroso casks. Make no mistake, this is not like an older Elysium, that one being a mix of distillates that have been fully aged separately in ex-Bourbon and ex-Oloroso barrels before blending rather than double-aged.

Foursquare Sovereignty is molasses based, a blend of pot and column still rums aged for a total of 14 years with 3 years in ex-Bourbon and 11 years in former sherry casks. Bottled at 62% ABV without any chill filtering or adulteration.

On the nose it feels rich and nutty. Banana flambe, walnuts, almonds and raisins. Brown sugar, stem ginger, apple pie and dusty furniture. Layers of sharp nail varnish and toasted coconut. Wood shavings, liquorice and maple syrup. Balsamic vinegar soaked sour cherries. The wood influence is strong with this one. Black olives, vanilla smoke, prunes and raw cacao nibs.

On the palate the woodiness is very much present. Blackcurrant, walnuts, Luxardo cherries and almonds. Charred oak, black pepper, very old leather and burnt cigar. Dried hibiscus, rose water and cooked orange peel. While the tasting notes might not reflect that, it is quite dry. Treacle, dark chocolate, canned mushrooms, balsamic vinegar and ume plums. The finish is long with bitter oak and dry plum notes.

Dry and oaky, that’s Sovereignty in a very small nutshell. This is complex, as expected from any Foursquare ECS, but I feel like the long tropical ageing in combination with a longer time in a sherry cask such as Oloroso led to a rum that really accentuates the dry woody notes and I don’t find it fitting the rest of its profile.

Now I am no Master Blender or anything like that and maybe some will find Sovereignty more to their taste than other ECS. I always hold Foursquare to a high regard and I tend to compare it to other releases in my mind so this time I would very much prefer Elysium as a Barbadian rum with a sherry influence. I’d still purchase a bottle of Sovereignty once it’s on the UK market (soon enough) as the quality and value are up there.

Foursquare Sovereignty – Mark XIX score:
Flavour/taste: 57/70
Value for money: 15/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 87/100


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