Review: Foursquare 2010 – Mark XXI

Another year, another Foursquare vintage, another review and another opportunity to have some great rum. I was able to purchase this bottle via the regular means, just placed an order online as it was released, which was a relief. To my knowledge, this release has around 30.000 bottles available so hopefully more rum drinkers get to enjoy it!

The Barbados based Foursquare Distillery bottles a few limited edition rums every year. This one is Mark XXI meaning it’s the 21st release in their Exceptional Cask Selection – a collection of rums distilled, blended and aged in various ways making them different from each other and yet very much recognisable as Barbados rums.

The vintages in the ECS are molasses distillates that have been aged only in former Bourbon barrels, no other maturation or finishing. There are 6 vintages in the ECS, from 2004 to 2010 with only the 2006 missing as that year was used for a collaboration with Velier – actually there are 7 vintages if you count the very first ECS release, the mystical Foursquare 1998.

Foursquare 2010 is molasses based, pot and column distilled and aged in ex-Bourbon casks for 12 years in the tropical climate of Barbados. Bottled at 60% ABV without any other additions.

On the nose it feels rich and woody. Stewed red apples, Luxardo cherries, pink pepper, new furniture and maple syrup. Allspice, new leather, tobacco, strawberry jam and some nail varnish. So far it seems balanced with the aromas being well integrated. Caramel, toasted oak, apricots, melon and dusty old books. Biscuits and candied ginger too.

On the palate it starts off sweet and rounded. Maple syrup, dried figs, raisins, red apples, ripe plums and sour cherries. Butterscotch, triple sec, fortified wine and biscuits. From mid palate towards the end the profile dries and wood spices are starting to come through. Black pepper, cinnamon, ginger beer and nutmeg. Charred oak, cacao nibs, marmalade and salted caramel. The finish is long with oak spices and orchard fruits.

Very fruity with a nice, oaky finish, if someone gave me this and told me it was a Foursquare rum matured in some sort of fortified wine cask I’d definitely believe it. It’s a little sweeter and fruitier than I’m used to from the usual ECS vintages and the wood influence is not as intense. It’s almost too easy as you take the first sip, but then spices galore appear on the finish and make this quite the flavour journey.

It is priced at £70 which is more than fair, the ECS vintages are always quite affordable. I can’t link any retailers that would carry this, but it doesn’t look like Master of Malt listed it yet, so might want to keep an eye out there as they could get some stock… maybe.

Foursquare 2010 – Mark XXI score:
Flavour/taste: 60/70
Value for money: 15/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 90/100


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