Review: Foursquare Covenant – Mark XXIII

Although this year I couldn’t attend the UK RumFest properly, I did work at the event on the Trailer Happiness cocktail stand – and it was busy! But no matter what, I will always make some time to go see Peter Holland at his Foursquare boutique. It was early on a Monday, just before RumFest would open its doors for the trade session, when Peter poured me a sample of this gem – after all, starting your 11am with cask strength Barbadian rum can only mean you’ll have an amazing day ahead.

Covenant marks the 23rd release in the Exceptional Cask Selection limited bottlings and is also the oldest expression that Master Blender and Distiller, Richard Seale, has produced under the Foursquare label. No fancy casks or complicated blending information, this is simply an 18 year old rum aged in former Bourbon barrels in the tropical climate of Barbados.

Update (Thank you Peter Holland!): This is a blend of rums distilled in 2004 and 2005 that have been aged initially for 10 years, after that they have been vatted and slightly reduced in strength before being re-casked for 8 more years.

As per usual with Foursquare, everyone that got to try this before me had only praises for it, so I’m looking forward to diligently pour my sample and analyze it in the comfort of my own home.

Foursquare Covenant is molasses based, pot and column distilled and aged for 18 years in ex-Bourbon casks. Bottled at 58% ABV without any additives or chill filtering.

On the nose it feels very aromatic. Blood orange, allspice, toasted coconut, sour cherry jam and biscuits. Aromatic tobacco, apple pie, ginger, nail varnish and butterscotch. It has a very classic Barbadian rum profile, only dialed up to 11. Ruby port, ripe plums, sultanas and dried figs. Pistachios, maple syrup, sandalwood and nutmeg.

On the palate it has like a chewy wood mouthfeel. Sour cherries, pastries, ginger and red apples. Allspice, fruity tobacco, biscuits and canned plums. It has quite the heat on the palate, the wood spices are really coming through. Nutmeg, cinnamon, black pepper and vanilla. Dark chocolate, coconut flakes and orange marmalade. Some blackberries and blueberries as well with a drizzle of nail varnish. A little bit of molasses and stone fruits. The finish is long with dry, spicy, chewy oak and sour cherries.

This is a beautiful and needs to be enjoyed slow after given some time to breathe. As expected, very much on the woody side, but the distillate is still potent enough to come through. If you like oaky warm spices with a side of orchard fruits, this is very much a winner. Amazing stuff!

As of now it’s not yet available in the UK, but I guess it will be priced around £100-£110, which would be great value for an 18 year old rum that has been tropically aged and is presented pretty much at cask strength.

Foursquare Covenant – Mark XXIII:
Flavour/taste: 60/70
Value for money: 15/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 90/100


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