Updated: Sep 22, 2020
Covid 19 is impacting us all in one way or another. I see a lot of struggling people around me and through social media. Writing about rum and whining about not being able to buy certain expressions in Toronto seems like a very spoiled brat type of thing to do right now. I’ll attempt to act like a grownup. On the other hand, these first world problems do make me realize that life is good and will be back to amazing at some point. Need to keep grinding, believing in better times and be kind to others.
Bottles of the Foursquare ECS series trickle into Canada from the US now and then. With the Covid related border closing, this is an avenue that isn’t available to us anymore. Thus, when 2008 came on the market I realized it would be harder to get hold of one. Luckily I have rum friends who managed to get some and gave me a generous sample! Rum family helping each other out, even in pandemic time.
I’m very curious about this one, as I love its predecessor, Foursquare 2007. The first time I tried that beauty was at Chicago rumfest in 2019 and I still remember that first sip. It’s like a first kiss on the most exciting date you’ve ever been on. I took that sip, waited a few seconds to let it register, then turned around and said to Richard Seale:”How the hell do you do this?”. I’ve enjoyed the two bottles I’ve been able to get my hands on immensely since. So did every friend I shared it with, rum drinkers and non rum drinkers. A sign of great rum.
Foursquare 2008 is the 13th release in the Exceptional Cask Selection range. It’s a single blended rum, which means it contains both pot and column still rums from a single distillery. Aged for 12 years in ex bourbon barrels and bottled at 60%. No additives, obviously. These specs are exactly the same as 2007, except for the abv being 59%. However, there can be differences in the balance of pot and column rums, or a difference in the quality and age of the barrels in which the spirit has aged. There are many variables.
I tasted this in a blind lineup, knowing which rums they are but not in which order.
Sweet wood and coconut, raisins, raspberry, vanilla, leather and tobacco. It’s round, fat, sweet and bold. I’m in love!
2007 in comparison made me dig a little deeper to get to a pretty similar point. I found it a bit stronger on chocolate and had quite a heavy newspaper and cigar box smell to it.
The sweet wood is the first thing that hits me. Then there is vanilla, nuts, raisins, black pepper and fantastic leather and tobacco notes. The finish is long and spicy with plenty of sweetness.
The 2007 is mouth coating and very similar to 2008. The sweetness is perhaps dialed down slightly in 2007 and the alcohol a bit more pronounced.
These two are both complex, bold and sweet rums. Excellent examples of how naturally sweet an unsweetened rum can be. They drink well below their stated abv and could be daily sippers, if that’s something you do.
The flavour gap between 2005 and 2007 is definitely larger than 2007 vs 2008. So don’t expect a major change in this case. That’s ok for me, as I’d love to be stranded with a case of Foursquare 2007….or 2008 for that matter. The more the merrier.
For this comparison to be flawless I should have used two unopened bottles. I’m on my last bottle of 2007 and it’s half empty, which means it’s likely changed a bit. Therefore I combined tasting 2007 with my early memory of 2007. Since my memory is like Swiss cheese, this is not 100% reliable. Until I do have two new bottles (unlikely), I’m going to score 2008 the same as 2007, as I think they are mighty close. However, if I was at a liquor store where they had both and I could only buy one bottle….I’d likely buy 2008.
I feel Foursquare 2007 is one of the best rums on the market when you look at price and quality level. With 2008 it has a very worthy successor.
I have since had the opportunity to compare a new bottle of 2007 with a new bottle of 2008. Result is that I prefer 2008 slightly. I'm going to stick to my earlier comment about being happy with either one though, but am changing the 2007 score by a point.
Foursquare 2008 – 92
Foursquare 2007 – 91
Click here for info on the scoring method.
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