Updated: Oct 10, 2019
Foursquare Patrimonio brings me right back to UK Rumfest in October 2018.
One evening I walked into Trailer Happiness with Ian Burrell (best bar in London), to find Richard Seale getting ready to leave. We said hello and goodbye and went on our merry ways. While Richard was leaving he realized he had a sample bottle in his pocket with a little bit of rum left in it. He went back into the bar, tapped me on the shoulder and gave me the bottle. Before I could finish saying the word “thanks” he had vanished into the dark streets of London, looking for the next party….or…more likely…a comfy hotel bed. It was a “be at the right place at the right time” kind of moment for me.
I didn’t try the sample right away. Instead, I brought it home to Toronto so I could try it properly. When I did, I emptied the bottle into a Glencairn and started smelling it. Impressive! Then the tasting…even more impressive! The thought in my mind was: “could this be the best one so far?”.
I was making plenty of noises of joy, which prompted Mariangela (gf) to come over for a taste. She had a sip and then walked away with the glass. I never got it back! She liked it too much and had to finish it.
It’s now six months later and I’m sitting down with a full bottle. Lucky me! Since I liked the Patrimonio sample so much, I figured I’d put it up against 2006 to see which one I like best. Will there be a new leader?
Distillery: Foursquare Distillery, Barbados
Age: 14 years in ex-bourbon cask and 10+4 in ex bourbon & ex sherry cask
Other: Distilled in 2004, bottled in Feb 2019. One component has been 14 years in ex bourbon cask. Another component was 10 years in ex bourbon and then transferred to ex sherry cask, where it stayed for another 4 years.
Wet wood, sherry and vanilla are the first things my brain registers. Then coconut, olives, milk chocolate, wine gums and brown sugar. It's a fairly sweet nose. This is one of those rums that can keep me entertained for a long time without actually tasting it.
Oh wow! Oh joy! Sweet tobacco, oak and caramel. It's slightly smokey. A hint of bitter dark chocolate balances out the sweetness. My noises of joy have returned, right from the first sip! It’s good there is no one around to steal my drink this time.
Finish is long and pleasant with almost no alcohol burn. This is a testament to proper ageing. With a lot of rums the absence of alcohol burn is a sign of added sugar or glycerine. None of that at Foursquare. Proper ageing in good barrels is their method to reach that result. Seems like nobody has been going to Foursquare to pick and buy their best barrels, they kept them all to themselves….with this amazing rum as one of the results.
The sweetness is so well integrated, it’s always there in a pleasant kind of way, not overpowering. A very balanced rum with a lot of flavour and complexity. Complexity beyond my level, I’m looking forward to what the expert reviews will be like on this one.
Drinking Patrimonio is like having multiple experiences in one. First, it's remarkable how velvet this rum is, despite the relatively high abv of 58%. This is mainly achieved through a combination of skill, good barrels, climate and patience. No sugar or glycerine shortcuts (or rather short circuits) anywhere in sight. Next up is the sweetness, it’s present from start to finish and dialed in at just the right level for me. It's complex and at the same time well balanced. The total package!
What about 2006? Purely as a tasting sensation I find the 2006 more explosive and intense, which I typically like. Patrimonio is softer and more approachable. However, the balance and integration of the sweetness is so amazing that the latter still gets the higher score. They are very different from one another, but the level of joy in the tasting experience is similar. Therefore it will depend on the day which one I prefer. Both are excellent, world class rums.
For today, Patrimonio is my favourite, tomorrow I can't say.
Finally, it kind of feels to me that we are in the golden age of rum. Some of the Foursquare rums are of such high quality and intensity that they can go toe to toe with the iconic Demeraras from Luca Gargano. The variety of top quality products seems to be increasing by the day. Makes me happy to be a rum enthusiast in 2019.
Click here for info on the scoring method.