Writing about Foursquare Distillery rum is never a punishment. I’m still waiting for the first rum from them that I don’t enjoy. I’ve got a sneaky feeling I won’t find it as long as Richard Seale is in charge. Thing is, when he’s hungover on a Monday morning from partying at The Gap all weekend, he might create something that isn’t fantastic. But after 5 or 10 years, he’ll blend it with better rum, puts it in a different cask and matures it into another 5 star product. It almost seems too easy and unfair. But then, the best people in their field usually make things look very easy.
Redoutable is the 15th edition in the Exceptional Cask Series and is the successor to the fantastic Nobiliary. It’s one of the green lettered labels, which, together with purple, means it’s a cask strength release. Blue is used for the vintages and red for lower abv releases. I tend to prefer the higher abv ones. In this case it’s a 14 year rum at cask strength. As with most Foursquare rums, it’s a blend of pot and column still rum. The final result is a blend of 14 year rum from ex-madeira casks and 14 year rum from ex-bourbon casks, bottled at 61%. There have been a fair amount of positive reviews about Redoutable, so my expectations are high.
Next to it we have a Foursquare store pick. Store picks tend to not excite me as much. I don’t know why exactly. I always have the feeling they can’t be as good as the exceptional distillery releases. Although I realize I might be wrong in that. When you look at other brands and their store picks, it becomes obvious there are quite a lot of them. Think Chairman’s Reserve for example. Tons of private releases. Perhaps a few too many, which causes me to not be as excited. In this case it’s called Master Series Edition 1, Private Cask. I have to say “Private Cask” sounds a lot better than “Store Pick”. It’s a pot and column blend, aged for 12 years in ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. Exclusive to Total Wine in the US, bottled at 62%.
I’ve written about Foursquare quite a few times, so for more info you can click here and find all the other reviews with additional information.
I did this tasting semi-blind, I knew which rums but not in what order.
Oak, tobacco and coconut are clearly present. Then there is nutmeg, vanilla, light red wine, light wax and marzipan. It’s very robust.
It instantly seems more fruity and winey than rum 1. I’m getting coconut, red berries, oak, vanilla, newspaper, candle wax, light tobacco and light banana. Slightly lighter nose than rum 1 but oh so fascinating and pleasant.
Lovely sweet oak is up first, there is plenty of wood spice but it’s not dominating and it never turns bitter. The sweetness is weaved through from start to finish. Without adding sugar! Tobacco, coconut, vanilla and marzipan are back. The finish is long and spicy. It’s a powerful rum that still drinks well below its abv.
Very sweet again with heavier oak and red wine. Light tobacco, raspberry wine gums, perhaps some orange? Wood spice is strong, just as the pleasant and long finish. Wood is slightly dominant for me. It’s heavier than the nose suggested.
Rum 1: Foursquare Master Series Edition 1
Rum 2: Foursquare Redoutable
I have to admit I was biased before I started this one. My expectation was that Redoutable would be more enjoyable to me than the store pick. That resulted in me choosing the one I liked best as Redoutable. I didn’t focus enough on the differences in detail. I went all basic “I like this the best, so it’s Redoutable”, instead of figuring it out through the flavour profile. WRONG! This is why I keep doing these tastings somewhat blind. It forces you to go beyond the prejudice. It provided a good lesson for me again. Focus!
The surprise here is that I prefer the Master Series Edition 1 quite a bit over Redoutable. It’s very robust and consistent, with just the right amount of wood, sweetness, tobacco….and everything else. A very masterful blend, where wood and wine are complimenting each other and not dominating. I love the Redoutable nose, where its fruitiness picked up a narrow win. On the palate it’s more fruity, winey and slightly too woody for me. It’s got a bit more of a creative soul, while the Master Series is like solid granite.
Redoutable is a very enjoyable and complex rum, which I would have probably found even more enjoyable at 12 years old. It's the successor to Nobiliary, but to me, it hasn’t surpassed it. I can be short about the Masters Series Edition 1. It is simply one of the best Foursquare rums I’ve had so far. I’d say, keep those store picks coming! :)
Foursquare Redoutable – 84
Foursquare Master Series Edition 1 – 93
Click here for info on the scoring method.
Click here for the complete list of reviews.
Thanks to Bobby Laevens who kindly swapped samples with me, which is how I got to taste these two rums.