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Velier Foursquare Raconteur vs Foursquare Sovereignty

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

My expectations with new Foursquare releases are always high. That’s simply a result of them producing quality rum, year after year. I’ve never tasted something from them that I thought was bad. Naturally, there have been some I liked less than others, such as Shibboleth, Hereditas and the much loved Destino. That puts me on a collision course with some of the expert rum people at times, but that’s ok, since always agreeing on taste should be reason for concern. Liking everything means the distillery produces the exact same thing all the time, which they luckily don’t, or it means you are a groupie, or you are being paid. Despite being a fan of most of what they do, I try to keep using an approach that’s somewhat critical. If I wouldn’t do that, I might as well keep this short and say:”Great rum, rating 100, buy now!”. At that point I will delete my entire site.


Even though we all say we don’t taste with our eyes, it’s mighty difficult not to have slightly increased expectations when a Foursquare release is sold in a black Velier bottle. The first time this was done was with Foursquare 2006, one of the best they’ve ever produced and a real unicorn now. One could say it’s been a very successful marketing approach. The latest one is Raconteur. A pot and column still blend of two different rums. One has been aged in ex-bourbon barrels for 17 years, the other in ex-bourbon for 5 years plus 12 years in ex Oloroso sherry. 4800 bottles at 61%.


For comparison I thought it would be nice to taste it next to Foursquare Sovereignty, a rum that I find sublime. It’s a little younger at 14 years. Three years in ex-bourbon, 11 years in ex-sherry. Bottled at 62%.


The tasting was done semi blind. I knew which rums, not in which order.



Nosing


Rum 1

Quite oaky. Leather, tobacco, toasted coconut, vanilla, candle wax, lavender, pine. A bit more alcohol on the nose than rum 2.


Rum 2

Takes slightly longer to become expressive than rum 1. I’m smelling oak, leather, sherry, tobacco, mineral stones, nuts, coconut, vanilla. I find it softer than rum 1.


Hard to pick a winner for the nosing round. Both very nice.


Tasting


Rum 1

Oak is very pronounced. Sherry, vanilla, white pepper, cherry, slightly nutty, coconut and chocolate. The last two showing up mostly on the finish, which is very woody with some bitterness.


Rum 2

Heavy on tobacco, love it! Vanilla, sweet coconut, oak, wonderful chocolate, nutmeg. Finish is very long, sweet and spicy. Oak is always there, but is never able to dominate the profile. Feels thicker and rounder than rum 1. Fantastic.


Reveal


Rum 1: Foursquare Raconteur

Rum 2: Foursquare Sovereignty


Conclusion


I’ve tasted Raconteur on multiple occasions. One of them was during a nice Gayle Seale Foursquare presentation in Toronto, where I tried it next to Touchstone. I instantly gravitated towards Touchstone. Thicker, sweeter, more complex, less oak. Quite a difference between the two in regards to my level of happiness. I tasted it again from a sample for this review. Lastly, had it again next to Sovereignty at a friends house, with the result being very similar to the Touchstone experience.


Finding out why you like one rum better than the other isn’t always easy. I find Raconteur slightly thinner and perhaps more boozy than Sovereignty and Touchstone, which are rounder, thicker, sweeter. Oak is too dominant in Raconteur. People who love oak more than me, aka termites, will rate Raconteur higher than I do.


My expectations are high when it comes to Foursquare rums. With that in mind, Raconteur doesn’t hit the top mark for me. Do I think it is a bad rum? Not at all! It’s a wonderful sipping experience. However, it stands in the shadow of Sovereignty for me, which is one of Foursquare’s best.


Scores


Foursquare Sovereignty – 93

Foursquare Raconteur – 85


Click here for info on the scoring method.

Click here for the complete list of reviews.


Wanted to add another experience I've had with Raconteur. It's now November and this weekend I was part of a tasting where we could compare it with Touchstone. Previously, I rated Touchstone much higher than Raconteur. However, in this tasting it was somewhat different. Touchstone was a little sharp, Raconteur softer and more complex. It shows how things can be different between days. I've changed the rating of both a little.


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