May 2018: Foursquare Rum

Foursquare Rum

Foursquare Rum has been referred to as “the Pappy of rum.” And not just by some tater trying to stir the pot. Foursquare Rum was referred to as “the Pappy of rum” by none other than Fred Minnick – reviewer for Whiskey Advocate and judge for the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. 

Foursquare Distillery is in Barbados. It has been a family-run distillery since the 1920s, though the family itself can trace its roots in Barbados to as far back as the 1600s.

Foursquare Rum

After importing rum for several years, in 1995 Foursquare took over an abandoned sugar factory, turning it into an operational distillery. By 1996, production of Foursquare’s own distillate rum had begun.

Currently, the master distiller is Richard Seale. The distillery is proud to produce rum the traditional way – not adding additional sugars and additives. Using a yeast strain imported from South Africa and molasses from Guyana, the distillation takes place in both a pot still and column still. After distillation, the aging typically occurs in American oak ex-whiskey casks, but some are further finished in wine and/or sherry casks. Ultimately, all of Foursquare’s rum is aged at least two years. 

Foursquare has made several brands of rum, including Doorly’s, RL Seale, and Old Brigand. The bottles we will be tasting are from the exceptional cask selection series.


This drink is unapologetically dark in character and full of rum. It is named after a seventeenth-century London thug and gambler. The secret ingredient to this cocktail is the porter, which makes up the foundation of the drink. This is not your amateur cocktail.

Name: Billy Dawson’s Punch

Ingredients: Lemon Sherbet, Louis Royer VSOP Cognac, Black Butte Porter, Smith and Cross Jamaican Rum, Banks 7 Rum, Cruzan Blackstrap Rum, Lemon juice, Angostura Bitters, Nutmeg.

Recipe: Add all the ingredients, except the garnish to a shaker. Fill shaker with ice. Strain into punch glass with a chunk of cracked ice. Garnish with nutmeg.

Foursquare Rum

Bottle 1: Foursquare Rum Port Cask Finish

Proof: 80

Price: $53

Purchase location: R&J Discount Liquor

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Buttery brown sugar and molasses. Butterscotch and caramel. Creme brûlée. Vanilla ice cream. Slightly earthy/mushrooms.

Palate: Creme brûlée. Butter. Sweet Pastry dough. Some metallic/stainless steel.

Finish: Brown sugar and butter. Some tannins.

Why this bottle is featured: It is aged in bourbon barrels for 3 years and finished in port barrels for 6 years.

Foursquare Rum

Bottle 2: Foursquare Rum Zinfandel Cask Blend

Proof: 86

Price: $55

Purchase location: R&J Discount Liquor

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Buttered popcorn. Butterscotch. Oakier than the first sample. Vanilla. Toffee. Old socks.

Palate: Caramel syrup. Very oily. A bit metallic. Light berry. Vanilla syrup.

Finish: A very smooth transition from the palate, but then spikes to give some more oak, vanilla, and old cotton funk.

Why this bottle is featured: Combination of both pot still and column still distillation. Aged in bourbon barrels first then Zinfandel barrels for a total of 11 years.

Foursquare Rum

Bottle 3: Foursquare Rum 2004 Single Blended Rum

Proof: 118

Price:  $65

Purchase location: R&J Discount Liquor

Tasting Notes:

Nose: The same butterscotch vanilla and creme brûlée as the first two,  but lighter. more floral. Smells a bit more like traditional rum. Aniseed.

Palate: Wow- punchy right up front with baking spice, fruit leather, wine tannins. Some light smoke.

Finish:Tannic and fruit leather. Drying smoke. Dark chocolate covered strawberries.

Why this bottle is featured: Considered a strong proof rum, with the additional taste of sour mash from the bourbon casks.

Foursquare Rum

Bottle 4: Foursquare Rum Criterion

Proof: 112

Price: $98

Purchase location: Chicago.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Cognac. Firecrackers/sulphuric. Strawberry yogurt. Vanilla bean. Honeycomb.

Palate: Spice and fruit right up front. Vanilla cherry candy. Cinnamon.

Finish: Chewy. Vanilla extract. Peppery. Medicinal fruit.

Why this bottle is featured:  The rum was initially aged for 3 years in ex-bourbon before being further matured for 7 years in very old (Richard’s Seales words) ex-Madeira wine casks.

Host: Phillip Horvey 

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