Blackadder Single Estate Rum Barbados Foursquare 2004- 10yo
€43.50 (200ml, £39 October 2016) (Equivalent of €152.25 / £136 for a 700ml bottle)
Single Blended Rum – a blend of only pot still and traditional column still
ABV Hydrometer Test: 64% ABV @ 20°
Either the Scottish Whisky industry is struggling or more and more whisky producers and bottlers have realised that there is a huge potential to offer fine quality rums that, by those in the know, will rank at least as highly as the finest single malts are. I suspect it is the latter!
As a result, several single cask or artisanal products are appearing from an increasing array of companies.
This particular rum is bottled in Scotland by Blackadder who have trademarked the term “Rawcask” as their description. This is their description for an offering that is pure, with nothing added and no filtering. I like it so far!
Quoting directly from Blackadder’s web site, their opinion on whisky filtering is as follows “Chill-filtration – when the spirit is chilled to freezing point or below prior to bottling – is done for cosmetic reasons, as it removes any possibility of cloudiness. Unfortunately, it also removes many of the natural fats, oils and flavours in the whisky which in turn removes a great deal of the individual character of a whisky as the esters, or flavour congeners, in the spirit tend to gather around these fats. The more a whisky is chilled when filtering, therefore, the greater the proportion of fats and esters are removed.”
I am sure that all of this equally applies to rum production also.
With “Rawcask” being an even purer version of their drinks they say that “Blackadder does not believe in chill-filtering or in colouring whisky. We believe that the purest is the best. Quite simply, Blackadder RAW CASK is every bit a Blackadder whisky but even more so. We use a special bottling process to make sure that each and every bottle of Blackadder RAW CASK contains its own share of the cask sediments as well as natural oils and fats that might otherwise be left behind when filling a cask strength whisky straight from cask. This ensures the maximum possible natural flavour is in each and every bottle.” I like it even more!
Unfortunately, their web site has not yet been updated to include specific info about their rums (October 2016) but I am assuming that all of the above also applies to their rums.
With this bottle being 64.4% ABV, this is effectively like having over one and a half bottles at standard 40% ABV, which improves the value somewhat.
Under Richard Seale’s/Luca Gargano’s proposed rum categorisation, this would most-likely be classed as a “Single Blended Rum” – a blend of only pot still and traditional column still.
It does not look especially amazing or exciting. Instead Blackadder have decided to concentrate on the important part of the product, namely the rum, and have spent a minimum amount on producing a special bottle or having fancy packaging.
The rum is presented in a green cardboard box with a small sticker applied to the front. To be fair, the sticker info is what you want to know – where the rum is from (Barbados), who produced it (Foursquare), the ABV (64.4%) and some other useful stuff such as a cask reference (2015-015), when it was distilled and bottled (distilled November 2004, bottled April 2015) and the number of bottles produced (60 x 200ml). There were also 255 numbered full size (700ml) bottles produced.
The bottle has a larger version of this label on the front and some tasting notes on the rear. It has a nice cork enclosure.
The result of there being no filtering is that there is a fine sediment from the cask at the bottom of the bottle.
Golden colour with rich heavy legs on the side of the glass that take an eternity to slide down the side.
Inevitably, nosing this at full strength it literally takes you breath away before you can appreciate any fine aromas. Diluting it to 40% also has a similar effect – wow!
After leaving this to settle for about ten minutes, the aromas appear nicely. There is an abundance of fruitiness, especially raisins and dried fruits. Further nosing reveals familiar Bajan toffee and sweetness. Definitely better nosing at the diluted strength though.
Taste, Initial-middle 33/40
Undiluted, this explodes in your mouth. It is not surprising given the strength – I do not think that anyone would really choose to drink this at full strength as the flavours are masked by the overpowering alcohol.
Diluted, the fire does not materialise. It is smooth, rich and full of warming flavours. Subtle sweetness and toffee, but also lovely and smooth.
Taste, Middle/Throat 35/40
Undiluted, the initial fire takes a brief break in the middle of your mouth whilst still offering full flavoured rum. This welcome surprise reduction of fire returns as it slips down your throat.
Diluted and once again, this rum impresses. There is a repeat of that nice warmth along with developing orange and even a hint of spice. The toffee flavour is ever-present throughout.
Both undiluted AND diluted, this rum really hits the spot in this area. There is a leathery background that offsets the slight sweetness and toffee profile. It has an extremely long finish that continues to impress long after you have swallowed it.
Morning After Aroma
Still some hints of toffee and a little vanilla are present in the glass. Inevitably, the diluted glass has much fainter aromas than the full strength one.
At full strength this is only for rogues and pirates as it is overpowering. But, reduce the ABV and a lovely smooth rum full of natural toffee flavours impresses from start to finish.
P Denotes the rum contains POT still distillate.
C Denotes the rum contains traditional/Coffey COLUMN still distillate.
B Denotes the rum contains a BLEND of POT and COLUMN still distillate.
M Denotes the rum contains MULTI-COLUMN still distillate or is a MODERN rum.
A Denotes the rum is an AGRICOLE i.e. from Cane Juice.
S Denotes the rum is presented in a SWEETENED style.
Bottle/Presentation Out of 3
Glass/Aroma Out of 10
Taste, Initial-middle Out of 40
Taste, Middle/Throat Out of 40
Afterburn Out of 7