Ultimatum Single Cask Barbados – Foursquare Rum
Single Blended Rum – A blend of only pot still and traditional column still
ABV Hydrometer Test: 46% ABV @ 20°
Whenever I spot any independent bottlings of Foursquare rum, I cannot resist trying them. I saw this particular rum at www.Zeewijck.nl for a very reasonable €38, which is around £34 (February 2017).
One of things that immediately grabbed my attention is the following description:
“Non Coloured, No added sugar, non chill filtered.”
Music to a rum drinker’s ears and so we are guaranteed to be receiving a proper rum that will taste as it was meant to taste in the style it was created i.e. a rum that is obviously good enough to stand on its own without the need for additives. The other thing that appealed is the 46% ABV. A standard 40% ABV just does not seem to have enough power and just a little extra, in this case 15% extra (40 + 15% = 46) makes a big difference.
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.
Full marks and kudos to Ultimatum here. The label is distinctive, but also shows what a rum drinker needs to know. Specifically that the rum was distilled in October 2002, bottled on 21-09-16 from cask number 7. My bottle is number 52 of 267, it is 46% ABV, from Foursquare in Barbados and has been aged for 13 years in ex-Bourbon barrels. Perfect!
The bottle itself is a short stubby affair (think Mezan) and has an artificial cork enclosure.
The rum is very pale in colour and natural looking. A very light straw-coloured light yellow-cream. The legs are a medium density and fall down the sides of the glass at a medium pace.
Upon first nosing this, I would say it is reminiscent of a Jamaican pot still rum rather than a Bajan one. The pale colouring, as always, if very misleading and highlights why rum being categorised by colour alone makes no sense whatsoever.
The aroma presents a lot of plum, like a Grappa. There is citrus, a little banana and chocolate, some orange, cherry, Sherry and a hint of smokiness. It could almost be mistaken for having a slight agricole influence, too. It is very unlike other Foursquare rums that I have tried, but is very impressive at this stage.
Taste, Initial-middle 33/40
The first tasting belies many of the aromas. There is a buttery texture and some varnish and toffee flavours. It is lighter and softer than the aromas would suggest. Further tastings reveal some citrus to be noticeable, too.
Taste, Middle/Throat 35/40
As this rum meets the mid-palate, those aromas become powerful flavours. The Grappa plum-like aroma is initially quite dominant as a flavour, almost like a Guyanan Port Mourant. At this point, it could be a pure pot still rum rather than the usual Bajan blend.
Subsequent tastings and the bitter plum is enhanced by citrus and a hint of black pepper. The buttery texture is still there but unlike most Bajan rums I have tried, this is very powerful at this point. The butter is joined by bitter chocolate and some dry tannins creating a very astringent feel.
There is a medium finish to the rum, leaving a noticeable burn behind that lingers long after swallowing. Several moments later and I can still feel the plum and citrus flavours. It is not rough or fiery, but it tastes like a pot still rum here.
Morning After Aroma
Quite a powerful and pungent pot still aroma remains. Some hints of bitter plums, too.
This is definitely one of those rums that grows on you. My first tasting made me feel a little negative or disappointed. But tasting it again and again over several days opens up one’s palate to different flavours and reveals a greater complexity to the rum than I first thought. Initially, I would have said this was worth a 70-75 out of 100. But as is usually the case when I am tasting and reviewing rums, I try them multiple times over several days to pick out different nuances.
The rum demonstrates that Bajan rums can have fire and power like their Jamaican cousins. There is obviously a larger proportion of pot still rums in this blend as it has a real presence and fire to it, very unlike my previous experience of Foursquare rums. I love anything Foursquare, including this, but this is completely different to most other Foursquare rums I have tasted before.
For anyone that likes rum from Barbados, this would be a big surprise, but for those wanting to graduate towards the mighty Hampden rum-style, this is a useful stepping stone.
It feels odd not giving a Foursquare rum 90+ out of 100. The lower mark could be because this rum was so different to my preconceptions or it could be that Foursquare rums are so exceptional that if any are even slightly less than perfect, my marking gets a little harsh. It is possible that if this was a rum made by a mortal producer rather than one of the great rum gods, the marks would be higher.
Oh dear…I am flawed!
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