Foursquare ECS VIII Premise
Single Blended Rum – A blend of only pot still and traditional column still.
ABV Hydrometer Test: 46% ABV @ 20°
Foursquare rum from Barbados should need no introduction to rum lovers, aficionados and connoisseurs of rum. Their label statement of “Pure rum, no sugar or other flavour has been added” stands them head and shoulders above just about every other rum producer in terms of honesty, openness and transparency.
I think it is always exciting when a new bottle of Foursquare rum is released but when three come at once, it sends a rum lover such as myself into overdrive, and judging by the online rum community, I am not alone in this sentiment.
The three new Exceptional Cask Selection (ECS) releases are “Premise” (I think this follows the Port and Zinfandel editions in style – more of this later), “2005” (sequel to Foursquare 11 Year Old 2004 – ECS) and “Dominus” (possibly following Criterion in style). I will be reviewing the others in due course (a full tasting and review takes plenty of time, trust me). As an aside, it reminds me that I need to go back and write about the Port and Zinfandel editions – so much rum but so little time!
But, I digress…..Today, I am writing about ECS VIII “Premise” – Foursquare’s eighth bottling in the Series and presented at 46%. 15,000 bottles have been produced of this pot and column still blend of rums. It has been aged for three years in ex-Bourbon barrels before aging for seven years in ex-Sherry casks (presumably Oloroso), then blended with ten year old ex-Bourbon barrel aged Rum and chill-filtered. This was officially released in January 2018.
I was fortunate to taste the new Foursquare rums at UK Rumfest in October 2017 and again more recently in March 2018 at a Foursquare: Exceptional Cask Tasting with Master Blender Richard Seale and his wife Gayle at one of London’s most iconic rum bars, Trailer Happiness on Portobello Road. Having had a couple of tastings, I was eager to get my hands on a full bottle, which I acquired a few weeks ago. I have spent several weeks tasting, testing and most of all enjoying the new releases prior to sitting down to write about them – I always think something of quality deserves time and respect.
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. My hydrometer test predictably showed zero detectable added sugars, which is exactly what I would expect.
The bottle follows previous Exceptional Cask Selection releases from Foursquare. It is slightly stubby and has an artificial cork enclosure.
Foursquare’s labels have full disclosure of information – no dodgy pirate tales here.
I think that the label helps us to see where the value lies in this purchase. Specifically, it highlights the type of rum (Single Blended), the cask type (ex-Bourbon & ex-Sherry), the length of ageing (10 years), type of distillation (Pot & column [still] blend), the release date (January 2018) and the 46% ABV.
In the glass, Premise is a medium amber, perhaps a touch orangey also. I am assuming a touch of flavourless caramel colouring is added so I am not overly concerned about the colour.
When poured in a glass and swirled around the sides, there are medium density legs that drop down the sides at a medium pace.
On the nose, this is very easy to enjoy. There is the familiar Foursquare toffee and varnish notes. This is gentle on the nose and not overpowering at all. There is light oak, fresh ripe banana, sweet caramel, burnt sugar, subtle vanilla and red fruits.
Taste, Initial-middle 35/40
As with the nosing, this is very easy going. The initial taste offers no burn or roughness to the front of the palate. It is soft and light with hints of vanilla and caramel. The rum is smooth and warming.
Taste, Middle/Throat 35/40
As the rum reaches the mid-palate there is a lovely interaction between the easy drinking nature of this rum, the slightly sweeter notes and the development of a touch of rum fire, just to remind you that this is 46%. There is a gentle peppery spice alongside fruity wine notes at this point. The spice does build up after multiple sips. Although there is a touch of oak in the background, this is one of the least ‘woody’ Foursquare aged rums I have tasted. As with the spice, the more you sip, the more tannins become apparent.
A sublime finish to the rum – it is neither soft nor rough. It is easy to swallow, yet offers up plenty of flavours – never too sweet, but never becoming especially oaked either. The peppery wine notes, reminiscent of a Chilean Shiraz or Carmenère red wine are especially welcome.
This feels like it follows on from where ECS IV (Zinfandel Cask Blend) left off and ECS II (Port Cask) started. Experimentation with the influence of different barrels from varying types and styles of wines, producing an ever-evolving genre of slightly sweeter (in type only, no added sugars remember) and very easy-to-drink rums (this is 46% compared to others at upper 50’s or 60 plus percent). On the one hand one could say that with higher ABV rums being available from Foursquare, this is bridging a gap for new rum drinkers from heavily dosed/flavoured drinks to the world of real and unaltered rums. On the other hand, I would like to think that this is one rum for one specific occasion/mood and the others in the ECS series are for different occasions/moods.
All are superb, just disparate! If one is marked at 85 out of 100 and another is at 95, it just implies *I* prefer one over the other. It does not mean that one or other is better/worse in quality.
It is great to see rums being offered at 46% (or more). It might only be a small jump from the standard 40% to 46% but the difference in flavour is huge and very appealing.
It is interesting to note that this rum is made in the same style as ECS II (Port Cask “Finish” – aged for three plus six years in Bourbon and Port casks respectively) and ECS IV (Zinfandel Cask Blend – part of the blend was aged for five and six years in ex Bourbon and Zinfandel casks respectively), yet this has been given the title of “Premise” rather than “Sherry” or “Oloroso Cask Blend.” Is it because of the meaning of the word “Premise” and there is a message being conveyed?
An online dictionary search comes up with the following definition for “Premise.”
“A previous statement or proposition from which another is inferred or follows as a conclusion.
“if the premise is true, then the conclusion must be true.”
I cannot argue with that philosophy.
Overall, a very easy drinking rum and at an amazingly affordable price.
Review No. 103
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