Foursquare 1985 Distilled



Single Blended Rum: A blend of pot still and traditional column still from a single distillery.
ABV Hydrometer Test: 43% ABV @ 20°
* B

Today I am writing about a bit of modern Foursquare history – specifically, rum that was distilled in 1985, ten years before Richard Seale, current Master Distiller, appeared on the scene.

Borrowing some info from Lance over at The Lone Caner who spoke directly with Richard seale of Foursquare fame about this product:

“It’s the result of a selection of some of the 1985 rum barrels belonging to the Alleyne Arthur reserves; and for the curious, Alleyne, Arthur & Hunte were also once merchant bottlers in Barbados (they made the original Old Brigand and the Special Barbados Rum); they acquired Doorly’s in the 1970s and were themselves taken over by Foursquare in 1993. Now, in 1995 the source rum – a pot and column still blend – which had been aged for ten years by that point, was vatted, and three barrels were left over from that exercise. These three barrels were aged for a further six years (Richard said that “they sat for a bit – [three barrels were] small enough to forget about”) and finally decanted in 2001, into about 400 bottles – at the time the idea was to create a premium release, but they just stood there gathering dust “for no more reason than we never came up with the premium packaging.” Finally, after seeing Velier’s releases, Richard realized that premium labelling and dressing up was not really required, that simplicity was its own cachet, and the audience preferred a simple bottle and clear explanation…and in 2015, the 16 year old rum hit the market at last.”

So, we have a Foursquare release from a recipe not created by the current Master Distiller/Blender. How does it compare to the current Foursquare releases? Let us see…..

Foursquare 1985 Distilled is a Single Blended Rum:
A blend of pot still and traditional column still.

Bottle/Presentation 2/3

1985 Distilled Label
1985 Distilled Label

The bottle is similar in style to the Exceptional Cask Series that are familiar to regular Foursquare drinkers. It is actually slightly taller, something I only found out when I tried to put it on my Exceptional Cask Series rum shelf and found it was too tall. The front label is simply an explanation of what the rum actually is, combined with the 43% ABV.

On the label, it is not described as a Single Blended rum presumably as it predates the Gargano rum classification.


Glass/Aroma 8/10

In my glass, 1985 is medium amber, almost tawny in colour. A hint of yellow-green hues are on the surface.

1985 has fine legs around my glass that are slow to drop down.

On the nose 1985 has burnt Demerara sugar-caramel-esque notes with honey, cinnamon, vanilla, raisins, apple, red cherries and is lightly oaked.


1985 Distilled Bottle
1985 Distilled Bottle

Taste, Initial-middle 34/40

This is a really easy going entry. Nice and gentle, slightly understated, soft and smooth. It is buttery with vanilla and honey notes.

The mid-palate develops red cherry flavours.

Taste, Middle/Throat 35/40

Still silky smooth and easy drinking through the mid-palate with those lovely cherry notes being joined with a touch of drying spice.

Towards the rear and a touch of pepper develops. Dark chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla too – almost pastry-like at times.

Multiple sips reveals dry oak tannins and a build up of peppery spice.



Afterburn/Finish 6/7

The black pepper lingers and becomes more pronounced. The finish is medium in length but is very pleasant. There is absolutely no roughness or fire on the palate.


TOTAL 85/100


1985 Distilled Bottle & Glass
1985 Distilled Bottle & Glass



A little piece of Foursquare/Barbados rum history in a bottle. Certainly something unique, although in itself, the juice is no more likeable than the more recent Foursquare offerings, although it is softer.

I think it is similar in profile to The Port Cask finish release or even more recently, Premise, but it does not have any kind of roughness or burn – 1985 is as smooth and silky as any rum I have tried at this ABV. It is top quality and it is an easy-drinking rum, but it is for those rum drinkers who prefer the ABV to be toned down to normal rather than the modern rum-geeks who prefer everything dialled up to 11 out of ten.

Would I buy another one? Hell yeah! Having tried it, I really enjoyed it and would readily buy another, if my budget permits of course. But if your budget does not extend to £350-£400 or so, then go and buy the latest Foursquare Exceptional Cask Release. It will not be as smooth as 1985, but you will not be disappointed.

Value: 6/10

I think with this rum, you are buying the history and uniqueness of the product as opposed to the actual juice inside. It is not often you get a chance to taste something distilled 35 years ago but then again, the newer, and much cheaper, Exceptional Cask releases from Foursquare are pretty good by comparison if you are on more of a budget.

Flavour Profile:

Review No. 139

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.

Marking Guide:
Bottle/Presentation Out of 3
Glass/Aroma Out of 10
Taste, Initial-middle Out of 40
Taste, Middle/Throat Out of 40
Afterburn/Finish Out of 7

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