Single Blended Rum: A blend of only pot still and traditional column still.
ABV Hydrometer Test: 62% ABV @ 20°
Something of a unicorn in the rum world currently (2020).
When originally released in 2016, I bought some of these at £110, but now regularly see them changing hands at £400-500. Limited to 2,400 bottles and at a stonking 62%, I am tasting a bit of a rarity today.
2006 was the year of distillation of this rum, hence the name, and it spent ten years ageing in the tropics, three of which were in ex-Bourbon barrels and the following seven in ex-Cognac barrels. There is a lot of very useful information on the labels regarding just how much has gone into making this rum.
- Details about the distillation – Copper double retort pot still and Traditional Coffey still.
- Aging – three years in ex-Bourbon and seven in ex-Cognac barrels.
- Angel share of 72%.
For me, the last figure is incredible – almost three quarters of what was distilled, subsequently evaporated over the ten years of ageing. Wow! I am going to digress somewhat here for a moment…..That gives a simple demonstration of why ageing in a tropical climate is so different from a temperate one. Make a comparison with Scotch whisky that would typically lose around 20-25% over the same period and consider the impact financially of ageing rum in the tropics compared to a temperate climate but also what impact that has on its flavour and intensity. I think what I am saying here is that when you look for rum that has been aged, check out where the ageing took place and that will have an impact on the flavour as well as, more than likely, the price, and therefore, will impact on the value and flavour profile. It will also give you an an indication of whether the country of origin is receiving the money or the country of bottling and of course, it is always better for your money to be going directly to the nation of origin and supporting the rum distiller rather than a third party wherever possible.
Having recently enjoyed reviewing the 2020 Foursquare releases, Plenipotenziario and Nobiliary, I thought it would be a great time to look back on a rum I remember fondly to see if it is as good as I remember.
“2006” is a Single Blended Rum:
A blend of pot still and traditional column still.
This is a joint collaboration between Foursquare
in Barbados and Velier in Italy.
Presented in a (now) familiar style – an outer cream coloured box, with a label attached showing some info about the rum. Inside is the black/opaque Velier style bottlings that are distinct and well branded, and the label is filled with useful info about the rum and its creation.
In the glass, we have a deep amber, almost mahogany coloured liquid with golden reflections on the surface. Swirling my glass reveals small dotted legs that slowly creep down the sides of the glass.
Standing fully two feet away, I can smell the rum so I approach with caution. At 62% I am expecting to have to inhale gently or have my sense of smell permanently affected. But this is not the case at all. Instead of overpowering alcohol fumes, the nose is exceptional and more reminiscent of something at 45% or so. Using the word “exceptional” is the most appropriate one I can think of right now as the nosing experience is one of the best I have ever encountered.
Rich caramelised brown sugar, varnish, dark chocolate, lightly oaked, figs, raisins and green bananas are in there. More nosings reveal pineapple, a hint of vanilla, roasted nuts and dried fruits, possibly even some red cherries.
It is absolutely amazing!
Taste, Initial-Middle 38/40
As with the nosing I approach with care, but even at 62%, this rum’s entry feels very approachable. It is surprisingly soft, even delicate, with buttery, creamy caramel coating the front of the mouth. There is a sweetness like vanilla custard, but also a touch of pepper and oak.
Taste, Middle/Throat 38/40
The creamy sweetness continues to the mid-palate and is joined by fruitiness – raisins and dates notably, but also some red fruits.
As the rum passes through towards the back of the mouth, a spicy pepper starts to overtake the sweet fruit. Black pepper, and nutmeg alongside pecan nuts as the rum starts to explode into the palate. More and more of the initial sweetness is replaced by dry oak and those spicy notes become stronger. This is the first time I can feel the 62% ABV, but it is not fiery, more just a mouthfeel. And just when you think the spiciness is getting too much, the oak and chocolate step in to keep things heading in the right direction.
The back of the throat glows with the warmth of those rear palate spicy notes, joined by dark chocolate balanced by oak tannins. Another indication of the ABV is that my throat almost has a waxy feel to it at this point.
I remember first tasting this at UK Rumfest back in 2016 and whilst I enjoyed it, with all of the other rums vying for attention, I didn’t seriously get into it. Luckily I bought some bottles at the event and some months later I opened one and was absolutely amazed. Tasting it again now, almost four years later, I actually think I like it even more.
To be honest, as the first of the Velier-Foursquare collaborations and with only 2,400 bottles made, I am surprised that this is not changing hands for thousands rather than hundreds of pounds. This is without doubt, one of the best rums I have ever had the privilege to taste.
The flavour and drinkability of this rum belies the fact that it is 62%. At no point is it rough…on occasions there is a glowing burn but it is controlled and pleasant and accompanied by lots of warming flavours. At no point does any one flavour seriously dominate, it is in fact beautifully balanced throughout.
Having recently reviewed Plenipotenziario and Nobiliary, I decided to re-visit this rum, mainly as a comparison. And while I am enjoy Plenipotenziario and Nobiliary, this is on a different level. It is so much better now than I remember when I first tasted it. Maybe in four or five years I will say the same about Plenipotenziario and Nobiliary.
Even at the going rate of £400-500 a bottle, this is worth every penny as the quality is virtually second-to-none. I still have a few spares to keep me going for a while although I wish I could go back to 2016 and buy more of these beauties.
Review No: 148
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