Single Blended Rum: A blend of pot still and traditional column still from a single distillery.
ABV Hydrometer Test: 51% ABV @ 20°
Return of the Port Cask aged Foursquare.
November 2020 has seen the release of Mark XIV “Détente”, the latest of Foursquare’s Exceptional Cask Selections. A Single Blended Rum, consisting of rums from both the double-retort pot and traditional twin column coffey stills from Foursquare in Barbados.
This is a blend of two single blended rums. The first one is aged ten years entirely in ex-Bourbon barrels, and the other was aged four years in ex-Bourbon barrels, after which it was transferred to ex-Port casks for an additional six years, all of which was in the tropical climate of Barbados.
Détente is bottled at 51% ABV. No added colour, absolutely no added sugar nor other additives and it is not chill filtered. It is much anticipated due to the ex-Port cask element in the blend.
According to Wiki, Détente is defined as “the relaxation of strained relations, especially political, by verbal communication.” So now you know!
Détente is a Single Blended Rum:
A blend of pot still and traditional column still.
Familiarity reigns with the Exceptional Cask Selection. The bottle shape is slightly stubby, decorated with a Foursquare ribbon around the neck and an artificial cork enclosure. Label-wise, Foursquare lead the way with clear information. I have already mentioned the cask, ageing and stills used. There is also the August 2020 release date (it hit the UK shops in November 2020) and usual Gargano classification of being a Single Blended Rum.
Medium amber in my glass, with a touch of redness, the aroma has an instantly appealing sweet caramel – the kind that ‘grandma’ used to make. Some red fruits, blackcurrants, vanilla and nutmeg make for a very pleasing first experience. It could almost be like nosing a 51% bottle of red wine or Port and has none of the over-powering alcoholic fumes that one can find in neat spirits.
Taste, Initial-middle 34/40
Subtle at first, overflowing with red fruits, tropical fruits and a gentle oak influence. Some vanilla, red wine and caramel are very appealing attributes.
The fruit-salad continues to delight through the mid-palate, too. A little more oak and white pepper offsets the fruit sweetness just enough to remind you this is a 51% ABV rum. It is very drinkable, so easy to enjoy with a virtually perfect balance of sweet fruit, spicy oak and pepper. Some nutmeg, dates and flambéed bananas join the ensemble.
Taste, Middle/Throat 39/40
There is a crescendo of flavour in Détente that builds throughout the tasting. Each note of fruit becomes more pronounced as it passes from the front to the rear of the palate – blackcurrants, redcurrants, plums, strawberries, flambéed bananas, raisins – a full orchestra of fruits, working in harmony if I continue the musical metaphor.
Some white pepper and oak influence prevents Détente from becoming too sweet and keeps it well within the “I cannot believe how easy this is to drink” range. Some more nutmeg, a hint of cinnamon, nuts and dates, it becomes red-wine like, too – like a spicy Chilean Carmenère. At points it is very much like a festive Christmas pudding doused in fine Barbadian rum and set alight.
The first time there is a feeling of some fire or even burn is after swallowing. But it is not offensive, as it assists when you take another sip, preventing the sweetness from dominating. In fact the sweetness and dry peppery oak are just about equal here.
One of Foursquare’s finest moments:
A perfectly balanced harmony of sweet fruits and peppery oak.
Superb stuff, an instant classic!
I think the most exciting aspect of this edition for long standing Foursquarians © such as myself, is the use of ex-Port casks, for the first time since the 2016 Port Cask “Finish” of Exceptional Cask Selection Mark II, which currently changes hands at over £400 on auction sites. But the rum world has improved tremendously since 2016 and so have Foursquare’s rums. Given their quality and prowess four or five years ago, it is quite an achievement each year to be discussing how they continue to innovate and improve.
Détente has a sweetness to it, yes, but it is never too sweet as some oak or white pepper steps in to keep things balanced. I think we have a new instant classic. Foursquare have clearly laid down a marker here by which future editions, and other rum brands, will be compared. Is this going to be worth £400+ per bottle in four years? Why not?
Just landed at RumShopBoy HQ is La Hechicera Banana Infused Rum – I’ve already had about half a bottle and am loving this. On a more traditional, historical note even, Appleton Hearts have arrived – full on pot still fire and flavour at 60-63% ABV. And of course, the Foursquare releases show no signs of stopping. Mark XV “Redoubtable” is on its way as is the next collaboration with Velier “Sassafras” a Single Blended rum featuring a double maturation of three years in ex-Bourbon and 11 years in ex-Cognac casks. At 61%, could we be getting the sequel to the legendary Foursquare 2006?
Ten tropical years of ageing, a Port cask aged element, 51% and fabulous flavour make this exceptionally good value for me.
Review No. 163
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/Finish Out of 7