Foursquare Exception Cask Mark XIX "Sovereignty" 14 Year Rum
Even outside the rum drinking community, Barbados's Foursquare Distillery is no longer news. Each year they put out three ever-phenomenal releases in their Exceptional Cask Selection series, and basically everyone agrees in unison that they are great and that we are all so lucky to be able to get our hands on them. Whether or not they are getting "better" is subjective, but master distiller and blender Richard Seale has certainly been refining and honing his blending senses. While the differences between older vintages, like the 2004 and 2005, were large and easily noticeable, the last couple years have been more acute. We are in the midst of watching one of the all time great distilleries truly define it's style and profile.
This latest release is named "Sovereignty" as a patriotic tribute to Barbados officially severing ties with the British crown, removing Elizabeth II as the symbolic head of state and becoming a republic in November 2021 (In the same ceremony, Rihanna was declared a Hero of the Republic and officially styled the "Right Excellent Robyn Rihanna Fenty" - we can only hold our breath in earnest anticipation of the celebratory rum bottled for that.) The rum itself is a blend of two distinct single blended rums, both 14 years of age. One aged 14 years, entirely in Ex-Bourbon Barrels, and a second double-maturation, aged 3 years in Ex-Bourbon barrels then 11 additional years in Ex-Sherry Casks. This invites comparison to the previously released "Empery" (which perhaps ironically is a word which refers to the absolute dominion of an emperor...), another 14 year sherry aged bottling. Like Empery, the sherry influence is a significant player, but there are certainly distinct charms between the two.
Sovereignty shows significant layers with impeccable balance; citrusy and fruit forward while having complex oxidative and nutty characteristics. Aromas of grapefruit peel, with dark fruits - cherries & black berries, followed by dark chocolate, cashews, caramelized pineapple and pipe tobacco. The palate is bold and complex, bringing forward citrus & fruit notes, pomegranate, toasted almond, and hazelnuts. There are hints of toasted baking spices, particularly cinnamon and clove. Finishes dry and lightly tannic with rich caramel, tobacco and over ripe pineapple notes lingering. Bottled without filtration at 62% abv without any added color, sugar, or other additives.