The Real McCoy Rum

The Real McCoy Rum is the brainchild of Bailey Pryor, the Emmy Award winning Producer of the documentary, The Real McCoy. In fact the documentary won 5 awards; Writing, Directing, Editing, Photography and Producing. This was the first time that an individual film had won an award in each of these categories. The Real McCoy documentary, and indeed The Real McCoy Rum, are based on the story of Bill McCoy. Bill McCoy was a pioneer Rum Runner during the Prohibition era. In January 1920, Bill McCoy was the first to sail to the Caribbean and fill up a boat with Rum and sail back up to New York to legally act as a floating Rum Shop. Legal because at the time the international waters boundary was located 3 miles offshore and Bill McCoy was careful to anchor his boat outside of this boundary line. There was a tendency for some to dilute and adulterate their Rum (as is still the case today) with turpentine and prune juice giving rise to the nicknames of Booze, Rot Gut and Hooch. Apparently Bill McCoy never did this to his Rum, thus his Rum became known as ‘The Real McCoy’.

During his research for the documentary, Bailey traveled to Barbados where he met, you guessed it, Richard Seale. Together Richard and Bailey began to discuss and develop a classic Barbados Rum which obviously as it is produced by Foursquare Distillery, also adhered to the ‘no additives’ philosophy. The Rums are a blend of both pot and column distillates produced from black strap molasses and a proprietary strain of yeast. The distillates are then matured in heavily charred ex-bourbon American oak barrels. Three expressions make up the range and they are The Real McCoy 3, The Real McCoy 5 and The Real McCoy 12. The Rums have won a host of awards and deservedly so. We were fortunate enough to meet Bailey and we got the opportunity to chat with him at the Boutique RumFest in 2014 and he’s a very engaging chap. We also picked up a copy of The Real McCoy Documentary which makes for a great watch and further expands on the story.

The Real McCoy 3 – 40% ABV

Real McCoy 3

The Real McCoy 3 is a blend of 3 year ex-bourbon barrel matured pot and column distillates that have been charcoal filtered to remove colour before being reduced to bottling strength. A crisp white label reveals only the necessary information about the Rum. Its age (minimum obviously) and the barrel type used for maturation. The rear label has a little information contained within. The sturdy squat bottle also has a plastic cork closure which for me on a Rum in this price bracket is neither here nor there but it does make a satisfying pop. You can pick up The Real McCoy 3 for around £19 if you shop smart……

Tasting Notes

In the glass: The Rum is crystal clear in the glass. It’s initial aromas are of crisp, creamy sweetness reminiscent of soft summer fruits and berries. Vanilla and that marshmallow aroma that I frequently get from white Bajan Rums rounds things out.

In the mouth: Initial proceedings are warming and lightly peppery up front. Sweetness coms along in the form of custardy vanilla. The mouthfeel becomes really creamy with peaches on the back of the palate….peaches and whipped cream.

A beautiful, no-nonsense flavourful Rum at an affordable price point. This Rum also makes a great Daiquiri.

The Real McCoy 5 – 40% ABV

Real McCoy 5

The Real McCoy 5 is a blend of 5 year ex-bourbon barrel matured pot and column distillates. The label on this expression contains exactly the same information but obviously you switch out 3 for 5 and the label is a more pleasing shade of cream. The rear label has the addition of an image of Bill McCoy. Again, a plastic cork closure is present which is a pleasant addition. You can pick up The Real McCoy 5 for around £24 if you use the same source…..

Tasting Notes

In the glass: the Rum is a light coppery gold in the glass and for a 5-year-old Rum is the aromas are very approachable with little heat. Vanilla, butterscotch fudge, caramel and a light oak are in the initial aroma attack. A little citrus peel follows along with more vanilla. As the Rum warms up the oak becomes more apparent in the glass.

In the mouth: It has a spicier than expected entry based on the nose….more so than the 3. It has a little heated, peppery kick that is quickly followed up by a vanilla led sweetish component. Ripe banana and peach loop jelly sweets are next to appear. The sweetness is short-lived though as a pleasant dryness creeps in and allows you to pick up a little cola, a slight powdery cocoa, more peach loops and a little molasses. Quite a lot going on and it is a very drinkable relatively young Rum.

Again, this Rum is a great example of its ilk. It also makes for a great Corn N Oil. This cocktail has recently been ‘Cocktail of the Week’ over with our friends The Floating Rum Shack and like them, we also tone down the Falernum as it is a very tasty, but very sweet concoction. We also use John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum (another Foursquare product) in the drink. The recipe and method used at Rum Diaries HQ are as follows: 60ml The Real McCoy 5 and 30ml Falernum. We enjoy this drink nicely chilled and diluted so build it like a Rum old fashioned. Take a double rocks glass, add a large cube of ice (ours are 2 inch square). Pour over the Falernum and stir slowly then add the Rum 30ml at a time whilst stirring, This ensures that the whole thing is chilled nicely and has a decent amount of dilution. Add bitters if you feel that you need to. We don’t usually but when we do we use Dr Adam Elmegirab’s Teapot Bitters. We enjoy the clove aspect of the drink, but Angostura Bitters makes the clove too dominant whilst the Teapot Bitters bind anything Rum based together….trust us!

So, what you have here is a back story that is nice but is ultimately just that, a nice back story. The real stand out thing is the Rum. Both expressions offer what they set out to offer, un-adjusted, un-flavoured, un-perfumed proper Rum made in the classic Barbados style and from a distillery and a distiller that do their utmost to promote all of these values. You should absolutely pick up a bottle of both.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

R. L Seale’s 10 Year Old Rum

R.L Seale's 10 LabelThis whole post could technically be over very quickly as any one that follows my Twitter or Facebook accounts will know that whenever the question “can someone recommend a rum for me to try?” gets asked, R.L Seale’s 10 ALWAYS forms part of my answer…..so really, you all know my thoughts on this bottle, and to a lesser extent, my thoughts on anything that comes out of Richard Seale’s wonderful Foursquare Distillery. But “R.L Seale’s 10 is great” doesn’t make a very good read, so I’ll attempt to provide my thoughts on just why I’m a fan…..

My Foursquare Distillery collection dominates my Barbados Rum shelf as on there you’ll find R.L Seale’s 10, Doorly’s 3, Doorly’s 5, Doorly’s XO, Rum Sixty Six, Foursquare Spiced, Bristol Classic Fine Barbados Rum Foursquare 2003, a small plastic taster bottle of E.S.A Field, Taylor’s Velvet Falernum and a bottle of the quite magnificent St Nicholas Abbey 10.

2014-04-17 19.59.54-1It is however, impossible to talk about the rum or the distillery without briefly mentioning the man……

I first saw the name Richard Seale in print within Dave Brooms 2003 book “RUM”….the paragraph was talking about controlling heat during fermentation and it covered semi-continuous fermentation and more specifically, the closed, cooled fermenter that Richard uses….

Briefly looking online there are numerous sources and ridiculous amounts of articles about Richard Seale and his Foursquare Distillery and terms such as “legend” and “finest rum producer” are used with reckless abandon…..I’ve never been fortunate enough to meet Richard (hopefully that will be rectified at Rumfest, and hopefully he’ll be clutching a bottle of Doorly’s 12), but judging by the articles that I’ve read about the high regard in which he is held, along with the considered arguments, razor-sharp wit and dry sense of humour on display via social media, Richard Seale comes across as a man who possesses great integrity.

Reginald Leon Seale, Richard Seale’s Great Grandfather founded the company in 1926, so as a Fourth Generation owner, this really makes Foursquare Distillery a true family enterprise. Richard looks after both Distilling and Aging for all rums produced at the Foursquare Rum Distillery, with George Prescod acting as Master Blender for approaching 40 years. Numerous awards have been handed out to the rums that are produced there along with awards for the distillery itself. Richard was also inducted into the Rum Hall of Fame at Rumfest in 2013. But now its time to talk about the rum……

R.L Seale’s 10 Year Old Rum – 43% abv

R.L Seale's 10 FullR.L Seale’s 10 Year Old Rum has a striking presentation. The bottle has an angled neck and what appear to be finger grips on one side….it is reminiscent of the leather flasks that sailors would’ve used many moons ago. It’s very tactile and everyone that has seen my bottle wants to pick it up and have a good look at it…….this always leads onto the obligatory taster! With presentation of this standard, the contents surely must equal or even better your expectations? The rum is a blend of molasses based rums whereby the youngest in the blend is 10 years old and it is aged in used bourbon casks. There are absolutely no additives used that will adapt or modify the taste characteristics of the rum. Richard Seale is a vociferous opponent of the process of adding sugars and flavourings to ‘enhance’ the flavour of a rum.

This all works out for the consumer though as you know exactly where your money is being spent when you pick up a product from Foursquare Distillery and to be honest, the fact that you can pick up a bottle of R.L Seale’s 10 for below £33 if you shop around, almost makes you feel like a thief!

Tasting Notes

In the glass: The rum displays itself as a beautiful burnished gold with intense darker flashes reminiscent of honeycomb. You can sense the aromas bubbling over the glass before you’ve even approached it. When you do get close the rum has a buttery and nutty aroma which is carried on a bed of vanilla. Time spent in oak is apparent as this is the blanket that envelops the other aromas and helps carry them. After awhile the more subtle aromas lift up and announce themselves. The sponge layer from a Bakewell tart with its marzipan is brought to mind along with creamy Scottish tablet. There is also a little red apple edge to the rum. This is a really pleasant and approachable rum that hints at the treasures to be found within the glass.

In the mouth: Immediately you know that you’re not dealing with a sugary sweet rum as the initial entry is bone dry. Vanilla and red apple are the first flavours to reveal themselves along with a light hit of spice in the form of cinnamon and a little white pepper. This spice tickles my saliva glands and along with the accompanying red apple, assists in combating that initial dryness. The buttery, nuttiness now hits me and washes over my tongue in waves. It’s magical stuff. The oak is next to turn up to the party and this really kicks it up a notch. Subsequent sips (and there have been many at two bottles in) leave the buttery, nutty, vanilla fudge to build into a wonderfully warming and long finish. There is no harshness and no kick in excess of what you’d expect from a neat spirit and it’s hard to believe that this sits at 43% abv. such is the perfectly balanced nature and well-rounded character of the rum.

You really can appreciate the effort that has gone into making this rum. It appeals to many markets too. It is often mentioned that this rum would be a good introduction for whisky drinkers……well I have proof that this is true. I recommended the rum to my friend Scott who writes his own whisky based site (Whisky Moose, which can be found in my links), he picked up a bottle and he really enjoyed it.

It’s my go to rum. When I look at my shelf and am overwhelmed with choice, I know that I’ll find exactly what I need in this bottle. It also, I find, makes an unbelievable Corn ‘n Oil using Taylors Velvet Falernum. I personally believe that anyone who has a passing interest in rum has to invest in Foursquare Distillery rums. If you don’t own a bottle, and heaven knows why not, you need to rectify this. You really are missing out on an uncommon treat…….flavour by the bucket load…..a true rum in every sense of the word and all for less than £33 if you shop around. It hasn’t always been this way for me though…..I grew into my first bottle, initially preferring sweeter rums and finding none of those flavours in the arid desert dry, nutty and buttery R.L Seale’s 10. I still enjoy the sweeter side of rum, frequently, but my palate has developed to appreciate more and more of those differing styles of rum…..I firmly believe that it was this rum that opened that door to appreciation for me. If asked to compile my list of desert island rums…..this would always be on the list.

As always, feel free to pop in for a taster……

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.