The Paulsen Collection Foursquare Vintage 1998

We’re back into it with another Foursquare. Some bottle hunters are seeking the ‘unicorn’ Exceptional Cask Release I, more commonly known as Foursquare 1998. Bottles are rare with Gayle Seale herself having to pick them up from property auctions in Barbados. They do exist in the wild but sightings are rare and can be very expensive. So what we have here in this Paulsen Collection bottling is that very same ‘unicorn’, but perhaps without the rainbow mane and golden horn…..maybe just dressed as a regular old horse. It was available until recently quite readily and I believe it may still be available in Europe. I gained a bottle a while back as a present from my wife, I then subsequently picked up another 2 bottles from Richard Blesgraaf over in Holland. Less than 50 Euros per bottle I think.

Now you will be fully aware reading these pages that I enjoy Foursquare Rums, a quick click here will link to quite a few articles on their products to get your juices flowing about the place. Anyhow, let’s get into it.

The Paulsen Collection Foursquare Vintage 1998 – 40% abv – Traditional Rum

This Rum is, amazingly, the product of only the Coffey Column Still at Foursquare Distillery. Distilled in 1998, this Rum was matured in ex-bourbon barrels for around 8 years. It was then decanted, reduced to around bottling strength and then re-barreled for an additional 2 years of maturation totaling a minimum of 10 years tropical maturation. Presented an a heavy based square edged glass bottle with a cork closure and wax seal on the label it certainly looks the part….if that kind of thing matters to you.

Coffey Column Still at Foursquare Distillery

Tasting Notes

Nose: Classic Foursquare profile on the nose…..Vanilla, butterscotch and a beautiful marshmallow note. Peppery and well-integrated oak lays down a solid foundation for the sweeter notes to play off. A touch of dried fruit and powdery cocoa appear given time. Relatively simple and straightforward nose to this Rum, but quite enjoyable.

Mouth: Lightly sweet and far more complex on the palate. Initial vanilla and cocoa give way to a drying and quite punchy oak that scatterguns fresh fruity peppercorns and charred, spicy barrel notes. A little banana chip and dried coconut sits alongside cocoa nibs and fresh, zingy ginger juice. A medium length finish carries the oak, vanilla and cocoa into those familiar peach vapours at the back of the throat.

You sometimes have to remind yourself that this is the product of the Coffey Column still only…..nothing from their pot still. Whilst it lacks a bit of heft on the palate, I can think of no better rum to adequately display just how effective the creation of Aeneas Coffey is when in the right hands. I was going to conclude this review by saying that this Rum was very much of its time, and it’s amazing to see how far things have moved on since it’s release in 2008. Not just in the Rum world in general but in the output and confidence of Foursquare Distillery. But the truth is, released today, maybe at the island abv of 43%, it’d fly off the shelves. It’s like a more mature Old Brigand, proper enjoyable, even if it’s not the most complex offering. Column Still Rum never tasted so good.

4 / 5

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2019. 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.

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Compagnie Des Indes Barbados (Foursquare Distillery) 16 – Cask Strength Denmark Release

Back with independents and back once again in familiar Foursquare territory. This time though we’re looking at a cask strength proposition….60% abv to be precise. If you’d like to refresh yourselves on the 45% abv release, please have a click here and I’ll see you in a second. In my write up of that release, I added at the end that I’d love to try this 60% release. Fortunately for me I have some friendly and generous readers. Step forward a chap called Eigon Vilhelmsen. He emailed me and offered up a sample of the Danish only release along with a few bottle shots, and I’m very grateful that he did.

Compagnie Des Indes Barbados (Foursquare Distillery) 16 – 60% abv

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Bottle image courtesy of Eigon Vilhelmsen 2015

Again, as with the lower abv release this Rum was distilled in December 1998 and bottled in March 2015. We’ll have to run with the same mix of tropical and European age to make up its 16 years with 7 of those years spent in the warm climate of Barbados and the remaining 9 being in Europe…somewhere in Amsterdam. The Rum is a blend of both Pot and Column and was matured in an ex-Jack Daniels barrel. The Barrel Number as displayed on the bottle was MRS236 and this yielded an out-turn of 250 bottles at 60% abv. Again, no sweetener or colour has been added to this release.

Tasting Notes

cdi-60-glassIn the glass: the Rum displays itself as a dark copper and initial forays to the glass give rise to heavy astringent oak and a really intense apricot. It’s the oak that dominates the Rum for a good 5 minutes or so before it starts to back down a touch and open up. Light floral notes and bourbon like cherry follow and aromas of Bakewell Tart are aplenty…..I’m also convinced that there is a little solvent in there. Further trips to the glass remind me of the Neisson Reserve Speciale that I’ve been enjoying recently which can only be a good thing.

In the mouth: Initially the Rum is very warming but feels nothing like its 60% as its unbelievably approachable. A light sweetness on entry brings with it butterscotch and apricots like an apricot tarte tatin. It becomes dry quite quickly with very apparent oak and vanilla. The vapours creeping up my nose remind me of Peach Loops, Lidls finest children’s sweets and something that I seem to notice a lot in Foursquare Rums!  What surprises me about this 60% release is just how well-balanced it is. Nothing is too dominant and there are no off notes. It all just plays nicely. The finish is shorter than anticipated given the abv but is full of apricots, a peppery bite and it sees the return of those Neisson Agricole notes right at the death.

4-0-star

So, with thanks to Eigon, I have had the opportunity to try the highest abv Foursquare Rum that was available….I say was, as the Velier Foursquare 2006 trumps it slightly…..and given the well documented event that I’ll now call ‘Night of the Living Speculators’ it is another Dane that I need to rely upon to allow me to experience that particular Unicorn…..but that is for next time.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2016. 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.

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Compagnie Des Indes Foursquare Distillery 16

CDI Logo

I have previously told the tale of our trip to Paris, and specifically to the Christian de Montaguère store on a previous post. This was the second Compagnie Des Indes release that I picked up on the trip and it was a ‘must have’ for me being as I am, a huge fan of Rums from Foursquare Distillery. It was an instant winner on three counts…..distilled by Foursquare Distillery……aged for 16 years in total AND bottled at 45%…..what is not to like?

This therefore will be quite a short intro before we get into things. The bottling is an independent release from Compagnie Des Indes and I have recently covered their rather tasty Caraibes Rum on a previous post. You can read all about that Rum, plus get a little background on Florent Beuchet, the guy behind the company and releases here.

Down to business……..

Compagnie Des Indes Foursquare Distillery 16 – 45% abv

CDI FS Bottle and GlassThe Rum was distilled in December 1998 prior to bottling in March 2015 and had been matured for 16 years prior to bottling. 7 of those years were spent in the warm climate of Barbados and a further 9 in Europe…somewhere in Amsterdam or Liverpool. The Rum is a blend of both Pot and Column and was matured in an ex-Jack Daniels barrel. The Barrel Number was BD36 and this yielded an out-turn of 363 bottles. I have information directly from Florent that assures me there is no added sweeteners or colour of any kind. I am really excited about this bottle based on the abv being higher and than any other expression that I’ve tried from the distillery, and also it is the oldest expression that I have tried from the distillery too…..

Tasting Notes

In the glass: The Rum displays as a dark amber in the glass with warm gold flashes. Initial aromas are of fresh mint, orange oils and a very light oak. There is some alcohol up front so I leave the glass for a short while. Going back to the glass there is a clear milk chocolate aroma now backed up with a light vanilla. After leaving the glass to warm slightly in my hand, bananas and a buttery pastry start to appear. Initial forays to the glass show a real freshness to the aromas but as the glass warms, the oak starts to elbow its way in. It becomes the more dominant note along with a hint of warming milk chocolate. It really does benefit from time in the glass and it is really pleasant to just sit and let it unfold before you. Right at the back there is a candied dried fruit peel or something similar along with a very light coconut. Its Foursquare….but not as you know it. I found a few similarities with Rum Sixty Six at its base but it develops more given time.

In the mouth: Initial notes are dominated by oak. This carries with it a slight bitterness, but not enough to detract from the overall experience. Working through the oak I can taste bitter chocolate chips and a buttery short crust pastry. Light candied peel and raisins follow. There is a very pleasant all-encompassing mouthfeel to this Rum. Then the dryness of the oak led entry starts to take effect. It dries very quickly and cuts off further developments until right at the back of the finish. Talking about the finish, it is long and very robust. It starts with a light  pepperiness which is accompanied by that drying, warming oak. This leads into warm buttery chocolate croissants and the vapours remaining create that familiar peach like note that I experience a lot in Rums from Barbados. Right at the end…..when everyone has tidied up, left the building and taxis have taken them home to their beds, there is a really pleasant feeling of hazelnuts. Even the empty glass is a treat……wonderful oaky notes and just a hint of treacle remain.

CDI FS Close UpGiven its additional years in Europe taking it to a total maturation time of 16 years, I’d say that this Rum is only a touch more developed than Rum Sixty Six which sees all of its 12 years played out in Barbados. Maybe that change in climate brought something new to the table? As mentioned above, its unmistakably Foursquare….but not as we know it. The core experience is the same, but there is a different flavoured icing on this particular Rum cake. It works and it works well….as does the additional %abv. Florent and his Compagnie Des Indes brand are ones to watch. Their releases are in very limited quantities and from the expressions that I have tried, he knows how to pick them. It was an inspired purchase and one that I would willingly remake when this has disappeared. There is also a 60% abv release specifically for the Danish market…..if anyone reading this has a bottle…I would love to trade a little sample with you just to experience that release too. Essentially what I am saying is, if you see it, buy it. DO NOT HESITATE.

One thing to add is that I made all of my tasting notes on this Rum whilst using my recently obtained NEAT glass. It assisted with the separation of the alcohol aromas from the delights within. For the purposes of tasting, I would say that it is a worthwhile investment as it reveals more from the get go for those that feel that overly dominant alcohol vapours kill the experience for them. However, for the purposes of sitting down and actually enjoying the experience of drinking a Rum like this, I would always choose my regular stemmed glass. It is far easier to drink from given the NEAT glass has a very wide flat lip and it just fits the bill a little more. If you’ve tried it, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

4-0-star

© 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.