Habitation Velier Foursquare 2013 – Pure Single Rum

Whats that you say? Another Foursquare Rum review…..another piece of the jigsaw. This time its a follow-up to its rarer and younger relative the Habitation Velier Foursquare 2015 Pure Single Rum.

You can read about that Rum here…..and just do a search for Foursquare in the search box to find out plenty more about the distillery and its Rums.

Forsyths Twin Retort Pot Still

This Rum was distilled at Foursquare on their twin retort Forsyths (with added Green Engineering whistles and bells) pot still and then matured for 2 years in ex-cognac barrels. As is usual with the Habitation Velier bottles, the information on there is amazingly comprehensive as we’ve been informed that the loss to evaporation in that 2 year period has been >15%, that the rum has not been chill filtered, is natural colour and is released at barrel proof with no dilution. Obviously, it is sugar-free.

Habitation Velier Foursquare 2013 – Pure Single Rum – 64% abv

Habitation Velier Foursquare 2013

Tasting Notes

Glass: The Rum is a pale gold apple juice in colour. Initially there is quite a bit of white pepper. It’s very punchy and up front….its definitely not shy. Immediately I get Rhubarb and Ginger crumble. Oaty and nutty aromas. Mild olives and salty brine. Preserved lemons and a hint of acetone. There is surprisingly not a huge alcohol attack, just a heavy delivery of aromas. Lotus biscuits, vanilla. The Rum is full and very oily….maybe even waxy. A hint of raisins and dried guava pieces. Doing my usual blowing into the glass reveals a beautiful marzipan quality to the vapour. This has only been matured for two years remember…..crazy stuff.

Mouth: A powerful, oily entry wrapped in warmth and sweetness. It is initially quite biting and that brings black pepper and salted liquorice…..maybe even a hint of liquorice root. A little bitterness but some real grip on the tongue, quite a fruity and grassy mid-palate. That oily citrus returns to tease your saliva glands before the anticipated brine and olives bathe your entire mouth. It takes on a savoury quality that sits at the back of your throat with a vegetal note before the vapours give way to peach and dried tropical fruit. The shortish finish is salty sweet caramel, liquorice and even has a mild amount of smoke. Very enjoyable.

After the initial punch you have to keep reminding yourself that this Rum is so young (though with tropical age probably hitting 5 years if it were a whisky) and at such a high abv as once acclimatised it’s even more approachable. It brings the sweetness of a young well crafted Rum, the weight that you expect from batch distillation and the level of flavour that a Rum of this maturity just shouldn’t have…..a nod perhaps to the choice of ex-cognac barrels. Quality french oak used not to gain anything from that famous cognac heritage, but to gain all from the quality of wood. Punchy? Yes. Powerful? Of Course. Approachable? Surprisingly so. Flavourful? Like you wouldn’t believe. Just the remaining taste in my mouth is taking me back to the aromas around the still and that tap that was turned to allow us to experience freshly distilled Rum at Foursquare. I would love to experience this Rum with a few more years on it as it has world domination stamped all over it. Another hit……like we expected anything else.

4.5 / 5

An example of Pure Single Rum that can trade punches with some tasty Jamaicans. Buy this while you can as there is still availability…even in the UK. £85 for a two-year old Rum? It’s so much more than the sum of its years….it offers development, aroma and flavour that some can spend a lifetime failing to achieve. Judge it on its merits and pick it up. It warrants your attention.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2018. 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.


Habitation Velier Foursquare 2015 Pure Single Rum

Yes you read that correctly….2015. This is unlike the 2013 that saw 2 years age in ex-cognac barrels. This Rum was produced using 100% Barbadian molasses and distilled at Foursquare on their twin retort pot still. This is your only chance to get to try such a lightly aged (4 months in ex-cognac barrels) 100% pot distillate from Foursquare. In fact it is the only one that has been bottled and released commercially…..I’m also quite hesitant to say that it is commercially available as I’ve not seen this bottle for sale…..anywhere. It was obtained as an open bottle from Luca Gargano (who also signed the bottle label for me) in the final Velier seminar at the 2016 UK RumFest….and I feel immensely lucky to have it. Now I have written previously about Foursquare releases and you can read more into their other releases here, here, here and here. The bottle was open with a small amount gone when I was gifted it and my subsequent tastings have taken it past the shoulders and I’ve put some time in with this Rum…..so I suppose it’s on with the tasting notes…

Habitation Velier Foursquare 2015 Pure Single Rum – 59% abv



Tasting Notes

Glass: The Rum as stated has been aged for 4 months in ex-cognac barrels. It presents itself as a light straw gold in the glass. Initial aromas are fresh, clean and acetone in nature. It is salty and ever so lightly floral. Brine and salty black olives are present and accounted for. It is everything I expect from a pot distillate. It is very pungent but extremely approachable. As the glass warms it brings a warming, creamy biscuity aroma. There is also a light smoke….almost burnt splints that we used to use to light Bunsen burners back in school. With water the acetone attack is dialed down a notch and the florals come to the fore, along with more of the creamy biscuity aromas.

Mouth: The entry is hot and peppery. Black olives and salty brine are very apparent. As the heat subsides a sweetness grows that is almost salty / sweet liquorice. It is a very oily proposition and is all-encompassing in the mouth with, for me, clearly defined effects on my palate. Oily citrus zips your cheeks whilst the peppery bite nips at your lips. All the while your tongue is bathed in salty liquorice with the slightest bitterness of treacle. With water the citrus is dulled but the black olives and liquorice remain on the growingly creamy and textured mouthfeel. The finish is of a short to medium length and is resplendent with liquorice, brine and the lightest bitter note.

This was another Rum that I had expected to be a ‘reference rum’ much like the Habitation Velier Port Mourant. However, I found the Rum to be such a flavourful proposition that I decided to put it to work in a few drinks. It excels in a Daiquiri and I also built an Old Fashioned. Tasting the drink as it diluted I felt that it needed a little help so added a drop of Doorlys 12 which added balance to the drink. A drop of Peychauds and Angostura Bitters also worked well.


I think that Josh over at Inu A Kena summed it up earlier this week when he observed that ‘Being a Rum Nerd means that you reach a point where white Rums really excite you’. This was further commented on by Peter Holland from TFRS who said that ‘If a new make Rum has no taste interest, its highly unlikely that time in a barrel is going to significantly improve things’.

Both good observations. This Pure Single Rum is a massively exciting proposition. It contains insane levels of both flavour and aroma, the likes of which some longer aged products could only dream of containing. Can you just imagine how much complexity could be added to this Rum with time in the barrel? Well I have the 2 year old Foursquare 2013 still to come to these pages so I guess we’ll find out!


© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2017. 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.


Soldiers Bay Silver Rum

Soldiers Bay LogoThis is rum that perhaps you won’t have heard of (it is relatively new, being launched in November 2013) but its origins are based at a distillery that you most certainly will have heard of. Soldiers Bay Silver is produced by the only remaining distillery in Antigua, Antigua Distillery. This is the same distillery that produces the wonderful English Harbour range of rums. I wrote a post on their English Harbour 5 Rum here which you can use to refresh yourself.

The first rums to be produced in Antigua in the early 19th Century were basic concoctions made by individual estate owners using crude pot stills, but apparently the rums produced were still light with a depth of flavour. Fast forward to the early 20th Century and to the demise of the estate rum production, the rum trade moved into individual shops whose proprietors formulated their own brands and sold them under names such as Silver Leaf, House and Red Cock. A number of these shop owners amalgamated to form Antigua Distillery Ltd in 1932. The distillery initially sold only two types of rum and an aged ‘mature’ product known as Caballero Rum. 1934 saw the company purchase a number of estates and a sugar factory to produce its own molasses. The factory produced a high quality sugar known as muscovado. The residues of this sugar, known as muscovado molasses, was used to produce Antigua Distillery Ltd’s first bottled rum in the early 1950’s. This rum was a full-bodied, unique rum known as Cavalier Muscovado Rum. Due to a worldwide shift in consumer preference towards rums with a lighter body in the 1960’s, the company adapted its distillation process to produce Cavalier Antigua Rum which was a much lighter bodied rum.

Fast forward and the Antigua Distillery still produce Cavalier Rum along with English Harbour, and the rum for Soldiers Bay.

Soldiers Bay Rum is molasses based and the fermented molasses is left to ‘mature’ for four days prior to continuous copper still distillation. The rum is then carbon filtered and is an unaged product that is diluted to 40% abv before bottling……..but how does it taste……

Tasting Notes

IMAG0913_1In the glass: The rum is crystal clear and the immediate scent that hits you is coconut. Lots and lots of coconut. This is accompanied by a little waxy citrus and a big dollop of marshmallow. All encouraging so far.

In the mouth: Oh my word. Straight away the coconut is there, it’s not overpowering but there certainly is a lot of it. In this way it is similar to the English Harbour 5 which carried a lot of toasted coconut, but this is less toasted and more akin to coconut cream. The marshmallow too is evident and hits you like a spoonful of marshmallow fluff! I didn’t pick up the citrus in flavour, only on the nose but there is a little peachy and pineapple note hiding in the background. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the rum is sickly sweet though. It dries out very quickly and leave a beautiful light coconut, medium-ish length finish. No harshness is present and the rum is as smooth as you like. This is headed straight into a daiquiri!

IMAG0914_1This rum really shines in a daiquiri, it compliments the citrus so well and the coconut sweetness is boosted by the sugar syrup. It occupies the middle ground between two other great daiquiri rums, Plantation 3 Stars and Koko Kanu. It is also great mixed with cola, and is killer with pineapple juice, passion fruit syrup and a little toasted coconut on top….I’ve also added a little white chocolate liqueur to the mix which works well, mood dependent though as the sweetness escalates quickly.

To take you back a step, with all of this talk of coconut, this is not a coconut rum. I was so convinced of flavour tampering that I contacted the UK distributor to query its origins. I was assured that it is solely down to the four-day matured fermented molasses and the rums lack of contact with oak, which is stopping the formation of vanilla and caramel flavours. This rum is ridiculously tasty and at less than £22 a bottle online, it is an absolute steal. It’s versatile, tastes great and is criminally underrated…..a little bit like myself.

© 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.