Holmes Cay Single Cask Rum Barbados (Foursquare) 2006 – 58.5%
Stats: Independent bottling of a 14 year old blend of pot and column distillate from Foursquare. It was tropically aged in Barbados in ex-bourbon casks for 3 years before spending 11 more years in the UK. It is bottled at 58.5% ABV with no additives.
Source: Sample procured through Eric Kaye for a tasting session he did with the Austin Rum Society a few weeks back (cask 17, bottle 122). My enjoyment led to purchasing a bottle of my very own (cask 17, bottle 66).
Conditions: Sipped neat in a Glencairn over the course of two sessions, maybe 30-45 minutes each, no water added. These are impressions from two different bottles.
Nose: (First bottle) Sulphur, buttered popcorn, caramel apple, butterscotch, vanilla frosting, melting marshmallow, coconut lotion. Some heat, paint thinner. Well integrated wood. Almost seems cognac-like. Some pepper and baking spices, maybe paprika? Play-Doh. (Second bottle) Heat. Rubber cement, vinegar, canned corn, cut grass.
Mouth: (First bottle) This packs some heat but the texture is silky smooth. An initial sweetness caresses the tongue before oak fills the mouth and throat. There’s a lot of richness. Molasses. Pipe tobacco. Cracked pepper. A hint of rotting tropical fruits and fresh mango. Prunes. Spicy wood lingers in the back of the throat. (Second bottle) Heat, honey, maple, orange liqueur, bitter chocolate, tar, molasses, wood.
Final Thoughts: Wow, this is very different from the 20+ Foursquares I’ve tried to date. Truth be told, right before I tried this sample I was saying how I have enough Foursquare in my life. I don’t need to buy any more until I kill some bottles. Also, I’m not a huge fan of most Foursquares that are aged over 12 years (Hereditas, Empery, Nobiliary, Shibboleth… I’m looking at you). I find 12 years of tropical aging to be the sweet spot for me. Beyond that I find the wood influence robs the distillate of its beauty and nuance. I know many will disagree and that’s fine, we all enjoy differently. Anyway, this expression having spent 3/4 of it’s life mellowly aging in the UK still brings forth a lot of wood influence while maintaining the delicate character of Richard Seale’s work. The nose is a delight. The palate brings a nice richness and it’s so easy to drink. I find it to be an exceptional rum that’s well worth seeking out!
My Rating: 4
1 – I don’t want this in my mouth ever again
2 – Best used for mixing
3 – Decent sipper
4 – Very enjoyable
5 – I’m buying a back up bottle