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Rum Reviews

Cadenhead’s Foursquare MBFS 2005, 13 Years Old, 62% ABV


Way before the indie bottlers we know today got into rums as the revival of the cane spirit gets underway, lesser known is that several of the well-regarded stories Scotch bottlers we know of today were perhaps the early pioneers of rum independent bottlings. Cadenhead's, better known for their Scotch bottlings, is one of 'em.

As early as the 1920's (if not even earlier, some say!), Cadenhead's was not just bottling Scotch from around the area, but had also began bottling Demerara rums as well - likely a result of British trading with Guyana and the exotic nature of spirits from the far off Caribbeans (as opposed to say Scotch). While Cadenhead's lays claim to being the oldest independent bottler in Scotland, numerous other bottlers would eventually follow suit and carry both Scotch and rums. 


Cadenhead's shop in Edinburgh.


Just a quick bit about Cadenhead's before we move forward - the wine and spirit merchant was established in 1842 in Aberdeen, Scotland, by a Mr. George Duncan. While Duncan was the founder, it was inevitably his successors Williams Cadenhead (you can take a wild guess as to where Cadenhead's got its name) and subsequently Robert Duthie, who are most credited for growing the business. Cadenhead was a man of many things - starting out in a thread factory, and later gaining acclaim for being a prolific poet, which gave Cadenhead's some popularity by association.

It was ultimately Duthie, who succeeded Cadenhead, who turned the merchant away from simply importing spirits, and moved the business into bottling its own Scotch and rums. Eventually, after Duthie's untimely passing, the business was acquired by none other than J & A Mitchell of Campbeltown, who you might know better as Springbank! Till this day, the business resides with the J & A Mitchell family, and is also why Cadenhead's unsurprisingly has a good collection of prized Springbank bottlings.


Foursquare Distillery in Barbados.


But back to the rum! As we've covered, Cadenhead's has actually been in the rum business for over a century, and today has three primary lines - the Dated Distillation (where you'll see the name of the distillery), the Green Label (focusing on rums by geography, sometimes in the form of country multi-distillery blends, you'll find a country of origin instead of a distillery's name here), and finally the Classic Blend (which is Cadenhead's own blend of rums from various countries).

As such, today we've got a Cadenhead's Dated Distillation release that's a 13 year old Foursquare distilled in 2005 - as with pretty much all Foursquare rums, this is a blend of pot and column still rums from the Foursquare Distillery in Barbados. As Foursquare typically does not release single marque expressions, the "MBFS" marque that's labelled here, which seems to be Main Barbados FourSquare, should likely simply indicate to the cask broker that the rum is from Foursquare in Barbados, rather than being an indication of any specific marque.

In any case, let's get to trying this out! Onward.

Cadenhead’s Foursquare MBFS 2005, 13 Years Old, 62% ABV - Review


Tasting Notes

Aroma: Heavy notes of butterscotch, cola cubes, quite abit of resin too, honey, clove spice - it’s all really rich. Over time a more lifted root beer syrup and cola gummy scent emerges.

Taste: Honey, spiced, more cola syrup, root beer float, sarsaparilla roots, maltose, clove - it’s rounded and almost syrupy, full-bodied and sort of candied and spiced. Punchy at the start but mellows out quickly to a really thick richness.

Finish: More of the herbal roots coming through with a pronounced bitters, then receding to more of that cola syrup and gummies. 


My Thoughts

I found this Foursquare expression very interesting - it has all the hallmarks of Foursquare that fills the top notes, but at the same time it has this sort of syrupy, mellow, deep richness that fills the darker bottom half. It’s not as spicy or as singular, rather there’s this wide gap between the vibrant top notes and the richer, denser base notes. 

It almost gravitates towards sinking to the bottom of the spectrum, which by the way is not necessarily a bad thing, instead it gives the Foursquare a much more candied quality - there’s a much more pronounced maltose candy note to it across aroma, flavour and texture. Also of course just to emphasise again - also that deep richness and mellow quality that is rather unlike the usual punchy, spirited, really intense and singular distillery bottlings.

On the whole - it’s unmistakably Foursquare but not the way you typically know it.

While it isn’t stated, it’s generally understood that Cadenhead’s rums are continentally aged (read: aged in the comparatively cooler European climate rather than in the hotter Caribbean climate) - which yes, I know that even within Europe there are differences between Portugal and Liverpool - but the point being that, if this is indeed the effects of continental ageing, I’ve not found it as pronounced anywhere else thus far as I have here.

Really, really interesting, definitely gotta try a Foursquare OB side by side with this one.