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Rum Reviews

Foursquare Absolutio - Velier

 

We are now officially 9 bottles into the Foursquare - Velier collaboration, with the release of Absolutio, a 15 Year Old Double Maturation blend of pot and column still rums, Barbados Single Blended of course, as is the Foursquare signature. Breaking down those 15 years, it's 10 years ex-Bourbon and subsequently 5 more years in ex-Port.

According to Rum Revelations, Richard Seale, the man at the helm of Foursquare, says it's from an Adega (so not seasoned casks), we're talking proper, proper casks used to age Port wine, estimated to be around 20 years old. Quality stuff! After all, with a penchant for finding words I've never known existed, Richard has given this the name "Absolutio", to mean Perfection - so only the good stuff!

  

| Read: Don’t Call Foursquare Experimental: A Word With Richard Seale, Barbados’ Hottest Rum Maker

  

When this bottle was teased by Richard on Instagram during Velier Live 2024 in Milan, "frothing" would be a fairly and understatedly appropriate description of my reaction. Something about the label has just become so iconic, with that striking Yves Klein blue (technically International Klein Blue) aesthetic coupled with the cream white text and borders, accented with black serif text, atop the iconic muscularly shouldered black Velier bottle - you would think this was some sort of design review, but nope it is indeed a rum review.

The Foursquare - Velier collaboration has of course been highly sought after, you couldn't even tell if its reputation preceded it or if the juice inside just always slapped. Each bottling showcased a different aspect of Foursquare (Richard says he cares little for being experimental, but I'd say that's underselling it), and yet has always been very distinctively bearing of the Foursquare signature profile of massive richness, intense flavours, really bold and expressive, lots of energy and power in them - they definitely hammer it home. I'd dare say that anyone could taste it and attest that it's incredibly powerful and distinctive - you immediately get that this is no ordinary rum, something special is afoot. As each release went on, its reputation grew, as has both the Bajan distillery Foursquare (which today has its Exceptional Cask Selection series that has also taken off) for producing great rums and Velier's reputation for picking out great rums. So a very successful series thus far!

  

 

Each release has become harder and harder to come by as a result. And the bar for Foursquare to beat has become impossibly high - if DJ Khaled's hit seventh album Suffering from Success could be the soundtrack for anything, Foursquare should just play it on loop at the distillery over in Saint Philip as they age the rums. And so I thought there would be little opportunity for me to get to try the new Foursquare Absolutio - but incredibly, the rum guy's rum guy, the man behind Singapore's Rum Cartel, has managed to get his hands on it! Likely the only bottle to his this entire region, he has so generously shared a sample with me. If there was anyone who could get hands on it so quickly, it had to be The Rum Cartel - theirs is a collection that could make even the most seasoned rum lover weep tears of 62% ABV.

 

| Read: If Your Rum Can Make It In Singapore, It Can Make It Anywhere; Rum Cartel's Frederic Langlois Tells Us Why Singapore Is The Ultimate Rum Arena

  

When he asked if I would like to try it, "F**k, Yes!" was how I subtly expressed that it was something I could see myself indulging in. And so you know who to hit up if you want to be hooked up with some incredible rums - man's got the greats on Whatsapp, he ain't sitting in front of the computer refreshing and clicking a thousand times per millisecond (The Rum Cartel's over here).

And so here we are, let's go! Onward! 

Foursquare Absolutio, Velier, 62% ABV - Review

 

Tasting Notes

Colour: Deep Amber, Copper Tinge, Raw Honey

Aroma: Off the bat, it’s got intensity! Even from a distance, there’s the deep and rich sweet notes of brown sugar, honey, caramel sauce, lifted notes of coconut flakes. Getting in closer, it’s incredibly rich, with such great depth and thickness, it’s almost syrupy but in layers. More on raisins, stewed plums, figs, and sticky date pudding with the caramel sauce, chocolate cake, cocoa powder, with some wafts of sweet oak. There’s some vanilla sauce there, subtle but present, along with some light baking spice.

With some time, black liquorice shows up as well, along with the classic root beer syrup, coconut cream and brown sugar. This is all by the way woven into a cohesive and rounded honeyed texture - sweet but in a rich kind of way, as opposed to cloying. Massive power and intensity, super aromatic.

Taste: Medium-bodied, really lovely richness of brown sugar, heaps of raisins, stewed plums and figs, more earthy notes of leather and tobacco leaves. There’s more on coconut, cherry cola beer, sarsaparilla sticks, cacao, a slight hit of tar but not phenolic in the slightest. Light touches of baking spice, as well as some soft notes of wet oak.

Finish: More charred wood bitterness here for a second, which then fades to reveal a sweetness of baked cherries, raisins, brown sugar, vanilla, coconut, along with some leather and tobacco leaves, all over a deep and long warmth. Light bit of tar and tobacco in the aftertaste.

 

My Thoughts

Immediately what I love about the Foursquare Absolutio is the intensity coupled with the richness and just how rounded it was. From the moment it hits the glass, the aromas are incredibly bold and rich, the rum is super expressive on the nose, and while it might seem like there's all these various parts to it, it's actually more along the lines of one cohesive, full-bodied bouquet that you're just swimming in. Layers on layers, it's dense and dark, sweet but in a rich and syrupy way, as opposed to sticky. There's complexity but they're all harmonised together perfectly into one - still feels very distinctively Foursquare for me.

The body had more cherry than I typically get from Foursquare, and I find that here there's no gluey or resinous notes - same goes for the nose, but instead it's much more earthy than what I've had so far, and also the oak here is alot more subtle and soft. It's really heavy on the raisins and the tobacco leaves and leather, which dominates the palate. Into the finish there's a more pronounced bitterness of charred wood but only for a second before it lets up and fades into this confectionary sweetness that at times reminds me of a classic Bourbon profile. There's more tarry notes in the Absolutio as well, but not high-pitched or phenolic, instead it's alot more dark, thick and heavy - in a very good Caroni sort of way. 

I would have liked it to slow down and develop more on the palate and extend its progression and showcase more evolution, as it did on the nose and the finish, where it had so much to give and just kept on evolving. That said, I found the palate to be intense, rich and very detailed, you could pick out the notes very evidently, and in that sense was cohesive and neatly packed but moved rather fast. Perhaps more air time might bring something else out.

Having had the benefit of trying every release from the Foursquare - Velier collaboration thus far, I can definitively say this is my favourite by far. It's got the intensity, richness and expressiveness that I enjoy, and it's more earthy and fruity which I love as well, lots more coconuts here than usual too. It also brings something interesting to the table with the cherry and tar notes, and just as importantly, doesn't have the gluey-ness or the bitter oaky dryness that I'm not a fan of. It's not high-pitched or of varnish, but takes things to a richer and darker side of the flavour spectrum. Thoroughly enjoyable, definitely the standout for me!

 

Lead image courtesy of Rum Cartel.

   

Kanpai!

  

 

@111hotpot