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Rum Reviews

Two Local Foursquares: Malt, Grain and Cane (MG&C) Foursquare 2005 (15 years) & Barbados Rum 2007 for Malt Grain Cane & Miles Whisky Bar (13 years)


Background: as per the title, these are two private bottlings of Foursquare from two casks, two vintages, selected and/or imported by a local independent bottler, Malt, Grain & Cane.

Name: Malt, Grain and Cane (MG&C) Foursquare 2005 (15 years)

Nose: the alcohol is apparent, the top notes very sweet; nail polish; turpentine; boiled sugarcane; some kind of musky, creamy floral perfume; talcum powder; butter cake; beneath the sweetness are evocations of sweet and savoury grains and starch; brewed barley drink; toasted malt; cereal; freshly baked baguette; pan-fried tapioca cake; mitarashi dango; after some time, fruits like apples, pomegranates and dark cherries come to the fore; the base notes comprise cola, banana milk, shortbread biscuit, assorted baking spices, and the chocolatey rye notes I get from Balcones Rye Cask Strength.

Palate: medium- to full-bodied; lots of things sweet and nice, with their sweetness tempered and balanced nicely by the wood influence; honey; molasses; grass jelly; root beer; banana and coconut are the main stars of the mid-palate; banana split; nyonya confectioneries made from coconut milk, such as kueh bangkit and kueh lapis; the back-palate is redolent of dark and red fruits; dried dates and figs; Bing cherries draped in chocolate; raspberry jam; gingerbread, liquorice and mint leaves act as accoutrements.

Finish: long; picks up where the back-palate left off; cola; root beer; sweet red wine; blackforest cake; mixed berries tart; what follows is a concise highlight reel of the nose, in reverse order -- chocolate, bread, malt, cake and musky perfume; vanilla cream, banana cake, fruit and nuts chocolate bar, and traditional Chinese ginkgo barley dessert, make up the aftertaste.

Conclusion: there a muskiness in this rum resembling that of Samaroli West Indies 1948, albeit way dialled down. Then it moves into Four Roses and Balcones territories, before coming full circle and being Foursquare again. Yet there is order -- even symmetry -- amidst this apparent chaos. The rum is nicely layered, with a finish that echoes the nose. Most importantly, it is delicious; sweet but not cloying, oaky but not astringent, the balance is practically perfect for me. My favourite Foursquare yet.

Score (assuming a normal distribution with mean 50): 85/100


Name: Barbados Rum 2007 for Miles Whisky Bar (13 years)

Nose: coconut milk and coconut shavings are most obvious upon pouring; the aromas of various Peranakan coconut sweets are very dominant; floral and fruity notes keep the coconut ensemble in good company; hibiscus tea; rose syrup; Ribena; apples, some stewed, some oxidised; the wood influence -- paired with substantial amounts of spiciness -- gets more obvious deeper into the glass; vegetable-tanned leather; chocolate-chip cookie; peanut butter; Imperial stout; lots of baking spices; orange marmalade; candied ginger.

Palate: full-bodied; a bittersweet entry; burnt caramel; molasses; over-extracted coffee; hints of leather; maraschino cherry; apple and cranberry juice; rose syrup; the mid-palate is sweet and creamy; honey; candied ginger; cake batter topped with a surfeit of baking spices; whipped cream; coconut shavings, coconut milk and coconut sweets come on strong on the back-palate.

Finish: medium in length; herbal candy; milk stout; hazelnut praline; caffe mocha; a bunch of banana-related notes, like banana milk and banana cake; roasted peanuts; orange marmalade; the aftertaste consists of cling wrap, fatt gou (Chinese brown sugar steamed cake), candied cherry, acetone, and indistinct brine.

Conclusion: this is not too dissimilar from any of the ECS vintages. The biggest difference is that the notes of coconut and its by-products are decidedly more pronounced here. It is less complex, less unique, and has a less appealing structure, than the MG&C 2005. A very good rum nonetheless, just not exactly outstanding among the Foursquare competition.

Score (assuming a normal distribution with mean 50): 82/100


Image Courtesy of u/zoorado