Thursday, April 14, 2022

Foursquare, Stolen Overproof Hampden, St Lucia; Rums? Rums!

I’ve asked for interesting samples from friend Charu… I got interesting samples from friend Charu. This time tons of random rum. Not the bottom shelf kind either. As with most Malternative reviews, my palate is not trained for it so I’m mostly judging it compared to whiskey. Previously from friend Charu: https://www.aerin.or … y:entry210317-202914

Foursquare Plenipotenziario 12, Velier Bottled 60%
A 12 year old blend from Foursquare, bottled by Velier. That nose is just dark molasses, and near-burnt sugar. So good, so deep, almost wood stain funky. Quite hot on the palate with 60% abv, tons of wood, sugars, leather, more of that toasted sugar bitter note too. Long aftertaste slightly bitter with deliciously burnt sugar and tons of toasted vanilla with baking spices playing the 3r fiddle here. Overall: Really quite tasty if one likes heavily toasted sugar-vanilla mix. Basically creme brulee top layer in liquid form. Possibly, ever so tiny bit too much bitterness on the palate. Value: N/A, though these are rather expensive even at MSRP.
This guy: https://www.masterof … -year-old-2007-wine/
Score: A- /RUM

Foursquare Redoubtable 61%
Another named release from Foursquare. Another blend of column and pot still rums from Foursquare. Typical burnt creme brulee sugar top on the nose. Quite sweet on the palate, with toasted, but not burnt sugar and vanilla notes. The aftertaste is yet again a typical Foursquare with toasted sugar vanilla blend, wood, some baking spices that finishes light and dry. Overall: Sweet and almost light, this drinks under it’s proof, yet just a tad too sweet for me without few darker bitter chocolate notes to back it up. Just a few would do, not enough to reach the bitterness of Plenipotenziario above, but perhaps a mix of the two would hit the right spot for my palate. Value: Circa $100, it’s probably alright considering how highly in demand Foursquare stuff is.
Score: A- /RUM

Stolen Overproof 6 Year Old Rum, Jamaican Rum, 61.5%
A 6 year old product from Hampden estate stills. Another funky nose with almost rubbery notes balanced by sugared vanilla. Nutty sweet palate with more burnt sugars, tons of spice and nearly tropical drink (don’t forget the bitters) quality. The aftertaste finishes with menthols and almost medicinal though a little bit short. Overall: As K&L Folks have mentioned this is a fantastic mixer for tropical drinks though very drinkable on its own if a little ‘funky’ for my palate. This reminds me of some sort of medicine with menthol notes towards the end. Still I’d probably drink this straight at a tropical resort. Or Mai Tai’ed the heck out of it. Value: This is $40? Pretty darn good overall.
Almost Certainly this:
Score: B /RUM

St Lucia 9 years, 2011 Bitters & Bottles SP, 60.3%
Bitters and Bottles store bottle , distilled in 2011 and 9 years old. Cask number 89308 (if I’m reading the label correctly). CHAIRMAN’S RESERVE 9 YEAR SINGLE CASK 100% SUGARCANE POT STILL RUM is the title. Funky menthol and rubber notes on the nose. Oh, I hope this isn’t another medicinal one. Tons of menthol, alcohol burn, licorice notes galore, this is almost like a bitey metholy rye in rum form. A little bit of water cuts down the burn and makes it a little more palatable. This is still pine resin, tons of menthol and some eucalyptus through and through the palate and the aftertaste. Overall: Not my thing, though I’ve glad I’ve tried it. Few drops of water is heavily recommended. Value: $138.50 I have no clue how to judge it but I’ll for, a little bit on the expensive side.
While it lasts: https://www.bittersa … arcane-pot-still-rum
Score: C- /RUM

St Lucia 11 years, Bitters & Bottles SP, 57.9%
Another Bitters and Bottle store bottle, this time cask number: 5150608 and as of 11 years old. A nice balance of wood, burnt sugar notes and spices. Something dark and tropical appears in between the sniffs on the nose. Still slightly medicinal notes remain. The palate is ginger-cinnamon toasted sugar candy, with some alcohol of course. Little bit of mint comes through but mostly whatever was on the palate continues into the medium length aftertaste. Overall: I am quite enjoying this contrary to the 9 years old one above. It’s got some funk and mint/eucalyptus going on but by no means it’s unpleasant to drink. Kinda like an enjoyable rye whiskey for me, I don’t usually like rye but sometimes the balance is there. Value: At $52.50 this is super solid deal.
This is the link: https://www.bittersa … on-cask-strength-rum
Score: B+ /RUM

Subtle Spirits, Tempest Rum, St Lucia 62.7%
Joshua Thinnes’s single cask pick, 9 year old, 100% Sugarcane, single cask #797082011 by Chairman’s Reserve stills. Lots and lots of wood on the palate, torched sugar, prunes, black raisins. Sweet and almost salty palate, alcoholic dried fruit compote, vanilla-sugar mix torched into bitterness, almost like oversteeped black tea, lots of wood notes with pine needles. Reasonably short but pleasant aftertaste with more dried fruit notes lingering around. Overall: Good but not my thing to be honest. I’ve got some mediocre associations with dried fruit compotes back from my childhood so it’s certainly working against me. As much as I want to like it… it’s not my thing. Honest disclaimer is I’m not too much into St Lucia’s palate balance. Water snaps things together nicely and changes the balance towards good notes. Few drops are highly recommended. Value: This is expensive. No.
Original listing: https://www.subtlesp … com/blog/the-tempest
Score: B (B+ with water) /RUM

Scoring Breakdown: https://www.aerin.or … age=scores_breakdown

Thursday, March 24, 2022

El Tesoro, Ivy Mountain Peach Brandy, Arma/Co(gnac), Malternatives

Introducing new (and also old because there are few older reviews are also falling into this tag) category of ‘malternative’ spirit reviews. I may not revisit this tag too often but I will record my thoughts since I do get samples for non-whiskey booze too.

Full disclaimer, oftentimes I’m not familiar enough with the spirit in question to baseline it against others of its kind… consider my grades as an outsider’s opinion.

El Tesoro Reposado, K&L Sp, 40.7%
Sample courtesy of friend Charu. The nose is grassy fresh cut tropical fruit salad… Like the top of a pineapple. Light, sweet, slightly peppery and tropical palate. Lots of spices, primarily chili peppers rise in the reasonably long aftertaste. This is a tequila that truly wants to be paired with some mexican food or cheese. Side note, pairing it up with some smoked gouda is amazing. Overall: Highly enjoyable with mexican food but not too special on its own. I would absolutely drink this all day with tacos or whatever i’m given.
Score: B-

Ivy Mountain Peach Brandy, 40%
Unclear which batch this is, but likely batch 1…. Sample courtesy of friend Charu. It smells like pure peaches. Not even a note of alcohol for my ’seasoned’ nose. Okay, maybe a little bit like a peach extract/flavoring to be fair. Sweet peach skins and maybe a little bit of bitterness from around the pit on the palate. Very long and very… ‘peachy’ aftertaste. It really does taste like peach sangria or a real peach that’s been soaked in white rum for a while. A fun little experience, it makes me think of peach-flavored liquors or peach-flavored rum, though I’m fairly sure this is not flavored by any means. Overall: Fun summery drink for sure. “Don’t worry; be happy”. As straight as a line on complexity and perhaps it’s for the best.
Score: B

L’encantada Lous mouracs 1983 #25 Lincoln Road Pick, 48.6%
A small sample from friend Charu. This is so ridiculously dark and complex across the board. The nose is wonderful blend of old paint and varnish with vanilla extract and fruit compote. The palate is deeply oaky, super fruity and almost resembles Oloroso sherry for me, which is something I really really like in the glass. Toasted vanilla, lots of wood yet not overwhelming the balance is great here. Tons of dark dried fruits and some spice on the finish. Overall: Lovers of subtle spirits should not apply. This is not your shelf cognac light fruity style. This is luxuriously dark, deep, and amazing. Delicious example of brandy that I would love drinking even being a scotch lover. Definitely one to change a whiskey-drinker’s mind. It’s quite difficult to even call this an armagnac when trying blind… It’s something between a bourbon and heavily sherried scotch on the palate. Value: This is north of 200… so not cheap.
Someone else’s thoughts here: http://plebyak.blogs … s-1983-armagnac.html
Score: A-

Pierre Ferrand Renegade Barrel 1 - Cognac and Sauternes Cask, 48%
Sample from friend Charu. This batch is aged in combination of old cognac and sauternes casks. The nose got a minor but odd acrid note to it, like raw grapes or maybe bad white wine mixed with woody alcohol. The palate is actually not too bad. I don’t have too much cognac practice, but it’s definitely vanilla, ripe red grapes, pine nuts, very floral and quite sweet. The aftertaste brings interesting gentle szechuan pepper notes and some vanilla extract. Overall: Sweet and pleasant, this can appeal to those that enjoy Hennessy/Remi Martin no age blends but for my palate it’s not all that interesting. A solidly drinkable cognac, with an interesting twist and much more character than overblended generic ’staples’. Value: Solid, at ~$80 for the brand. Not that I have any expertise in cognac pricing.
Score: B

Pierre Ferrand Renegade Barrel 2 - Oak and Chestnut barrels, 47.1%
Sample from friend Charu. Very herbal on the nose, an herbal fruit compote to be fair as is the norm with cognacs. More herbs on the palate but now with wood and grapes, and raisins dominating, backed by the vanilla toasted wood. Lots of spices, some oak and vanilla; and of course more dried raisins, though this time white raisins, on the palate. Overall: This is quite a trip on the senses, though I’d have guessed the finish was some herbal vine finish rather than chestnut. Definitely oak-forward, with wood trying to unbalance the rest of the spirit it never quite gets there. Definitely an interesting and different take on a cognac. Not a typical offering and is likely polarizing to those that are more familiar with cognacs. Still, I’d drink this stand-alone no problem. Value: Solid, at ~$80 for the brand. Not that I have any expertise in cognac pricing.
Score: B+

Scoring Breakdown: https://www.aerin.or … age=scores_breakdown

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Foursquare Rums

Friend of mine keeps on telling me that I’m missing out by not trying rums. I shall indulge him. Foursquare rum distillery is fairly famous among the rum drinkers. I know nothing but feel free to read all about it via google… https://punchdrink.c … barbados-distillery/ and https://altamarbrand … uare-rum-distillery/… So with the disclaimer that I’m coming into this without having ANY palate for rums and will be judging it mostly compared to whiskey and scoring primarily how much I enjoy drinking it… Let’s get into it.

The info on the cask and age makeup is somewhat shamelessly copied from, credit to him for the info and if you like rum reviews it seems to be the site to visit/bookmark. Give it a read.

Foursquare Sagacity, 48%
From quick sleuthing: “We have a blend of Pot and Coffey Column distilled rums aged for 12 years. A portion of the rum in this blend is aged for the full 12 years in ex-Bourbon casks the other in ex-Madeira casks.” The nose is very sugar caramel and bananas, quite as expected out of rum honestly. Little woody, spicy, bourbon baking spices but different sweetness profile, more sugar, less corn. Again as expected out of rum. Some red wine asserts itself but wine is more of a notable influence on the finish. Very slightly rough around the edges on the spice profile which pleasantly offset the sweetness. Enjoyable? Yes… Tropical? Yes. Tiny bit too bitter and could use some tropical fruit as a chaser? Yes. Would I drink at the beach? Sure. Would I buy a bottle? No. This is a good rum that tastes like a rum.
Score: ? B+ /RUM

Foursquare Empery 56%
This is a blend of Pot/Column distilled rum aged for 14 years in ex-bourbon casks and a portion of Pot Column distilled rum which was aged for 10 years in ex-bourbon casks and then matured for a further 4 years in ex-sherry casks. Sherry Sherry… baby! Surprisingly sherried notes in the nose. If I didn’t know better, I’d be willing to guess this being a grain whiskey as it lacks the malty notes for obvious reasons. Oh this I like! Little spicy but very sherried on the palate, nice sweet backbone through the whole experience. More sherry and a little bit of spice on the aftertaste. Very tiny bit metallic on some of the secondary flavors but it’s minor and fades after some time in the glass. Real good stuff. Very VERY drinkable.
Score: ? A- /RUM

Foursquare Exceptional Cask Series 2008, 60%
This happens to be a blend of Pot and Column distilled rum which has been blended and aged for the full 12 years of maturation in Barbados. Tropically Aged Rum. The barrels used in the ageing process they are 1st, 2nd and 3rd fill ex-Bourbon barrels. With this rum Foursquare also advise that there in no added colour, sugar, additives and its non chill filtered. The nose on this is great. I been smelling it all evening and I’m not getting tired of it. Sweet, spicy and quite delicious on the palate this reminds of a very strong grain whiskey or perhaps lighter bourbon variety with tropical fruits, some raspberry, and bourbon spice. Strong and quite viscous sugar streak goes though the experience. The aftertaste continues wonderfully from the palate. This is certainly not sherried compared to Empery above (ex bourbon maturation), but no less enjoyable. Surprisingly drinkable even at full proof.
Score: ? A /RUM

You know.. Foursquare rums ain’t so bad. I’ll not be chasing these down but I also shouldn’t scoff at rums either. There are plenty good ones if one knows where and what to look for.

Scoring Breakdown: https://www.aerin.or … age=scores_breakdown