Doorly`s XO – A Wonderful Classic Rum from Barbados!

Doorly`s XO bottle

Not new….but quite resently released in this country anyway – the wonderful Doorly`s XO….

Doorly`s XO is produced by R. L. Seale & Co. Ltd and distilled at the Four Square Distillery in Barbados which are located on the site of an old plantation dating back to the early 1600s and they are the makers of a whole range of famous rums such as RL Seale, Doorly`s, Rum Sixty Six, Old Brigand and John Taylor’s Velvet Falernum as well as creating rums for other brands for example Real McCoy and all the rums at St Nicholas Abbey except for their newest five year old expression.

Reginald Leon Seale (R.L.Seale) founded the company in 1926 and Master Distiller Richard Seale is a rum maker in the fourth generation. The Foursquare Rum Distillery in Barbados is wholly owned by the Seale family and is thus one of the few remaining independent producers in the Caribbean.

The Chairman of the company is Sir David Seale, while the whole site is now managed by his son, Mr.Richard Seale. Set in eight acres and beautifully landscaped, the distillery occupies the site of a former sugar factory that dates back to 1636.


Richard Seale

Green Technology – Energy saving and environmental protection

Foursquare is interesting also because of how they use green technology which is used in their rum making in every single step, for example the carbon dioxide created during fermentation is captured and then sold to a local gas company and everything from the rum making process is taken care of in order to reduce the impact of the environment as much as possibly can be done.

For example, the Foursquare Rum Distillery has been designed not only to be highly energy efficient but environmentally friendly as well and stillages from distillation are reduced in volume by evaporation process up to one seventh of the initial volume.

Multiple effect evaporation is applied to reduce the steam consumption. Condensate recovered from evaporation is a transparent and clear liquid which may be recycled to the molasses dilution or disposed without any problem. Concentrated stillages at 55–60 % solids can then be reused as additive for fertilisers or animal feed.

More than 40 % of the carbondioxide given off during the fermenting process is captured and while other distilleries release this gas to the atmosphere,here it is cleaned, liquefied and stocked in bottles. The CO2 is then sold to soft drinks manufacturers to add fizz to their products.

That`s amazing! I`d love to go there and see the whole distillery and all their processes (not to mention tasting the rums) for myself and one day I hope will be able to do that.

How the rum is produced

Foursquare decanting cask

Not gonna go so deeply into fermentation and distillation processes because then this post would become a book….but here´s a short description on how the rum is produced at Foursquare Distillery:

As is worldwide known, the distillery produces many notable rums including ESA Field, Doorly’s, Old Brigand, Tommy Bahama and the Foursquare Spiced Rum. This rum has won medals at top Wine and Spirits competitions in the USA and Europe and has also been rated as the best-tasting flavoured rum in the world by the prestigious Beverage Tasting Institute Inc.of Chicago.

ESA Field and Old Brigand dominate the domestic market and the distillery submitted 12 different rums to the International Wine & Spirits competition in London in 2010 and returned with 12 medals including three Best in Class.

The Foursquare site itself has a long history in sugar, rum and molasses for over 350 years. To the north of the estate is the old‘ still house’, a building with a designation by the National Trust as a property of Historical and Architectural Interest. It is possibly the oldest building in Barbados we can safely identify as a home to rumproduction in the 17 th century.

Besides the distillery, which is housed in the renovated buildings of the old factory, the property has high historical, educational and architectural values: the sugar machinery museum, where you can see the open – air display of original machinery from the old sugar factory.

Then we have the restored 19 th century sugar factory furnace and the folk museum, where you can visit the fascinating showcase of the island’s heritage in a 17 th century plantation house; the distill house, the oldest building known on the island to produce rum in the past; the old time bottling plant and even a glass fusing studio, where you can see an Italian glass-blowing expert work in her studio. (!)

The distillery as it exists today was commissioned in 1996 by Green Engineering, which was chosen as main contractor of the process design and construction of the production facilities.The factory, R.L.Seale, rum blenders since 1909, at that time decided to stop the purchasing of rum from the other distilleries of the island and to produce themselves the spirit upon which their success as blenders was based.

The operation appeared quite difficult and the old distillers and blenders that would have judged the final product were of course quite sceptical about the new technologies introduced by Green Engineering.

Moreover,the spirit produced would have to be incorporated into the ’innersecrets’ of the established rum recipes without affecting the expectations of the consumers for whom the quality and the flavour, despite the new technologies, should have remained the same (or, better, improved). The goal of joining tradition and modern technology, old recipes and fine spirit quality was successfully achieved.

Foursquare stills collage

The copper pot still (on the left) and the continous stills.

Foursquare controls the entire production cycle: from the selection of the highest quality molasses to the fermentation and distillation,up to the final blending.For a very high quality rum production R.L.Seale has installed a fresh juice extraction line from cane molasses.

Total fermentation time at Foursquare is about 44 hours.This is slower than typical molasses fermentation and leads to better control.The yield is of more than 360 litres of pure alcohol per ton of molasses at 60% of fermentable sugar.
The yeast is imported from South Africa and was selected for the flavour profile of the rum that is produced.

Since fermentation is of critical importance to the realisation of a superior quality rum, R.L.Seale and Green Engineering have a continuous research programme to assure that the best thermo dynamic conditions and the best organic nutrients are used during this stage. In particular, since 2010 a new fully organic recipe has been developed for the yeast, following the idea that organic nutrients have an unmatchable assimilation grade if compared with standard chemical nutrients.

At Foursquare each of the rums is made using a blend of rums from both column and pot distillation methods. The pot still gives the rum greater complexity and depth of flavour.The column still allows the final blend to have a much better balanced aroma and taste.

From the still, the freshly distilled rum is moved to cask. Rum is traditionally matured in barrels from Kentucky made of American white oak that have been formerly used to mature bourbon.This is a synergistic relationship with the Kentucky distillers as Bourbon need new oak while rum is best matured in wood that has a degree of seasoning. Most rum from Foursquare is aged in this way.

However, some of the signature blends coming from the distillery have also been matured in sherry casks of Spanish oak, Madeira casks of American oak and Brandy casks of French oak. Due to the climate in the Caribbean, the rate of maturation is much faster than in Northern climates (tropical ageing) and rum, after five years, will have the same maturity as a spirit aged in Europe for about 10–12 years.

The warm climate in Barbados in particular is ideal for making rum–the humidity moderate and most importantly the temperature is very stable all year long.

Doorly`s XO

Doorly`s XO

The rum in my hands, Doorly`s XO (40% ABV) is a blend of rums that has been aged probably somewhere between 6-10 years (no age statement on the bottle) in American oak barrels and finished in Oloroso sherry casks.

On the label it says:

“From the house of Martin Doorly, has emerged a rum without equal. To produce the unique character of Doorly’s X.O., some of the oldest rums are carefully selected for a special second maturation.

The second maturation is carried out with the oak already seasoned in the aging of the Spanish Oloroso Sherry. The result is a delicate fusing of complex flavours giving rise to a rum of unparalleled excellence.”

The bottle has that old Caribbean feel to it and I like the label with the blue macaw parrot which gives it a tropical and colorful look, something i appreciate! but even though a nice presentation is important and a thing of pleasure and appeal it´s the content in the bottle that really matters…

And let me tell you – the content in this bottle is a joy to behold and imbibe…

Color and nose: The color of the rum is a lively rich amber and the nose is fruity with prunes, toffee, apricot, banana and orange peel. I get whiffs of tropical fruit…it`s a pleasant exquisite nose – I can sit and just smell this nose again and again. I didn`t take this time to do this before and I`m happy I did now.

In the mouth: Vibrant…..vibrant and fruity. Caramel and tropical fruit mingles together with hints of orange and apricot marmalade, dried dates, golden raisin and just a dust of wood…it´s balanced and refined, elegant with hints of spicy oakiness.

Final thoughts: You get a lot of very good rum for the money! it´s a great sipper but also a great mixer so it´s versatile, a great all-round rum of excellent quality. If you buy a bottle of this you won`t be sorry 🙂 and oh….it makes a very tasty classic Daiquiri and equally tasty Mai Tai!

But here´s another drink with it, something i mixed up with pineapple, coconut and spice in mind, threw in a little Coconaut, a dash of Painkiller, a hint of coffee and a squeeze of lime:

Coconaut Punch

Coconaut Punch

1.0 oz Coconut Cream
0.5 oz Lime Juice
1.0 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
Just a squeeze fresh orange juice
0.25 oz coffee liqueur
Dash angostura bitters
2.0 oz Doorly`s XO
Grated nutmeg and cinnamon on top

Shake with ice and strain into a tall glass filled with ice cubes and garnish with 2 orange wedges and a short cinnamon stick.

A mild slightly spicy summer tiki cocktail to enjoy in the sunset….everything i do isn`t overproof…. 🙂

Next drink is also a tiki cocktail, it´s a twist of the “Tribute to The Mai-Kai’s Hidden Pearl” by The Atomic Grog.

Dark Pearl

Dark Pearl

0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz passion fruit syrup (lilikoi)
1.0 oz guava juice
0.5 oz rich honey-mix (2:1 ratio of honey and water, mixed and chilled)
2 oz Doorly`s XO
3-4 dashes angostura bitters

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a fancy glass and garnish with tropical orchids and mint. Dash the angostura bitters on top.


Foursquare small logo

2 Replies to “Doorly`s XO – A Wonderful Classic Rum from Barbados!”

  1. Tiare, Beachbum Berry has been singing the praises of Doorly’s XO for years, and it’s always within easy reach in my bar. I’m glad it finally made its way to your shores. Both of these cocktails look delicious. I’ll be mixing them up soon. And Mahalo for the shout-out!

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