Foursquare Triptych Single Blended Rum

I`m not sure if I have seen so much anticipation regarding a rum in a while and with that of course you build up high expectations. Knowing the rum is from Foursquare in collaboration with Velier you expect it to be a quality product and with that I mean quality in the real sense (free from additives, tasty and well made).

It`s also something with this type of bottle that Velier (and now Foursquare) is using, this black and oh so very RUM-like bottle that I think many of us Velier fans have got to really love and associate with simply very good rum. It`s like it has some sort of magic that just simply wants you to own it, maybe it`s  because you know the rum in them traditionally very often is exceptional.

So of course I had high expectations too of this rum with the intriguing name Triptych and couldn´t wait to try it. And when I did BOOM! … all I can say is – this is a very good rum….exactly what my palette loves and wants when it comes to rum.

It has an edge to it, it´s very flavorful, multilayered, complex and strong (just the way I like it) it comes at 56% ABV. The rum is very well made, and it´s well…rum…pure rum. Both Velier (who is a private bottler) and Foursquare (distillery) has established a solid reputation of producing consistently good products that are not doctored, sugared or full of additives. They don`t need to, because they come up with well made products in the first place and see to quality before quantity.

So what does the word triptych mean you might ask? I`m not an english speaker by birth so i had no idea when the rum first was talked about so some googling was in order and the word means this –

Triptych – pronounced -ˈtrɪptɪk

A picture or relief carving on three panels, typically hinged together vertically and used as an altarpiece.

A set of three associated artistic, literary, or musical works intended to be appreciated together.

To find out a little bit more about what inspired this rum, it`s name and how it was made I asked Richard Seale and it`s a blend of three rums from three different styles of cask that inspired the name Triptych.

“The 2004 is aged in ex-bourbon and is the classic Foursquare rum.

The 2005 is aged in ex-madeira. I like to use ex-madeiras. Madeira has a historic link with Barbados. It was an important stop in the Atlantic en route from England and being Portuguese was a friendly port for the English. In the 17th and 18th centuries, a lot of madeira was brought and consumed in the Island. The barrels were almost certainly used for rum.

The 2007 is primarily pot stilled rum aged in virgin American oak.

The three rums brought a nice balance together. The 2004 is essential to give the modern recognisable Foursquare style, while the 2005 is to bring a more historic profile to the rum. The use of ex-bourbons probably only dates to the 1940s. The 2007, pot still in virgin oak is also a more historic style and obviously brings the heaviest rum flavours to the blend.

The rum has been well received. Serge Valentin gave it 5 stars (90 points) and International Spirit Challenge (ISC), London gave it the Rum Trophy.

Try the nose in a wide rimmed glass for best effect.”

The bottle and the label

And then the bottle and the label, in true Velier style, are really clever and beautiful in their simplistic style that`s being used by Velier for so long and this particular Triptych bottle, along with the equally anticipated Foursquare 2006 happens to look very much like the two “holy grails” of rum, the Skeldon 73 and 78.

Same style and colors, and this style of bottle and the type of labels has with time achieved a cult status among rum enthusiasts and has become a sign of high class and standard which no fancy so called “premium” rum bottles will ever even get close to.

But despite the cool bottles…here it is NOT the bottle or label that sells the rum…it`s the content in the bottle – and the fact that consumers who are aware knows that the rum in these bottles are good stuff that are not doctored in any way.

The Triptych is a limited edition full proof rum (for rum connoisseurs mostly) and I´d say if you really are into rum and can get it, then go get it. And if you say “I don`t like rum” you have just not yet tasted the real one and should try to get to taste rums like this. Keep an eye open for more fine rums from the Foursquare Distillery (and/with Velier) because when these limited edition rums come out they go as fast as they came.

Unfortunately also partly because some buys up several bottles and put them out on EBay to skyrocketing prices, shame on them! that`s what happened to the Foursquare 2006 which many true and serious rum enthusiasts never got a chance to get their hands on or even try . But the price range of Foursquare rums in general is very consumer friendly, it doesn´t cost and arm and a leg to buy a bottle and you still get a well made pure rum.

I really like that Foursquare are now starting to produce some high proof rums with big flavors and what I have tasted so far is really really promising.

So here are my taste notes of the Triptych:

In the nose: Intense, with mashed well matured tropical fruits, apricots and peaches, dark plums and cherries. Light wood and pencil shavings, hints (slight) of vanilla and cocoa. It`s a very inviting nose for sure.

The mouth: I find the taste to be fruity, round and full with light woody tones, cherry, apricot, a brief gentle caress of vanilla that is passing by…followed by orange peel, tropical fruits and oak and spice and all in a very balanced orchestra of intense flavors.

Aftertaste and finish: Medium long finish that does not overpower but let`s itself be known for a while.

Color: A beautiful deep and clear amber. Not as dark as you`d think by looking at the bottle.

Final thoughts: No adjusting time for this rum needed on my part, it was instant love! It`s robust and complex with a lot going on, more than I can find words for. It`s a well made product, they know what they are doing. And it`s definitely a so called “sipping rum” but that`does not mean that you cannot make good drinks with it…because good rum makes good drinks – but since it`s very precious and I most likely won`t find another bottle, I`d make very few drinks and here is one – it`s a Trader Vic`s Mai Tai (using Triptych as the only rum and the new Alamea Exotic Infusions Peach Brandy instead of orange curacao)  and the rest I will save for sipping.

Looking forward to enjoy more rums of this caliber from Foursquare!

From Foursquare to Diamond, Bellevue and Hampden – Four Great Pure Rums from Excellence Rhum!

I`m not gonna lie, I really really really like cask strength rums…and when I get samples like these four here it´s like Christmas for a little kid. These rums comes from four different distilleries – Hampden (Jamaica), Foursquare (Barbados), Bellevue (Guadeloupe) and Diamond (Guyana). They clock in from 54.6 to 62.8 % abv and none has any additives whatsoever, no sugar, color or anything else is added and neither are they cold filtrated, all in order to respect the rum in it´s natural state. You know you get pure rum.

Will they taste good? you bet they will!

But let´s first talk a little about where they are coming from and where you can purchase them. During the Paris Rhumfest, Excellence Rhum launched their own brand of rums and they are part of the Excellence Rhum Collection which every year will give out four different batch collection rums.

The E-shop ExcellenceRhum.com was created in 2013 by Alexander Beudet and there´s about 1800 references of rum from all over the world to choose from. They also offer personalized advice on the rums and delivery anywhere in France under 24 hours and all around the world under 96 hours and they offer rum samples so you can try before you buy the big bottle.

Now, which rums do we have here? short descriptions coming up – first up is the Guadeloupe/Bellevue – SFGB – 1998 – 18 Y – 59.9% 251 bottles, 70 cl . This is not an agricole rum/rhum agricole but a traditional rum that has been aged in bourbon casks for 19 years, both tropical and continental. The Bellevue au Moule Estate and Distillery on Guadeloupe dates back to the end of the 19th century and was established by a Mr Rimbaud from Martinique. Today the distillery is owned and run by Mr Hervé Damoiseau. The distillery is located on the Marie-Galante island and is the first distillery in the Caribbean to have committed to protecting the environment.

Nose and Color – Rich lovely nose of mature wood and tropical fruits. The nose has a fruity creamy character that is very pleasant. The color is medium mahogany.

Mouth – Pure pleasure…mild and dry, balanced and warming with hints of wood and spice, tropical fruits, pencil shavings, leather and raisin.

Finish – Long and woody.

Final thoughts – This is a full proof marvel of a rum! powerful, intense yet mild, and rich, it was love at first sip…

After that excellent rum from Guadeloupe we have Jamaica/Hampden – LROK – 2000 -16 Y – 54.6% abv, 195 numbered 70 cl bottles. Hampden Estate is a famous distillery for ester-rich flavorful fruity and funky rums coming from long fermentation using airborne yeasts and local molasses. The estate dates back to around 1753 when it was a sugar plantation operating now since more than 250 years.

Nose and Color – yellow amber, fruity nose – a whole boquet of complex tropical fruit notes and floral tones. 

Mouth – The taste is absolutely lovely with plenty of rich flavors of tropical fruit mash, spices and molasses.

Finish – Semi-log finish with pineapple and fruit notes lingering for a while.

Final thoughts – A very lovely rum with character behind those tropical fruits.

Next….Foursquare….needs no presentation really. Quality and pure rums coming out of that distillery on Barbados as we know. Located in the southern countryside of Barbados, on 8 acres of a former sugar plantation, is the magnificent Foursquare Rum Distillery and Heritage Park. It`s best known for its collection of spiced rums but it produces a wide range of rums including Doorly’s and Rum 66 and have lately produced a range of cask finish rums, (Exceptional Cask Selections) and some excellent rums in collaboration with the House of Velier, which are wildly popular among rum enthusiasts. I can only see a growing market for cask-strength Foursquare rums since the number of rum enthusiasts who wish to have cask or full proof/strength rums is steadily growing and you can count me in that number. 

This sample is Foursquare – MBFS – 2006 – 11 Y, 62.8 % abv, 210 numbered 70 cl bottles. Distilled from column and pot still this would according to the Gargano Classification (which I will write about on this website later) be called Single Blended – Blend of traditional column and batch/pot still (from a single distillery)

Nose and Color – Almost the same color as the Hampden, yellow amber. On the nose, apricot and banana peel, slightly woody and sweet, the nose is complex like a fine tuned orchestra.

Mouth – Round and fruity with a bit of wood and spice. There´s a very pleasant aftertaste that hits you a little while after the first sip and some aeriation.

Finish – Semi long lingering fruity finish.

Final thoughts – This is a very flavorful balanced rum in a refined elegant way, yet not lacking depth and character and posesses a lot of complexity and aroma. 

The last one is a Diamond from Guyana made by the legendary DDL distillery. Guyana/Diamond – MPM – 2005 – 11 Y – 60.1%. 247 numbered 70 cl bottles. The DDL is where all Demerara rum comes from today, once upon a time (around the 1700s) there were more than 300 sugar estates in Guyana producing their own rums…

During the early 20th century all the stills were merged and they ended up finally at the Diamond Estate (which is attached to the now closed Diamond Sugar Estate) and owned by the DDL – Demerara Distillers Limited. They now are the last remaining estate on the east bank of the Demerara river. The rums from Guyana are very special indeed and this one here is no exception.

Nose and Color – Light straw colored with a dry woody nose at first, which gives way for sweeter notes of sugarcane and fine notes of tropical fruits. there´s also subtle hints of butterscotch and candy (!)

Mouth – Intense, woody, fruity and dry. Very aromatic with notes of pineapple, fruits and a hint of licorice and a sort of dryish finish which I find very pleasant.

Finish – Long, dry and fruity.

Final thoughts – I really like the woody dryness of this rum paired with the tropical fruit notes, it´s very aromatic.

Overall: All four of these rums are equally good but different in character and it´s just personal taste that will determine which one or ones you`d buy the big bottle of. Therefore I think it´s a good thing that Excellence Rhum also have samples for purchase so you can taste and try before you buy because they ain`t cheap. But you will definitely get unadultered quality rum for your money and a very pleasant taste experience.

I would not use any of these in my tiki drinks or cocktails because they are such fine tuned orchestras of exquisite flavors that would be lost together with juices and stuff, plus they are expensive, so sip and savor these marvels. So which one(s) will I buy? well, a woman must have the right to keep some secrets right? 🙂 all I will say is that they are all excellent rums!

 

UK RRRUMFEST!! Let it flow…

Let it flow, let it flow, let it flow! and flowed it did…rum here, rum there, rum everywhere – the UK Rumfest & Cane Spirits Festival is heaven for rum lovers and it shows people that rum is more than a spirit – it´s a lifestyle with a whole culture surrounding it.

The UK RumFest brings together the industry’s plethora of blenders, distillers, bartenders and mixologists, writers, bloggers, brand ambassadors, rum enthusiasts – all joining in to celebrate all things rum.

Here you get a chance to try out both new and old, known and unknown rums and many cocktails , tiki drinks and rum punches of course, (oh the rum punches…) listen to sessions, dance with tropical dancers, taste caribbean food, watch bartender competitions – all to the rhythms of the caribbean and in the company of people who have that one thing in common – they all love rum!

The UK Rumfest 2011 took place from friday to sunday oct 14-16 at the Kensington’s Olympia in London with the friday reserved for the Boutique Rumfest (for the trade with tastings and sessions.) Saturday was the official Rumfest starting day and i don´t think i´ve seen a crazier crowd before when it comes to a room being packed with rum-lovers.

Also it was the London Cocktail Week starting the week before with 3 days left when i came into town:-)

But back to the friday and Boutique Rumfest. There was of course lots of rum to be tasted and since it was a calmer event we also got a much better chance to meet and talk to the producers about their products.

There´s an incredible amount of rums to be tasted, especially on the two official rumfest days, and i wasn´t able to taste it all i´m sure! i think there was over 400 different rums from well known brands like Zacapa, Foursquare, Bacardi, Havana Club, Appleton, Cockspur, Mount Gay, Chairman´s Reserve etc to smaller unknown brands like Les Coliniéres.

And apart from the big brands i got to try some of the to me unknown rums and other rums i`ve never tried before. Some of my favorites among those i´d not tried before are st Nicholas Abbey from Barbados, a top notch fantastic rum! (a review of their 12 yo will follow)

And Les Colinières – from Mauritius – naturally infused, so called “rum/rhum arrangé” in the islands of Mauritius and La Réuinion. Their coffee and passionfruit rums were just amazing! and would be perfect in tiki drinks. As far as i know their rums is not yet sold outside of Mauritius..

Also Rumfire was new to me. That is a Jamaican overproof white rum from the Hampden Estate which in Jamaica is known for its full, intensely flavorful pot still rums sold in bulk. Today`s Rumfire that now is released to the public is yesterday´s JB rum which was on the black market. The Rumfire is like a smoother version of JWray overproof, it has hints of that flavor but it`s not as upfront. A very interesting and tasty rum.

They made me a daiquiri with it and that was a nice daiquiri indeed, this rum mixes wonderfully. Also it won silver medal at the Ministry of Rum Tasting competition this year.

Interesting but a bit odd was the Madagascar rum Dzama, it was quite good i think but i couldn´t be friends with the aftertaste which is what i found to be odd…so i have mixed feelings about this rum. An exotic bird…i wouldn´t mind taste the rums again and take more time.

Also i finally got to try out Elements 8 Spiced, which i found to be quite tasty.

New for 2011 rumfest was the Tropical Food Market which was an entire area downstairs devoted to tropical food and delicacies – that´s where i got my freshly cut coconut! – with rum in it of course…There was also a shop entirely dedicated to muscovado sugar…

Also there was sessions and masterclasses and the one´s i got a chance to attend first was the “Don`t Fear the Blender” with Beachbum Berry and then the El Dorado.

DON´T FEAR THE BLENDER


I`m a friend of the blender, let me tell you that first.With the blender you get that aerated frothy thing you cannot really get with a shaker plus it does good things at the same time for you – it mixes, chills, dillutes, creates a froth)

The blender was first used in Havana in the Floridita, dating back to 1817 when it was first opened as “La Piña de Plata” – The Silver Pineapple in the place it still occupies, in the corner of Obispo and Monserrate streets. It got it´s name “El Florida” a 100 years later. The bartenders used to use 11 drinks shakers and you can just imagine the work…so when the blender appeared it was like a lifesaver and now it became easier to serve the never ending hords at Floridita. At the time the ice for the daiquiris was shaved.

Then Don the Beachcomber started to use the Hamilton Beach blender and more would follow.The blender aerates and dillutes some of the crushed ice just enough to “wake-up” the spirit. Some drinks requires just a quick flash blending while other wants 15-30 sek. In the Bum´s books the exact time for the blending is always written out.

This session was a real pleasure to attend and i wish it could be a weekendly habit…but alas…or if i could at least live neighbour with the Bum! i would go and borrow sugar…errr…rum…um…a tiki drink…

We got some tasty blended drinks too of course and here are the Bum`s recipes:

LEI

15 ml fresh lime juice

15 ml peach brandy

30 ml white rum

15 ml (0.5 oz) honey-mix

6 oz crushed ice

Blend for 20 sek, frappé

DEVIL´S ISLAND DAIQUIRI

22.5 ml fresh lime juice

60 ml Chairman´s Reserve Rum

22.5 ml honey butter mix

120 ml crushed ice (0.5 cup)

Let the blender go for a long time, 20 sek. Fine strain into a bitter-sugar rimmed glass, gently pressing the liquids.

BITTER-SUGAR

Mix 4 tbsp demerara sugar with Fee´s aromatic bitters (4 big dashes)

HONEY BUTTER MIX

Unsalted butter and honey in equal proportions, heated up to dissolve the honey and melt hte butter, leave to room temp before using it.

Also you can make a delicious honey-butter-cream by using sugar, butter, heavy cream and honey.

The butter-honey-mix or cream mix gives a silky mouth feel to the drink that unless you already know – will never know what it is…

We also got some other nice drinks to imbibe like the always so tasty Missionary´s Downfall.

EL DORADO


I don´t think i need to present what this rum is, if you don´t know already go read my earlier post and check their website.

The session was hosted by Dave Broom (author of Rum) and Stefanie Holt, (El Dorado Global Brand Ambassador)

They took us through a journey to the land of many rivers, Guyana where the demerara rum is made. An interesting thing i learnt was that when the sugarcane fields are burnt a side effect is that the sugar in the cane is dissolved in the water that evaporates and thus makes the sugar content more concentrated and sweeter. The yeast is put in a molasses solution to get happy and multiply.

Further they spoke about the different stills and since i`m a DDL still geek i always find that interesting. What DDL does is simply to put as much Guyana as possible into the rum..

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY – RUMFEST!!


So saturday and sunday was the 2 days of Rumfest and these were 2 very intense days…rum tastings, cocktail and rum punches, tiki bartender of the year, sessions on rum, rum punch, rum, rum…and then the Golden Rum Barrel Awards.

This blog was one of four nominated “Rum Blog of the Year (Europe) and i`m very honored and wanna thank everyone who did vote for me. It didn´t make it all the way though..the prize was given to my good friends Peter and Pauline over at the Floating Rum Shack, who i think really deserved it! There was also four nominated blogs for the USA cathegory and the winner was Rumconnection.

All the awards you can read about at the bottom of this blog post.

Also there was the Tiki Bartender of the Year contest with the final on the sunday. There was 3 bartenders in the final and the winner was Mahiki`s head bartender Georgi.

What i particularly like about the Rumfest is that it is such a people thing, it´s relaxed and laid back with that caribbean feel spiced with quite a bit of tiki vibes, an environment i feel right at home in.

THE FOOD


Yes there´s food too! i did eat some real good Caribbean food at Ian`s restaurant Cotton´s – a place i really can recommend if you go to London! i had their famous Mixed Jerk Fish Grill – parrot fish, tilapia, snapper and tiger prawns served with fried plantain and rice & peas and it was lovely! Washed down with cold Carib and Blue Marlin beers.

 

Also the awards dinner was an amazing experience – the Caribbean style dinner with the Butterscotch Pumpkin Soup with Goat Cheese and Spiced Pumpkin Seeds was really tasty.

And then came the Coconut Crumbled Chicken with Sweet Potato mash and Sauteed Spinach…finished off with a Rum drenched fruit dessert, coffee and plain dark chocolate…hmmmm…

AND DRINKS…

Three bars in London i would recommend are Trailer Happiness, Montgomery Place and Callooh Callay – you can´t go wrong with any of them and if you go Trailer you`ll most likely see Damien fire up the roof.

To finish it off here´s a whole parade of various pictures to drool over and enjoy…:-)

Amazing Queens Park swizzle at the Montgomery Place


Something beautiful and tasty from Trailer Happiness…

The Zombie at Trailer Happiness.

And their fire show…putting the overproof rum soaked copper roof on fire…displaying all kinda colors, awesome!

It`s caribbean carnival at the UK Rumfest!

 

Cockspur Rum Punch

Foursquare got 3 awards…


Three charming rum smiles in the Plantation stand..if you go to Trailer Happiness they´ll make tasty drinks for ya!

Three happy rum people…(Stanislav Vadrna, Yours truly (Tiare) and Carl Kanto (chemist, distiller, El Dorado) i love this about events like this – the friends you meet both new and old.


I haven`t yet been able to figure out this nifty outfit….was it somebody´s outfit for the Golden Rum Barrel Awards? ( i think heard something…)

Les Colinières – rum arrangé from Mauritius

We could get fresh cut coconuts too…with rum in it!

St Nicholas Abbey from Barbados

Elements 8 Spiced

Black Tot Last Consignment sold by the Whiskey Exchange


 

In the Rum Frat House – it´s like the Mixohouse in New Orleans but with rum lovers.

Rum Punch with Kraken Black Spiced

Dzama from Madagascar

God for Tiki drinks..


 

No Rumfest without Ting…and with Banks Five Island it`s wonderful.

 

Like a lighter and smoother version (flavorwise) of the JWray overproof…but don`t let that deceive you – this rum is strong.


And here`s the original JWray and Ting! which was my corps reviver on the sunday…backed up with chocolate muffins.

Don Q Rum – good for a lot of things

Ian Burrell – the one and only – Global Rum Ambassador and founder of the UK Rumfest.


THE GOLDEN RUM BARREL OF THE YEAR 2011 WINNERS

Rum Distillery of the Year 2011

The Foursquare Distillery, Barbados

Rum Distiller of the Year 2011

Richard Seale (Four Square, Barbados)

Rum Blender of the Year 2011

Tito Cordero (Venezuela: Diplomatico)

Rum Blogger of the Year (Europe) 2011

The Floating Rum shack

Rum Blogger of the Year (The America’s) 2011

RumConnection.com

Rum Ambassador of the Year (UK) 2011 sponsored by Bar Life UK

Meimi Sanchez (Havana Club)

Rum Ambassador of the Year (International) 2011 sponsored by Drink International

David Cordoba (Bacardi Rum)
Jim Wrigley (Ron St.Teresa)

Best New Rum (Gold) 2011 sponsored by Coco Re’al

Abuelo Centuria, Panama

Best New Rum (White) 2011 sponsored by Coco Re’al

Banks 5 Island, Several Countries

Best New Rum Package 2011

Bacardi 1909

Boutique RumFest Award 2011 sponsored by Imbibe Magazine

Doorly’s XO Rum, Barbados

The Rum Experience Rum Pioneers Award

Joy Spence from Appleton Jamaica rum. The first female Rum master blender.
Ed Hamilton from the Ministry of rum. Founder of the pioneering web page and rum forum.

And last…

I wanna raise a toast of El Dorado 15 Year Old rum for George Robinson, the head man at the Diamond Distillery in Guyana who passed away just a little while before the UK Rumfest. A toast was also held at the Golden Rum Barrel Awards.

Can you have too much rum?

Sugarcane bar

 

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