Foursquare 2004 vs 2005, Fred Minnick’s Top Rum of 2018

I’m completely #RumCurious thanks to Fred Minnick.  It will never take over Bourbon for me, but it’s great in its own right and worth adding to the cabinet. I loved Foursquare 2004 and I’m hoping the 2005 is as good because I’m down to my last inch of the 2004 bottle. 2005 looks darker.

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2004 nose is distinctly rum with spicy notes intertwined, pinapple, rose petal, vanilla and caramel.

2005 also is clearly rum with the coconut and molasses notes strong but there is a second wave that had bourbon butterscotch aromas clearly obtained from the cask. Amazing how it doesn’t feel hot even though 59% abv.

2005 The mouthfeel is delightful, focused on the tip of the tongue with rough sweetness and followed through down the middle just kissing the side of the mouth with a juiciness of tropical flavor. The finish is at least two minutes and never drops off. Very good.

2004 mouthfeel coats the whole mouth with significant time spent on the roof with more earthy focus rather than tropical. This may be because this bottle has been open for more than six months though. Like the 2005 this finish is long, but just under two minutes.

With a year that so many followups have not been as good as the year before, this is a pleasant surprise. The 2005 equals and maybe surpasses the 2004 just a little bit. 95.5/100.  Thank you Foursquare!

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My 2018 Top 5 Best Available Bottle under $100 or how best to say “no I can’t get you any Pappy at retail”

OK… so I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets this question all the time from friends, family, co-workers, etc…. Usually it starts out like “hey, can you get me some Pappy?”… yes I can, you want a ORVW for $450-$500?  “Oh, I though you had the hookup, can you get it for me at retail?”  No… I can’t get it for myself at retail… then eventually we just arrive at the Seinfeldian response of “well, why don’t you just tell me what you want to pay…”  So, here is my list of the best bottles that are available and can be purchased for under $100 in 2018… I changed some of them from 2017’s list for some reasons including eliminating certain bottles like ETL, RHF, BTAC, Stagg Jr, etc because the MSRP just rarely is the price you see in stores, at least in the Tri-State area…  These are in no particular order.  I also realize every is going to have a different list here, and please add anything you think should be on here in comments!  Happy New Year everyone!!

Buffalo Trace… yes, the original one that retails for $30.  It’s the same mashbill that goes into bottles that are 1k’s of dollars in secondary, same distillery.  Whether it’s straight or in a cocktail, it’s lovely.  Always make sure you have at least one of them on your bar at all times.

Barrell Bourbon Batches… I’ve never had a batch I didn’t like.  I’ve had some that I’d LOVED.  The only one that was impossible to find was Batch 011, because it won best Bourbon of the Year from San Francisco Wine & Spirits.  At least one batch is usually available at my local store, it looks great, a perfect gift and a wonderful drinker.  You will not be disappointed.

Foursquare 2004 or 2005… cask strength, usually $60-$90, and yes, it’s a Rum!  Aged in Bourbon barrels and others, non-chill filtered, so much flavor.  These guys are the real deal.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof… I almost didn’t put this on the list, but it seems like this is more frequent this year and I usually see it on the shelf.  I’ve never had a bad one, and I’ve had quite a few good ones.  I prefer the old bottle design, but if they are making more of them with the new bottle, I’m OK with that.  Last year I had Old Weller Antique on the list, but given I can never find it anymore without texting my local liquor store owner ahead of time, I’m bumping them for ECBP due to 2018’s availability.  Should be around $60-$70.

Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Bourbon… didn’t make the cut last year, just squeezed in this year and at $65, a solid member of the list.  I find that the first crack is just ok, but if you leave it open for a few months it gets a lot better… if I were to re-rate it, I’d say it’s a solid 92.  Worth having on your home bar.

You don’t need to buy Pappy or BTAC to make the people on your list happy!  Anything on this list will show you know your whiskey and you care about making your friends and family happy.  Happy New Year!

Another Foursquare Rum, but this one is a miss…

I love Foursquare, just read my review I posted recently:  https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/foursquare-rum-distillery-2004-exceptional-cask-selection/

However… I just don’t like this bottle at all. It’s a little too sickly sweet, too much port. If you like port finishes you might like it. If you love MWND, maybe you will find this ok, but as you can tell from other reviews I’ve written about poorly aged port cask finishes, this just doesn’t work for me.

It’s aged three years in ex-bourbon casks then six more in port barrels. The other major concern is being bottled at 40% abv removes any sense of mouthfeel or complexity. I actually didn’t realize the proof when I bought it as all of the other Foursquare Rums I have purchased before are Cask strength. I’m confident that this does not belong in the Exceptional Cask Selection, as the others I have had are awesome.

Foursquare is for sipping neat, but this bottle is for mixers. 79/100.

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Other bad port cask finishes:

https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2015/10/31/high-wests-tragic-whiskey-a-midwinter-nights-dram/

https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2017/11/23/quick-angels-envy-cask-strength-2015-review-strong-pass/

Foursquare Rum Distillery 2004 Exceptional Cask Selection

This is one of those finds that I credit to Fred Minnick.  I had my store in NYC specially order it for me (thank you http://www.MorrellWine.com).  This is the Exceptional Cask Selection Mark III Single Blended Rum aged 11 years in ex-Bourbon casks, distilled in 2004, released in 2015.  It’s full proof, 59%.

Dried apricot color in the glass.  Notes on the nose are pineapple, rose petal, dried cherries, candy corn, dried apricots, caramel, vanilla, molasses and coconut shavings.  Lots going on there.

For 59% alcohol, this is an incredibly easy rum to sip, yet still enjoyable warmth on the chest.  The mouthfeel is wonderful with both tannins and oils surrounding the mouth.  So much flavor too with caramel and tropical fruits coming in wave after wave.  The finish on this is extremely long, more than two minutes.

Although the 2006 Foursquare is a better rum, it’s impossible to find and insanely expensive.  For the price, you can’t do any better than this one.  The MSRP is around $70, and if you can grab it, grab two or three. 95/100