Foursquare ECS 1-20 Uber Blend Review
Updated: Jan 8
The brainchild of Kevin Brooks, this sits plumb in the middle of madness, genius and heresy!
As the name describes, Kevin's project was to create a 'new' 700ml Exceptional Cask Series (ECS) bottle consisting 35ml each of the first 20 Foursquare ECS releases (*only change was 1998 Paulsen instead of the 1998 ECS bottling - same juice so no impact on the blend)
Foursquare ECS needs little introduction. A series of incredible, limited release rums from Foursquare distillery in Barbados. These have been steadily released over the past few years to considerable acclaim and and numerous awards - including the first rum ever to win Supreme Champion award at the International Spirits Challenge!
I have reviewed over half of the ECS range, linked here:
Isonomy - oldest release to date (here)
Sovereignty & Empery - Sherry Cask heaven (here)
Indelible & Zinfandel - the Zin sisters (here)
Détente & Port Cask - Port brothers, reviewed on site at Foursquare (here)
2009 - reviewed in Barbados (here)
2005, Nobiliary & Shibboleth - or 2005 vs 2005 vs 2005 (here)
Plus the distillery tour (here) and operating instructions (here).
Kevin has kindly provided me with a sample of this mad concoction to review, so here we go.
25ml of the unique single blended (and blended and blended) rum, left to breath for 20 mins, nosed first then tasted. Assisted today by some fitting nostalgia - Matchbox Twenty - do you see what I did there ;-)
Foursquare ECS 1-20 Uber Blend, 54%, 1 bottle :-)
5% of each ECS release to date. 9 pure bourbon aged, 3 sherry, 3 madeira, 2 port, 2 zinfandel & 1 cognac. Sounds like we need another cognac aged ECS soon ;-)
Tasted today alongside Empery, Redoubtable, Détente, 2005 and Indelible - to see if I can pick any of the individual barrel influence from this blend of all blends.
Nose: A symphony! I was expecting a mess but it's enticing and actually works. At first, to my massive surprise, I got Zinfandel, and then a lot of Madeira. I was expecting the sherry to dominate but it's hiding from me. The sweeter 'higher' notes are coming to play first. Lets see what another 10 mins does... [10 mins passes]... as if by request the blend seems to have settled and I'm definitely getting deeper, dark fruit, sherry flavours. A really fun and also very tasty nose.
Port vibes pop up every now and then, but overall the most dominant flavour on the nose is Madeira. Interestingly I feel the blend is more aromatic than any of the individual bottles I'm tasting against!
Mouth: Taste-wise I'm less convinced of the success here. We start with Madeira, finish with port and a lingering Zin at the death, but there seems very slight gap in the mid-taste profile (weirdly). The big, deep, moreish mouth feel I get from the likes of Empery and Nobiliary is underrepresented. We have a little of the tasty sharpness of Zin & Maderia, and good dose of plummy Port but not enough sherry and bourbon depth.
One of the beautiful things about the ECS series as a whole (other than the incredible value) is the clean, quality taste that they all seem to scream. That's a little challenged here. It makes me want to put a toe or two in, but is not completely immersive. In terms of scoring this; it's fairly obviously Foursquare, and it's very decent (a quite incredible nose) but overall not challenging the ECS superstars (Empery, Criterion, Nobiliary, Isonomy). [86+pts]
Well that was fun. Thanks to Kevin for the crazy idea, and for the sample.