Foursquare LFT and Habitation Velier friends
Updated: Jan 7
LFT - Long Fermentation Type. A new, super unique, highly anticipated, likely unobtainable 2022 release from Foursquare (and Habitation Velier).
Unaged, long fermented, 100% pot stilled, higher ester rum - made from a combination of fresh cane juice and molasses. A significant step change from Foursquare's signature profile!
Today, I'm very excited to be tasting a sample of this, along with a couple of other unaged, pot stilled, Habitation Velier releases.
I maybe be tasting this alongside high ester Jamaican rums, but I want to be super clear that I'm not suggesting this is Jamaican style Foursquare! Or Agricole style for that matter.
It is - long fermented, 100% pot stilled, cane & molasses Bajan Foursquare - claiming anything else would be a nonsense.
In fact, LFT was originally to be labelled as 'High Ester Rum' but Richard Seale was so keen to emphasise that this isn't Jamaican style high ester rum, that he developed the acronym LFT (Long Fermentation Type).
It was not made with high ester levels as a goal, it was long fermented for a fuller, more powerful flavour. [For the rum nerds - the molasses element was fermented for 3 days, and the cane juice element was fermented, with naturally occurring yeast, for several weeks!]
So, my tasting today, three huge firsts!
The first bottling in history of the STCE mark.
The first bottling in history of the white <>H mark.
And, rather obviously, the first (and to date, only) LFT.
Nosed first, then tasted neat and finally in a 'ti punch - in increasing abv order. Assisted today by Ray Parker Jr. - why not :-)
Habitation Velier Foursquare LTF, 2021, 62%, c.600 bottles (TBC)
Pure pot still, rather than the usual pot & column blend from Foursquare.
Nose: Wowzer - she's sweet, and beautiful! Flashes of vanilla & buttery caramel alternate against splashes of varnish & petrol vapour. All against a very clean, fresh, floral, light cane/grass backdrop. Cane and molasses - yes! A little heady but overall the alcohol is not aggressive and feels well integrated. Not super challenging but it's so inviting my mouth is watering and I almost accidently took a sip (will nose all first and then return for that taste).
Mouth (neat): The freshness promised on the nose, is 110% delivered on the palette. I don't know why this is being pushed as a mixing rum, it's incredible neat.
Lovely level of spice - chilli, cinnamon and crushed red peppercorns. Salt. Cane sugar. Floral. Beautiful. Not as powerful or 'funky' as I had anticipated, but that's fine with me. Refined and beautiful - with an enticing naughty side.
A tiny bit thin on the mid palette, but a zesty sweet cane & caramel zing that lasts for nearly a whole minute. Can't wait to try this with some age!! [88+pts]
'ti Punch: Ok, I take it back. I now understand why this is discussed as a mixing rum - because it makes a bloody spanking 'ti punch. Right on the money for me. Yum yum :-)
Habitation Velier, Long Pond, STCE, 2018, 62.5%, 4446 bottles
Funky molasses based rum from Jamaica. 17 'barrels*' of pot stilled rum were bottled with a fairly high ester count of 674 gr/hlpa
*Velier say 17 barrels on their HV website, which seems odd for unaged rum - can anyone explain?
Nose: A lot drier, yet more fruit (albeit quite spicy fruit!). Makes me realise how sweet and creamy the nose of the LFT was.
This is nothing like as fresh on the nose.
A little peppery vinaigrette dressing. Car polish. Dry tasty minerality. A smidge of mustiness. Piquante spice. Some rotting cherries that linger in the nostrils beautifully.
Mouth (neat): A mouthful of sherbet covered rotten cherries, with splashes of acetone. And that dry taste of soda water.
A few gaps in the pallet and some very slight off notes (more off than the rotten fruit. Off that doesn't quite fit). Overall an enjoyable rum that I'd happily enjoy sipping a glass of. [83+pts]
'ti Punch: The lime lifts this rum - it develops another level of depth whilst maintaining the dry rotten cherry top notes. Very impressive. [I know I like this - I make STCE daiqs and 'ti punch on a regular basis :-) It works! ]
Habitation Velier, Hampden, <>H, 2018, 66%, 236 bottles
A (very limited) batch, pot stilled, bottled in October 2018 for Whisky Live Paris. Just 236 bottles of this rare gem were released.
<> H [diamond H] mark - with a punchy ester count of 960 gr/hlpa
I've wanted to try this for years - so a huge thanks to the knife wielding Icelandic for this sample :-)
Nose: Also a drier nose. This one with a huge depth, although I'm struggling to pick individual flavours. A sort of metallic ting in the nose. And very minerally. Like a chalky soda water. A tiny bit of old fruit - but almost as if it's gone beyond rotting to just being an old carcass of fruit. Old dried fruit scraps. Brut aftershave. Pimento olives. And dry perfumed schnapps. Can't decide if I like or not.
Mouth (neat): Disappointing light as first. I was expecting something wild. It's just 'pleasant', if a little sharp.
Some buttery biscuits. Lots of 2 day old, slightly fermenting, pineapple juice. Varnish. A 'bad' bitter note in the finish. I expected to love this, but it's disappointing. Wild Hampden it is not. [82pts]
'ti Punch: An ok 'ti punch. Don't get me wrong - I'm drinking it and I'm enjoying it, I'm just a little underwhelmed - given this is 66% Hampden <H> !! A step up from the neat spirit.
Maybe a bit harsh - it's a good 'ti punch ... just I was expecting great.
Conclusion - Literally the reverse of the order I expected to like these. A slightly disappointing Hampden. A stellar effort with the new Foursquare.
Tasty, unaged rums, get them open, it would be a travesty for these to gather dust in collector's display cabinets.
Please Santa, can I have an LFT for Christmas - I promise to open and share it :-)