Thursday, 17 September 2015

Review 57 - Compagnie des Indes Barbados 16 year old Cask Strength (bottled for Denmark)

Photo copyright © H.Kristoffersen
Best Foursquare rum ever. Period.

Following up on the good entry level Caraïbes, I reviewed recently, I have chosen to examine another of the products from Compagnie des Indes.

Where the Caraïbes was an entry level product, this is something very, very different.
First of all this is a single cask rum. Second, it is bottled at cask strength. Third, it is a single domaine rum. And fourth, it's super limited and only released in Denmark (Sorry, World).

It comes from the legendary Foursquare distillery, and has been slumbering for 16 years before Mr. Beuchet decided to bottle it at a massive 60% ABV.

Being a 16 year old is quite extraordinary for a Foursquare rum, as Foursquare themselves doesn't even issue rums this old. The closest commercially available products would be something like the St. Nicholas Abbey 15 year old, which costs almost twice as much and only at "living room" strength.

Unlike the Caraïbes, this one is a pure, unaltered piece of art. No sugar, no nonsense. Just pure rum. And at cask strength mind you. A small amount of filtering is the only tinkering applied.

Unfortunately for the vast majority of my readers, this bottle is only available in Denmark. Or was. Fellow rummie Mads Heitmann of posted a sterling review of this rum a while back, which resulted in a rush on the Danish spirits dealers, emptying the store shelves very fast.

These days you are more than lucky if you find a local store which still has this tiny marvel in stock.

Adding insult to injury, only 250 bottles were made.

Luckily, it wasn't the only "bottled for Denmark" rum released. It was an entire lineup, consisting of this 16 y.o. Foursquare, a 14 y.o. Hampden, a 21 y.o. Uitvlugt, a 18 y.o. Caroni and an 11 y.o. Panamanian from an undisclosed distillery. I have never been more grateful for being Danish (well, that might be a half-truth, but you know...). Regrettably, my wallet was nowhere near large enough to get them all at once, but I hope to get a couple of them down the road.

Like the Caraïbes, this one comes in a similar turquoise cardboard box. Same materiale and almost same layout. Where the Caraïbes had no indication of what is inside, the box for the Foursquare states that we are talking about a 16 year old Bajan, and that we are talking single cask.

The bottle is the exact same type. A stubby, dark green thing with a slightly widened neck.
The label is one of the best I have ever seen.
It consists of two parts. A part with black background detailing the vision of CdI as far as my French goes. Not much to write home about here.

But the orange part is something else. It contains every single interesting detail about the rum inside. Date of distillation, date of bottling, origin, age, distillery, barrel mark, number of bottles made, the proof and finally the fact that it is single cask. Awesome stuff.

Inside the bottle I found a nice amber liquid. And when manipulated in the glass, it made heavy curtains on the glass and some very lazy droplets.

Super intense and very rich nose with tonnes of ripe bananas and roasted almonds.
But also a lot of grassy undertones reminding me of old agricole rhums.

It has a soft touch of vanilla, carefully packaged in an oaken veil.

After it had a chance to breathe a little, I got a marzipan or glue like scent like the one found in the Velier Uitvlugt 1997.

Suddenly it hit me how soft this rum was and I couldn’t really believe my nose. Sure it packs a punch, but it is more like a gigantic velvet cushion in a pillow fight, than a sledgehammer to the face.

Adding a little water brings out the sweeter sides of the elements mentioned above, but nothing new under the sun.

Very impressive and beautiful nose.

Wauw … just wauw!

It starts out with a very creamy and buttery profile, with an abundance of ripe bananas with caramel sauce. Even a little banana peel peaked in.

Then I was treated with a super concentrated, but still velvety soft, layer of oak and vanilla, with roasted almonds just beneath that.

On the back end I found a dash of cinnamon.

Everything comes together so beautifully that I have trouble believing my own taste buds. No quirkiness, no off notes, no sharpness, no attempt to strangle me and not even a little left to be desired.

With a little water added, the similarities with the old agricoles from the nose, becomes very clear. The grassy undertones comes forward a bit and brings a little raw liquorice.

Absolutely stunning. Not much else to be said. Just beautiful.

Somewhat short and heated, but not as long as I would have anticipated from a rum of this strength.

The finish and the fade is made up from more of same stuff.
More bananas, more caramel and a little oak.

Nice little tingling on the tongue remains for a long time.

With a little water the finish smoothes out a bit, and the heat is turned down a couple of degrees.

Rating and final thoughts
This tastes very much like a Foursquare rum – although seriously intensified by the high strength.
One of the things I liked the most, was how the high strength countered the typical buttery feel, which I normally doesn't appreciate too much. But at this strength, the butter didn't stick to my mouth, which just made it another layer of flavour.

Furthermore everything comes together in a symbiotic relationship that I don’t think I have seen before in a rum.

It is not overly complex and nor would I expect such a property from a Bajan rum. Usually they are light and easy-going, but very tasty and addictive at the same time.

I was actually surprised how few words I needed to describe it. But everything was so obvious and simple, that there was nothing more to write. You might actually claim, that it left me somewhat speechless.

The value for money is great. It cost me the equivalent of €120 and at this price, it is a very good buy. Yes, I know there is a boat load of other rums cheaper than this. I know that you can probably buy 3 bottles of R.L. Seale’s 10 year old and/or Mount Gay XO for this kind of money. But you shouldn’t. You should buy this one!

Everything just works together so well. The scents, the flavours, the exit. The nose, the palate and the finish. Everything. I think I have fallen in love.

This is one of the best rums I have ever had. Period. This one easily holds its own against any of the Veliers I usually speak so highly of. It even eclipses some of them.

And because it is so awesomely tailored, easy going and demands absolutely nothing from you except for love, I have to surrender and award it with a very high score.

Rating: 90/100

There is a 45% version of this rum available, which isn’t limited to the Danish market. I haven’t tasted it, so I can’t really say anything about how it compares to the 60% version. But I probably would take the chance anyway. It is a pure 16 year old rum from Foursquare. What can possibly go wrong?


1 comment:

  1. Glad to see your review on CDI Barbados 16y. I just ordered it from Denmark, but 1998 is not available anymore. Tried 1999, hope it will be at least that good.