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Why are Foursquare ECS rum rated so highly?


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Paul B avatar image
Paul B 🇺🇸 | 452 ratings Author Posted 15 Aug '21

The common denominator on the reveiws for Foursquare ECS rums is that none have added sugar or additives. For those who are faimiar with my reviews, you damn well know that I cannot stand bourbon notes, which most of these rums are guilty of having and I don't much care for except for Shibboleth, which is now my all time perfect rum.

So, I sorted out my spreadsheet by added sugar and then by country. Here are the results other than Barbados where Foursquare is made.

St. Lucia

Guyana

Panama

Haiti

Martinique

Louisiana

Jamaica

Barbados

Trinidad

Nicaragua

Puerto Rico

 And don't ask me about the order of my rankings for each place, which is much too complicated for my little brain. Hey, once honest, always honest!

 

OOPS!!! I F'd up and let Barbados be near the bottom of my list. Blame my ratings not seen.

kudzey avatar image
kudzey (PREMIUM) 🇵🇱 | 38 ratings Replied 17 Aug '21

Paul, I'm not sure what exactly your question was but the ECS might be rated high because people like these rums. This could also explain why some are willing to pay much to get some bottles. It's not a matter of statistics but preferences of the market 

Paul B avatar image
Paul B 🇺🇸 | 452 ratings Author Replied 17 Aug '21

kudzey:

What I was driving at is that there are so many other rum companies that have no added sugar or coloring, yet Foursquare ECS gets all the attention. My guess is that most of their fans are actually bourbon lovers, but my bourbon days are long over with. I have one backup bottle of Shibboleth, which does not fit the Foursquare ECS profile with bourbon notes. It is now my top ranked rum of all, even surpassing my long standing top two from Dictador. It took me great efforts to get this second bottle of Shibboleth, so I probably won't open it up until I find another bottle, if at all. If someone offered me a million dollars for this bottle, I would tell them to go take a hike. It is not for sale at any price. I just hope that this Shibboleth is the start of a new trend for Foursquare ECS by getting rid of the bourbon notes.

vomi1011 avatar image
vomi1011 🇩🇪 | 396 ratings Replied 17 Aug '21

Bourbon barrels are often used for rum. Maybe there are some bourbon flavors. I may have drank bourbon once in my life. I can't tell if I like it or not. I think most people rate Foursquare without realizing that it tastes like bourbon. They don't care about bourbon, it's just Foursquare for them.

You like Shibboleth and in the end you understood that Foursquare makes good rum. Just because there are some bourbon flavors in the other bottlings doesn't mean ECS releases are bad. It's the influence of the cask, other rums have that too.

There are other good rums. Chairmans can keep up with Foursquare and consistently delivers very good quality. But that doesn't mean that Foursquare is worse. Every ECS release is consistently good. I notice only a few differences in quality. And every bottling is reasonably priced. Doorlys, for example, also offers a lot of flavors for a small price.

Paul B avatar image
Paul B 🇺🇸 | 452 ratings Author Replied 17 Aug '21

vomi1011:

Shibboleth is just SO different from the rest of the Foursquare ECS profile that I would not doubt that Mr. Seale took some cues from JM Rhum of Martinique. Their secret is scraping the excess char from the ex-bourbon barrels before placing the rhum in them to age. This is the only way that I can think of aging a rum in Barbados for 16 years and then ending up with no bourbon notes.

And because of the Chairman's rums, St. Lucia has now replaced Columbia as my favorite rum producing country. Their spiced rum also has an added kick called bois bande that really works!

And if you want to see what a gluten free "bourbon" tastes like, try Clement 10 Year. That rhum has the most bourbon notes of any rum that I have tried and I challenge anyone to tell it apart in a blind taste test with a fine 12 year Kentucky Bourbon. Most of the Foursquare ECS rums are not nearly as bad with the bourbon notes, but I don't want ANY bourbon notes at all in my rums.

Jimmy Cliff avatar image
Jimmy Cliff (PREMIUM) 🇺🇸 | 404 ratings Replied 19 Aug '21

Paul I don’t drink too much bourbon, only when my daughter attended Ole Miss, it tends to make me a bit ornery as I am told, rum just makes me happy. Before Foursquare, 10 years or more ago I though Mt Gay extra Old was special but with definite depth of bourbon or whisky, along with Cruzan single barrel rum, both of which I will still drink today, I especially like the new triple cask Mt Gay. But I love the Foursquare rums, cask strength and nice depth, some of which are just too strong to drink neat 62 or higher. I am patiently waiting on my bottles of Shibboleth here in Florida from your glowing remarks, along with 2009. I actually like Detente as a less expensive less strong rum with lots of depth and island spices. Redoutable didn’t do much for me one bottle to drink one to save. Just my humble opinion.
Paul B avatar image
Paul B 🇺🇸 | 452 ratings Author Replied 19 Aug '21

Jimmy:

My bourbon days are LONG over with!!! The same goes for single malt scotch. Before I retired more than six years ago, I had to give up single malt scotch among other luxuries to guarantee that I could make it without ever having to work again.

And to make a very long story very short, I had kidney problems in my bourbon days and moved up to single malt scotch for improved flavors without knowing how much problems that spirits containing gluten caused.  I am not even allergic to gluten. I gradually moved back to my Caribbean days of rum for the variety of flavors and most of them being cheaper than what I had been drinking.  Over my rum drinking years, my kidneys greatly improved due to me switching to gluten free rum!!! When I told this to my kidney specialist, he was absolutely amazed.  I had stumbled upon something special!!!!

And now back to my discussion on very expensive rums. So much for saving money over single malts, since my most expensive rum was $231 plus tax for one bottle that tumbled down to my rating of 6. That was Diplomatico Ambassador. Don't waste your money on this heavily sherried "rum". Caroni 17 Year 110 proof was the next most expensive at $190 plus tax and it tumbled down to my rating of 7. This was my first taste of the "dirty notes" that I do not care for like our European friends do. I am now convinced that European tastes in rum are vastly different from tastes in the USA from us rum connossieurs in the USA. The Shibboleth is my third most expensive rum and I am proud to have a second bottle as a backup. It is now my top overall rum rated as a 10. Over the years, my price cap has moved up from $50 to $150.

On another note, is that your real name or does it happen to be the same as reggae legend Jimmy Cliff?  I have only been to Jamaica twice, which was twice too many because of all of the hustlers. I did get to see Jimmy Cliff perform live one.

Jimmy Cliff avatar image
Jimmy Cliff (PREMIUM) 🇺🇸 | 404 ratings Replied 19 Aug '21

Paul my name is Cliff, Jimmy is a nickname being Gemini the joke goes you don’t know who your going to get Cliff the more serious guy or Jimmy the life of the party. I’m still working at 62 two boys in college, I tend to drink many of the same rums, and switch it up every 4 months or so, been into Ron Abuelo again after recent fishing trip to Panama, especially 12, 2 Oaks, and Napoleon cognac finish, I also enjoy Don Pancho rums from Panama, and Ron Centenario from neighboring Costa Rica. I drink several Venezuelan rums, Bajan rums and I like other finished rums like Dos Maderos, and Exquisito, and anything from Guyana. Usually the $30-$50 unless celebrating. Toss in some things from St Lucia every now and then. My next purchase will be the JM 10 as recommended. When I heard about ECS at the start pandemic I went out and bought a $125 bottle of Empery that was quite hard to drink straight, needs a bit of water or small cube, ice balls water it down to quick, this started me collecting now I have every bottle except the first two offerings which I’ve had opportunity to buy #2 on secondary auction market but always come to my senses not to buy alcohol that expensive.
kudzey avatar image
kudzey (PREMIUM) 🇵🇱 | 38 ratings Replied 19 Aug '21

Paul, you speak about all Foursquare compared to the Shibboleth, assuming that each of the former had bourbon notes. Maybe this is not true, have your tried them all? What if Shibboleth is not an exception here?
Paul B avatar image
Paul B 🇺🇸 | 452 ratings Author Replied 20 Aug '21

kudzey:

My first Foursquare ECS rum was their 2004 and I was not at all pleased with the bourbon notes. When their Zinfandel Cask was released, I was hoping that the dark red wine cask would conceal the bourbon notes and it did for the most part. I gave them one more try with their Detente. That did it for me and Foursquare ECS because of more damn bourbon notes. From reading reviews on their other ones, it was time for me to buy no more. Then Shibboleth was released in a nearby store and I carefully read up on that one before buying it. It is like none of the others that I tried from them. So I now approach each aged Foursquare ECS rum with extreme caution. First for the unwanted bourbon notes, second for the price, and third for having to chase all over to get it.  If the Shibboleth trend continues, then I will give them another try. Their Probitas is now the best available white rum that I happen to always have on hand and it is a smooth neat sipper. Of course it is not an ECS.

And after further review, you now have zero reviews for any Foursquare ECS rums, so what right do you have to question my own judgement on these rums after my nearly four years of reviewing on this site while you have only submitted a handfull of reviews?!!!!  I cannot recommend you to anyone at all. This was my final straw, thank you!!! You now go down in my book as a chronic shit stirrer who fails miserably!!! 

After 420 reviews, my final one on this site has been subimitted with you as my inspiration to go no further!!! I guess that your game is to piss people off all across this world and you have succeesed.   I hope that you are proud of yourself!!!

As always, I tell it like it is.....

 

Jagsroy avatar image
Jagsroy (PREMIUM) 🇨🇦 | 247 ratings Replied 20 Aug '21

WOW! Each and everyone of us have preferences when it comes to rum. Personally I do not like any additives in my rum, specially sugar. I, however, respect those who enjoy sweet rums. The thing is to continue to enjoy and explore he world of rums. Paul I enjoy reading your posts, don’t always agree with them but do enjoy them all. You are very passionate about rum and I encourage you to continue to post on this site. I am sure the vast majority of us feel the same way. Looking forward to your next post Paul. Simon Roy
Paul B avatar image
Paul B 🇺🇸 | 452 ratings Author Replied 20 Aug '21

Jagsroy:

Thanks for the encouragement. You are a very good person.

As I have stated many times before why added sugar is very bad for rums, I now reiterate both of my reasons. First, the sugared rums does a number on my internal plumbing the next day. Second, they cause fairly rapid deterioration of the rum in the bottle such that they all never taste the same after only four weeks. And very few rums taste better some time after opening the bottle.

Jagsroy avatar image
Jagsroy (PREMIUM) 🇨🇦 | 247 ratings Replied 20 Aug '21

You have to keep writing about your Rum journey and continue sharing your thoughts and opinions with us Paul. 👍
Paul B avatar image
Paul B 🇺🇸 | 452 ratings Author Replied 20 Aug '21

Time to get down to specifics. Between my all time top ranked rum of Foursqare ECS Shibboleth and it's next one down the line of Foursqare ECS Zinfandel Cask, these are the rums in between. Every single one of them has zero added sugar and all of them are cheaper and easier to find. They are ranked from my best tasting to the one right above that Zinfandel Cask. It is amazing what can be accomplished from organizing a spreadsheet. So now maybe you can all see why most of the highly over rated Foursquare ECS rums just turn my stomach.

Dictador 20

Rhum JM 2008 10 Year

Chairman's Reserve 1931

Clement Cuvee Homere

Dictador 12

Clairin Le Rocher 2018

Frigate Reserve 21 Year

Rhum JM XO

Frigate Reserve 15 Year

Chairman's Reserve Legacy

Plantation OFTD

Hamilton Florida Rum Society

Chairman's Forgotten Casks

Appleton 21

Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaican

Depaz Blue Cane Amber Rhum

The Real McCoy 12 Year Limited Edition

Clement XO

Clement Rhum Select Barrel

Ron Alegro XO

Admiral Rodney HMS Princessa

Rum Fire Overproof

Admiral Rodney HMS Formidable

Black Tot 5 Year

The Scarlet Ibis

Clairin Sajous 2017

San Zanj

Don Q Single Barrel 2005

Carta Vieja 8 Anos

Rhum J M VO

Don Q Single Barrel 2007

Jagsroy avatar image
Jagsroy (PREMIUM) 🇨🇦 | 247 ratings Replied 20 Aug '21

Paul, you are lucky to have access to these rums. Up here in Nova Scotia, Canada, our rum choices are very limited but it is slowly improving. Of your above list I have three of them (Appleton 21, Chairman’s Legacy and Chairman’s Forgotten Cask, the last of which I am about to open and taste for the firs5 time. CHEERS!
kudzey avatar image
kudzey (PREMIUM) 🇵🇱 | 38 ratings Replied 21 Aug '21

Paul, I was not willing to insult you nor question your authority and I'm sorry if you felt that way. As I mentioned in the past, I admire your reviews and experience. I'm also not a person who wants to compete in terms of rum knowledge or anything else, I believe we all are here to share experience and suggestions. I was very happy that you found a new favourite rum. This has shown that, despite your scepticism towards Foursquare, you were ready to try a new thing and you were true to yourself and everyone here that it was a good idea. I think it's a great discovery. I wanted to suggest that, as you disliked three of them and liked one, maybe you can give another chance too the remaining dozen. Now, as I read my comment again I realize that it could actually sound a bit aggressive and you could have felt attacked. I'm sorry about this and I admit that this was not my best day and my bad emotions leaked to theis site via my comment. I can only apologize again. I repeat what I once said: Paul, stay with us as we all need your presence here.
vomi1011 avatar image
vomi1011 🇩🇪 | 396 ratings Replied 21 Aug '21

Kudzey, your post was not agressive, it was a simple question and Paul just explodes.

The number of reviews does not say how much someone has a clue. Nobody has the right to act like an asshole or insult other. Paul, you are out of self control.

kudzey avatar image
kudzey (PREMIUM) 🇵🇱 | 38 ratings Replied 22 Aug '21

Vomi, thanks for support. I try to understand the others and mind that what seems ok for the one can be a bad thing for the other one. Paul's reaction had some source in my post, I wanted to explain that my aim was not to trigger such reaction.
Rene Rum avatar image
Rene Rum (PREMIUM) 🇨🇭 | 509 ratings Replied 22 Aug '21

We rum lovers are all like rum.

Very different and not suitable at every time.

Paul is Paul, sometimes harsh but always honest and lovely.

It's not your fault kudzey, don't make a mind.

Paul B avatar image
Paul B 🇺🇸 | 452 ratings Author Replied 23 Aug '21

Thanks Rene!

 

You are now one of the few bright spots on this forum!!!! I am now outta here due to some very bad recent purchases and not because of the ultimate asshole who thinks that he knows it all.

Stefan Persson avatar image
Stefan Persson (TASTING CLUB) 🇸🇪 | 337 ratings Replied 24 Aug '21

Paul, I haven’t take part in the discussions for a while, cause I’ve been busy helping Andy reduce the Temporary images and identify doubles and triples. But I’m pretty sure that you know my opinion which is that I just love your inputs cause they trigger to further discussions. To those who dislike your inputs I can just say ............... It’s always refreshing to read clear statements even if you disagree. Take care Paul and don’t leave us and make this site and forum poorer./Stefan
Paul B avatar image
Paul B 🇺🇸 | 452 ratings Author Replied 24 Aug '21

Stefan: I really appreciate all of the work that you have done with getting bottles identified. I no longer have any bottles that draw a blank. My last straw happened the other day. The website of a liquor store had shown a bottle of aguardiente from Oaxaca Mexico. When I arrived, I forgot the name of it. I mistakenly picked up a bottle in a white gift box to the tune of $49 US. When I got home, it was a rum from somewhere in Central America and aged for 10 years. It earned a 5 for that kind of money. Since there were only three other reviews for it in the past two years, I said to hell with it and stopped rating at 420, which is a very good number. My recent waste of $231 plus tax on a bottle of Diplomatico Ambassador also helped me to call it quits. There are mostly good people on this site, but some pretend to know it all and they don't.
Immiketoo avatar image
Immiketoo 🇬🇷 | 60 ratings Replied 8 Sep '21

Paul B avatar image
Paul B 🇺🇸 | 452 ratings Author Replied 18 Oct '21

Back to Foursquare ECS rums. I am hoarding my second bottle of Shibboleth until if and when I can find another one, since it is now my top ranked rum out of 420. Those familiar with my posts know that I absolutely hate bourbon notes, which seem to run rampant among these rums. The Shibboleth is the exception.

So I saw 4 bottles of their 2009-12 Year still on the store's shelf for $100 each. Either no one knows about this surplus or word has gotten out that this one is not very good. Like a fool, I bought a bottle and the latter is true. I first researched the 14 reviews on this site and not one of them mentioned any bourbon notes and they were all correct. However, there is a choice with this one. It is either tolerate the burn or the bitter finish after adding water or ice. If I were still rating on here, my review would be the only one rated as a 6. So I am saving the score from getting lowered. The burn is actually the lesser of the two evils.  I have no idea what caused that bitter finish that makes it almost undrinkable. I now have myself a very expensive mixer that will have no penalty the next day if overdone.

I am a huge fan of rums from the legendary Don Pancho, who wisely moved from communist Cuba to capitalist Panama in the early nineties. His failures are far and few and he has a PhD in Chemistry.  On the other hand, Foursquare ECS Shibboleth seems to be a rare lucking out from Richard Seale. I am so sick of hearing from fanboys of his rums as if he can do no wrong!  This is one of the main reasons that I refuse to submit any more reviews.

vomi1011 avatar image
vomi1011 🇩🇪 | 396 ratings Replied 18 Oct '21

You can let it stand for a while, after about 4 weeks in the bottle the bitterness should decrease. Sometimes the barrels are very active, normally a rum draws more and more tannins from the wood the longer it is stored. They could also have reused rum barrels that have already been used for another rum.

Paul B avatar image
Paul B 🇺🇸 | 452 ratings Author Replied 18 Oct '21

vomi1011:

I know that we have butted heads for some time, but thank you so much for the tip to avoid this one from getting wasted! I also hid my bottle way in the back of my second cabinet. Out of sight and out of mind.  Had I left it in sight, I would have gotten rid of it just to get it out of my sight.  I will report later after four weeks.

However, rums are not like fine wines and should not be allowed to age once opening. Something is wrong with this rum picture. Most rums deteriorate once opening , especially if any sugar has been added. Theoretically, dry rums should last forever, but most really do not. Sad, but true.....

Paul B avatar image
Paul B 🇺🇸 | 452 ratings Author Replied 3 Nov '21

vomi1011:

With me being curious and impatient, I checked on the progress of my Foursquare ECS 2009 12 Year after only 18 days. There is still another 10 days to go from your recommendation. I added three ice cubes to my snifter and let it breathe for a good 20 minutes. To my dismay, the bitter finish seems to have gotten worse. The rest was undrinkable. So to avoid pouring it down the drain, I added a 7 ounce can of Pepsi (God forbid!). It became drinkable, but ruined a perfectly good can of Pepsi. I have never had a rum do that before. I will report back in 10 days. And you did say that the "bitternesss SHOULD decrease". Maybe I wound up with a bad bottle, eventhough they all came from the same cask.

vomi1011 avatar image
vomi1011 🇩🇪 | 396 ratings Replied 3 Nov '21

Sometimes that doesn't work, but most of the time I like the rums better after a month. They become a little milder and gain more balance. The barrel may have been too active.

Have you tried it without ice cubes? The cooling has the side effect that the aromas are generally reduced, so that the dominant aromas come more into the foreground. I once got a chilled Flor de Cana 18, the wood and the tannins were very dominant, I didn't like it at all.

kudzey avatar image
kudzey (PREMIUM) 🇵🇱 | 38 ratings Replied 3 Nov '21

That's basically why we don't cool down red wines. The tannins and bitterness would become more pronounced. I think you could still like it without ice but let it breathe, even more than 20 minutes. Some rums I tried were developing for an hour or even more.

Paul B avatar image
Paul B 🇺🇸 | 452 ratings Author Replied 3 Nov '21

Thanks guys!

I did not think about the cooling effect caused by the ice cubes. I also need to get a bottle of spring water instead of using my well water, with neither one being frozen. This test will be for tomorrow as I was too busy coming up with my own blend from 3 in my collection.

Paul B avatar image
Paul B 🇺🇸 | 452 ratings Author Replied 3 Nov '21

vomi1011 and kudzey:

I thank you both for the tip on avoiding very cold conditions that bring out the bitterness in certain rums. Down here in the deep south USA, we have to add ice to almost everything with the intense heat.  I had no idea how this would adversely affect rums made elsewhere.

Well after a very successful blending experiment this afternoon on another project, I told myself WTF and added just enough tap water from my Artesian well to smooth out the burn with hopes of not bringing out the bitter finish for this rum. Guess what? IT WORKED!!!  You guys are great!!

So this saved my bottle of Foursquare ECS 2009 12-Year from going to waste. It is now drinkable, but not enjoyable. If I were still submitting reviews, I could rate it as a 5, with it easily being the worst ECS that I have tried from them.  This is not worth $100 US.  

Jagsroy avatar image
Jagsroy (PREMIUM) 🇨🇦 | 247 ratings Replied 3 Nov '21

For what it's worth I never add any ice cube to my rum as it dilutes the product and each sip becomes weaker than the first one. Sipping on the pure product lets me enjoy the entire glass without any negative effect.

kudzey avatar image
kudzey (PREMIUM) 🇵🇱 | 38 ratings Replied 4 Nov '21

Jagsroy, I think that dilution allows one to look at rum from different perspective. I also prefer the full strength but some notes are only achievable for me after adding several droplets of water. it's said that the spirit "opens up".

Jagsroy avatar image
Jagsroy (PREMIUM) 🇨🇦 | 247 ratings Replied 4 Nov '21

Kudzey, I totally understand what you are saying, I have done so a few times as well but I was referring particularly to those who add ice cubes to their rum. The amount of water from the ice inevitably dilutes the product and taste. 

kudzey avatar image
kudzey (PREMIUM) 🇵🇱 | 38 ratings Replied 4 Nov '21

That's true. Moreover as the ice melts down, your rum is more and more diluted. But you can always use cold stones or other non-melting cubes if cooling is what one wants.

Rene Rum avatar image
Rene Rum (PREMIUM) 🇨🇭 | 509 ratings Replied 4 Nov '21

Fun fact:

My rum is always to cold and I have to worm it up, by wrapping the hand around the glass.

Immiketoo avatar image
Immiketoo 🇬🇷 | 60 ratings Replied 5 Nov '21

One thing nobody has mentioned is that Foursquare have won nearly every competition/award for rum production in recent memory.  There's gotta be a reason for that :)

Jimmy Cliff avatar image
Jimmy Cliff (PREMIUM) 🇺🇸 | 404 ratings Replied 5 Nov '21

Looking forward to joining back in later tonight or tomorrow. My long lost advance purchase in June lost and refunded by total wine last month, with multiple empty sold out online orders since. Total wine actually shipped my Shibboleth to my local store. Today they released it I need to see the difference Paul mentions after trying 15 other Foursquare and liking most of them. Bourbon aging 16 years should be interesting, like the 56 proof versus mid 60s. 

Jimmy Cliff avatar image
Jimmy Cliff (PREMIUM) 🇺🇸 | 404 ratings Replied 6 Nov '21

Ok the dust has settled and I'm here tasting Foursquare Shibboleth for the first time. There's has been tons of hype on this release and it was hard for me to attain. Foursquare rums are just great rums each one with its own personality. That's why they are rated so highly, rums and liquors from all countries are experimenting with extra maturation and different aging. It's trendy and also opens the doors to some terrible and great experiments. Think Don Q vermouth cask. With that said this is not my favorite Foursquare it burns and is hot for 56%. I prefer other Foursquare better, reminds me of Empery.I also love other secondary aged rums, other than Foursquare. I don't have a problem with rums aged in different barrels. Either I like them or I don't. 

Paul B avatar image
Paul B 🇺🇸 | 452 ratings Author Replied 11 Dec '21

There is a new one from Foursquare called Crisma. It sells for "only" $41 US because it is a rum cream bottled at 17% ABV. When one triples the price to meet the usual 51% ABV found as starting points for most of the ECS series, this puppy comes in priced at $123 US. In other words, dollar for dollar, this one costs more than any of the initial prices of the ECS rums! Is it worth it? Hell no! However, your ladies will love this one at Christmas time.

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