Doorly’s 14-year-old Rum is a premium expression from the inimitable Foursquare Rum Distillery in Barbados. We take a look at this fine spirit and the love that goes into producing it.
A bit of history
The Rum Duty Act of 1906 completely changed the way in which rum was distributed in Barbados. Distilleries were only able to sell their rums in bulk and had to obtain a licence to do so. This meant that many distillers became bottlers instead. One such, was Martin Doorly & Co.
As the trend for branded names became a thing, Martin Doorly & Co evolved into Doorly Macaw Rum – with bottles featuring the handsome Scarlet Macaw – and became the first rum brand ever to be exported from the island. This was shortened to Doorly’s.
In 1993, the company was taken over by R.L. Seale (the family-run business behind Foursquare Rum Distillery) that, to this day, continues to produce phenomenal rums under the Doorly’s name. (Read all about Foursquare Rum Distillery here)
Doorly’s 14-year-old Rum
Released in 2019, Doorly’s 14-year-old is the latest addition to the brand’s core range. However, as you might expect from a 14-year-old, tropically aged spirit, stocks of this expression are not widely available. In this way, Doorly’s 14-year-old bridges the gap between Foursquare Distillery’s staple commercial range of the usual Doorly’s suspects, and its limited edition Exceptional Cask Selection series. The bottlings gift box packaging nods at its status and makes it the perfect present for a rum fan (and no one says that fan cannot be you) to treasure and enjoy.
Doorly’s 14-year-old is a blend of Pot and Column distilled rums, some of which has been aged for fourteen years in ex-Bourbon American white oak barrels, and another portion aged for the same length of time in ex-Madeira casks.
It’s important to note that age statements in Caribbean rums are not as clear-cut as those in other spirit-producing regions, with marketing muddying the waters and hoodwinking drinkers in to thinking a brand name with a number refers to the age of the spirit. Barbados is one of the few rum-producing countries with strict guidelines in place and Richard Seale (Foursquare Distillery’s Master-Blender and Master-Distiller) is a staunch believer in transparency. So, rest assured, the “Aged 14 Years” emblazoning the box here means that each component of the blend has been aged for fourteen years.
This transparency continues on the label where the hefty ABV of 48% (up from the 40% ABV of the rest of the Doorly’s range) is alluded to as the diluted bottle strength. The label states the addition of a bit of spirit caramel colouring (E150a) that restores the natural colour from the cask that was lost during dilution. As with all other Foursquare Distillery products, no other sugar or sweetener has been added.
Tasting Notes – Doorly’s 14-year-old
Let’s take a moment to admire the packaging. The presentation box features a little story about expression as well as a few of its many accolades. The extremely rare Blue Throated Macaw that graces the box and bottle recall’s Martin Doorly’s first ever Scarlet Macaw and signals this bottling’s exceptional character. The liquid itself is a clear, reddish-brown.
A somewhat familiar “Foursquare” nose (if you drink as much rum from the Bajan distillery as we do, you’ll know what we mean). Ginger, cold toffee, raisins, prunes, nail varnish and fruit cake are second to a hefty dry, oaky woodiness. It’s not as boisterous a nose as some Doorly’s expressions, leaving room for pondering and intrigue.
The initial sip has a bit of a kick to it but not in any unpleasant way. Our first taste is full of ginger and oak spice, treacling into toffee, cinder toffee, honeycomb wax, vanilla and a gentle background funk. The mouthfeel is beautifully smooth with good viscosity and lingers on the tongue for a long time. Further sipping reveals banana, pain au raisin, dark chocolate, preserved orange, a touch of char and some echoes of Madeira. It’s a delicious and complete rum that deserves to be taken its time with.
£60.95. Buy it here at Master of Malt.