Cubans

Published on March 13th, 2019 | by Ken Gargett

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Cohiba Siglo IV (July 2011)/Foursquare ‘Premise’ Rum; Foursquare ‘Dominus’ Rum

The two drinks for every cigar idea hit a bit of a speedbump this last time. I’ve been at a place on the coast for a while – Queensland summer – and while I brought a number of cigars, I seem to have failed to bring enough different drinks. I do have some fabulous Margaret River Cabernets, but as Rob isn’t here insisting on red wine with cigars, I won’t insult either the cigar or the wine by matching them. 

I searched the dregs of the old man’s liquor shelf – remembering that this was a man who didn’t drink so everything was largely leftovers from dinner parties or gifts from clients. There was a can of one of the great beers, XXXX’s Commonwealth Games Special – for those not drinking back in 1982, this beer blew us away. Until then, most of us had drunk absolutely nothing but XXXX in Queensland. That was how it was. In NSW, you drank Toohey’s or Resch’s, depending on your pub, Victoria was mostly VB, Adelaide was something I forget but we all called it Kid’s Beer. And no one ever went to West Australia so we had no idea, at that time, what they drank, till Bondy the Crook showed us it was Swan Lager, which as far as we could see, came straight from the Swan River. But I was not about to crack the XXXX CG Special. Among the other interesting things (not interesting enough to drink) was a bottle of Bacardi Blanc Rum, produce of Brazil, and a Queensland Grappa. Seriously.

I did have a couple of rums from a fave producer so, even though one could hardly expect too much variation here, that was it. 

The cigar was an old fave, Cohiba Siglo IV. Who doesn’t love a good IV. And this was a very good IV. With some reasonable age to ensure it had settled beautifully and gained some extra complexity. Very good construction. The wrapper was quite dark. Surprisingly so. And the flavours were not that far from the early Limited Edition spectrum. Lots of chocolate.  Initially some hints of fungal and leather and mushrooms. Good complexity throughout. Reasonably full flavoured. Waves of lovely molten chocolate kept coming. Gorgeous cigar. I had it at 95. Delicious. May I add, 46 ring gauge. Nuff said.

I’ve seen it referred to as a perfect post-lunch cigar. No argument from me. I smoked this one mid-arvo, near the beach with the rums and a good book. It does not get much better. 

And the rums…

Foursquare Distillery is a relatively new producer from Barbados but one which has been setting the world on fire, notwithstanding the rather uninspiring name. The family’s operations date back to the 1650’s, while their involvement in the rum business kicked off in 1820. They were buying/blending/selling and then extended that to the purchase of several other producers. 

In 1995, the current head of the family, Richard Seale – the only son of the only son of the only son of the founder – purchased a decrepit old sugar factory and now we have one of the region’s leading distilleries. They release a number of rums, including what they call the Exceptional Cask series, which are one-offs and becoming collector’s items. They are great value for a first class spirit, the prices around the A$100 to A$150 mark, but the death knell for that might have been sounded by articles declaring Foursquare to be the Pappy of rums. They also do vintage rums, the first being the 1998. It was the 2004 which really got fans excited. Don’t miss these. 

Anyway, first up, the Foursquare Premise. Both of these rums are from the Exceptional Cask series and are a blend of pot and column distilled rums. Three years in bourbon casks and then to sherry casks for another seven. At 46% ABV, it is no shrinking violet. But it is so well balanced. The flavours move through florals, ginger, orange rind, white chocolate, stonefruit, vanilla and old teak. A lovely complex, balanced spirit, with impressive length, power and surprising elegance. An absolutely cracking rum. 

Next, the Foursquare Dominus. 56% ABV here, so we are not mucking around. Bourbon casks for three years and a further seven in cognac barrels. Again, floral and ginger notes. Dark chocolate. The palate is a touch more tropical, passionfruit and pineapple emerge. Spices. Some honey on the finish. Real intensity here. An incredible texture. A serious and a superb rum. 

For me, the best way to drink these is, if you prefer a few drops of water to help open up the rum and release some of its glories, fine, though for me, an ice cube or two. The water releases more slowly into the rum but gives a similar effect. Dropping the temperature a few degrees is a personal preference. 

A real ‘hairs-on-the-chest for the sophisticated pirate’ rum.

That both worked superbly with the Siglo will come as no surprise. A preference? On the day, the Premise. That extra elegance seemed to suit the smoke. But both were stars. 

KBG

Cohiba Siglo IV (July 2011)/Foursquare ‘Premise’ Rum; Foursquare ‘Dominus’ Rum Ken Gargett

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