The first stop on the Rum Cruise was Barbados for a dizzying tour of the island’s distilleries, liquor stores and rum shops. Up first, Foursquare Distillery.
The Rum Cruise departs from Puerto Rico and after two very rummy nights and a full day at sea we arrive in Barbados. This is our first stop, and with four world class distilleries, the perfect island to start our adventure.
Our group leaves the cruise ship dock and winds through the morning traffic of Bridgetown aboard a fancy tourist bus. We travel south along the island’s beautiful coast and east past the airport and into St. Philips. The first stop on this leg of the trip is one of my favorites, Foursquare Distillery-makers of RL Seale, Rum Sixty Six, Old Brigand, John Taylor’s Velvet Falernum and the fabulous Doorly’s XO among many others.
Foursquare is located on the site of an old plantation that dates back to the early 1600s and the main driveway leads us through a field of sugarcane into the grounds of the facility. Nearly 10 acres have been transformed into a beautifully landscaped property complete with gardens, a petting zoo, an amphitheater, small museums and, of course, a cutting edge rum distillery.
On most days, the tour is self-guided and visitors are free to wander the grounds and plant. Details about Foursquare’s history and unique rum making process are highlighted on large placards throughout the distillery and you can take your time enjoying the sights and smells of rum creation. Fortunately, on the day of our visit, Richard Seale was on site to give us a guided tour of this amazing place. It’s nice to get the scoop directly from the man who makes the rum and runs the company.
Of all the distilleries I’ve been to, Foursquare is one of the cleanest, most orderly and their commitment to protecting the environment among the most impressive. Green technology has been utilized in every step of rum making and the measurable results are outstanding.
Richard explains how carbon dioxide created during fermentation is captured and then sold to a local gas company. Heat is also monitored and minimized during distillation and waste water is fully treated on site. This impressive undertaking to reduce their impact is unmatched and will hopefully be copied by others in the industry with less-stellar environmental records.
Foursquare’s line of fine rums are some of the most sought after among fine spirits enthusiasts, but what some people may not know is that they also do quite a large business creating rums for other brands. Tommy Bahama white and gold rums were created and bottled here, so was the London club-brand Mahiki. They are both great examples of Foursquare’s ability to create, bottle and deliver great rums to the specification of boutique brands. Hopefully, we will see more of this trend in the future.
At the end of our tour, we were escorted into a meeting room near the bottling plant and given the rundown on Foursquare’s impressive line of rums. We had the opportunity to taste them all and each of us had our own favorite by the end of this cheerful session. Of course, Richard Seale was on hand to answer our questions and give us a few hints about new brands that could soon be hitting the market.
I’ve had the opportunity to visit Foursquare on a few different occasions and am more impressed each time. Their commitment to the history of the property, the people of Barbados and to the environment is in a class of its own, not to mention their ability to consistently crank out world-class rums. As the Rum Bus leaves their beautiful property, our group of newly initiated fans determine that Foursquare has definitely chosen the right motto. When it comes to rum, they “Do it right!“
Stay tuned for more distillery touring and rum drinking adventures in Barbados. Cheers!