Review 105 – Doorly’s 12 year old

Photo copyright © H.Kristoffersen

A tiny Bajan miracle for less than the price of six pizzas.

Introduction

So before this site goes into a cask strength binge and explode of sheer sensory overload, I thought it was time to take it easy. Settle down with a bottle of rum that doesn’t (on the surface) require massive man handling or a need to tread very lightly to avoid getting bludgeoned to death.

Reaching into my most sacred closet where my stash is located, I pulled out a old acquaintance of mine, the Doorly’s 12 year old. A nice blend of both column and pot still rums out of Foursquare, Barbados.

A product of the Foursquare cornucopia of great rums, this is the top of the line for the Doorly’s brand. A brand which Foursquare acquired 1993 at a time where aged rum without the need for mixers where not that highly thought of.

Today Doorly’s along with Rum SixtySix make up the always available range of Foursquares own bottlings.

Another reason to pick the Doorly’s today was me curiousity to see if it can hold its own against

the many, many other Foursquares out there – the Exceptional Cask Selection range, the Velier joint bottlings and the many, many other indie variants available from the likes of … well … almost everybody seems to bottle a Foursquare these days.

Maybe there’s no need to be posh about it and get the rare indies. Maybe there is great rum to be had within Foursquares own supermarket products. Okay, I take that back. I haven’t actually seen Doorly’s in a supermarket around here. And if you have read some of the other junk I’ve posted, you know that I am a massive fan of Mr. Seale’s work with Foursquare, so I mean no disrespect with my “supermarket”-label.

Presentation

We get a nice stubby bottle when a bulby neck. The top is a foil screw cap, which I’m not even going to rant about anymore. Yes, I prefer corks and I don’t care that screw caps may actually be a better seal for the bottle.

It comes in a card board box of proper thickness. No, more than a year away from writing has not changed how I feel about flimsy, useless fusilages that some bottlers tend to wrap around our precious bounty. Curse you!

The box also contains some rather nice information. Like how Doorly’s was the first rum to be exported out of Barbados and that the rum has been aged in small american oak casks.

It also tells us the story of why there’s a Macaw on both the box and the bottle. I love these kind of background stories – as opposed to the more common sales pitches created by clever marketing asshats, which appear on the vast majority of rums in the price range of the Doorly’s 12 and beyond.

The labels on the bottle repeat information already found on the box. But the label has a very nice piece of artwork and fits both rum and the stubby bottle very nicely. Although a bit bland with its parrot, palmtrees, old time fonts and big age statement (in this case true though), I actually kind of like it. Perhaps because I haven’t been eyeing as many bottles of rum in the previous year as I was used to before. Or maybe I just grew older and became a sucker for this type of expression. I don’t know. As me again in a year.

The rum has a beautiful dark amber colour and behaves very nicely in the glass. Thin layer of film which evolves into curtains. It looks like a rather light and clean rum.

Nose

Ahh yes. This is definitely Foursquare.

The soft, ripe bananas, the coconut, the tiny sharpness of the spice oak.

And all this on top of buttered toast with cinnamon and maple syrup.

Everything in perfect tune, and very well composed.

It feels very light and delicate at this point, but being only 40% ABV and with the heritage it has, I didn’t really expect otherwise.

Taste

Getting into it, it still comes off as a very light and soft rum. Perhaps even a little too light and soft.

Unfortunately it doesn’t present it self nearly as well balanced on the palate as it did on the nose.

It feels sharper and with more edges.

The profile has flipped a little. Now we get more maple syrup, cinnamon and oak up front, along with a more buttery texture.

We have to dig a lot deeper to spot the bananas along with some orange peel, more coconut and

Finish

The finish is rather long the light nature of the rum taken into consideration.

And dispite being a tad to the sharper side on the palate, the finish loses some of the sharpness and rings out with a nice, strong warmth instead. No sharpness present at all. Nice.

The syrup, orange peel and oak stays the longest with a little help of what I recall as nutmeg and perhaps a little touch of chives.

The 40% put a limit on how much the finish evolves. It is mostly a slow turn of a volumen knob instead of actual progression or evolution.

Rating and final thoughts

For what it’s worth, this is a great rum. No bullshit. Just straight up proper rum. If it looks like rum, tastes like rum and feels like rum, well it must be rum. And with an unmistakenly Bajan profile it seems.

Could it be stronger? Absolutely. I’m not saying that the Doorly’s 12 could actually bear being kicked up to 50% or 60%. I’m afraid the slight astringency on the palate could be too dominating if the proof went up, but mayby it wouldn’t.

Could it be more crazy and/or interestingly composed? Definitely. But I don’t think it should be.

Does it lack flavour, funk or jazz? Maybe. If you prefer jamaican funk bombs, the Doorly’s 12 will kill your groove in an instant. If you prefer the heavy, wooden monsters of the Demerara mudlands, Doorly’s 12 will be a pebble in your boot – annoying, soon removed and hurled into the woods. If you prefer the fragrant, juicy and flowery agricoles, the Doorly’s 12 will just be boring.

But if you like Bajan rums for their light nature, easy going temper and pleasant, simpler profile, then you should be home free.

This is the top of an entry level lineup. And I’m not using “entry level” as some kind of reference to which rums you typically start out with when first going into the rabbit hole. Or some snobby metaphor for rums that are beneath me.

When I say entry level, I mean price wise. As in: A level where most rum drunks can play along. A level where you don’t need to sell your car, marry a 90 year old rich dude or win the lottery to get a taste.

This particular bottle set me back less than €50, so I’m wasn’t expecting any miracles, as I have forked over larger piles of cash for products that turned out to be horrible.

But in it’s own sense the Doorly’s 12 is a tiny miracle. At a price like that and competing with a huge array of less than great rums, Doorly’s 12 may be one of the best in its class.

Best part: The rum is pure. No sugar or any of that crap added here. Just properly crafted rum using proper stills. We like that, Richard!

I have a lot more love for this rum than the score will show. But assessing the overall performance of the rum, I have to take into consideration the slightly simple profil, the astringency on the palate and the fact that I know there are fiercer, more bedazzling beasts made on the great island of Barbados. Hell, I’ve even had some of them along the way.

Kudos to Richard for bringing us such a great drink for such a rediculous price. The results is a …

Rating: 78/100

Links

Sadly none, since Foursquare don’t have a website to display all their splendor.

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