For the 14th release in the "Exceptional Cask Series", Foursquare revisits an old favorite: Port. Earlier in this now cultish and closely followed series of releases, in 2014 to be precise, many were casually introduced to the distillery by way of their lovely Port Cask Finish release. It was fruity, velvety, soft, sweet (but of course not sweetened), and bottled at an easygoing 40% abv. It wasn't going to offend anyone, and indeed it made many friends. Now here we are 6 years later, and what a sign of how the average rum drinker has changed that this new release, Détente, is bottled at 51% (aside from the cask strength releases, the proofs have been steadily creeping up), and eagerly anticipated by a community that not only wants to drink it, but to know every detail about it.
As with all of Foursquare's regular releases, this is a blend of rums from their double-retort pot still and traditional twin-column coffey still. Additionally, this is a blend of two batches of those rums: One that aged entirely in ex-bourbon casks for ten years, and another that aged for four years in ex-bourbon and then six years in ex-Port casks. The result is a big, fruity, but spicy and complex rum that isn't overwhelmed by Port influence, but rather uses that Port cask character of dark chocolate and fruit to its own advantage, supporting the classic ex-bourbon Foursquare profile beautifully. On the nose, the port cask greets you first with strawberry, cassis, and raisin, before revealing the spicy ex-bourbon side: spicy pepper, vanilla, coconut, and Foursquare's signature apple peel. On the palate, this is the fullest non-cask strength release we've yet seen from them. The sweet fruit glides along that big velvety texture, and unlike the lower strength release of 2014, is equally balanced with a significant oak character. An earthy element meets spicy pepper and clove, and a quick smack of heat lets us know our abv is in fact in the 50's. It then mellows nicely from there, with more currant meeting a spiced dark chocolate, into a seriously lengthy finish that focuses on the darker side of the port, alongside a growing, drying oak. You're torn between getting after that next sip and sticking around for what more the finish still has to offer.