Spirit of the Year
12 Year Old
We've spoken to some of the finest brains in the business to help choose The Whisky Exchange Spirit of the Year, including bartenders, writers and drinks experts. With their help, we drew up a shortlist of eight bottles: the best spirits we have tried over the past 12 months.
It was a harder choice than ever this year, with excellent spirits and liqueurs from around the world on our list. After much discussion, we've chosen a rum from Barbados: Doorly’s 12 Year Old.
Rum is definitely on the rise: four of the eight spirits in our shortlist – including the runner-up – are rums. On top of that, Foursquare, where Doorly’s is made, is fast becoming one of the most lauded distilleries in the world, with master blender Richard Seale leading a new wave of rum making across the Caribbean.
12 Year Old
Originally only available at the Foursquare distillery and in a few shops in Barbados, the past few years have seen Doorly’s 12 Year Old slowly but surely spread out across the world. The 12 Year Old is the flagship of the Doorly’s range and shows off master blender and distiller Richard Seale’s attention to detail when making rum. It’s a combination of both pot- and column-distilled spirit, with 90% aged in ex-bourbon casks and 10% in ex-Madeira casks. Using the rum classification devised by Luca Gargano and popularised by Richard Seale, it is a Single Blended Rum.
Doorly’s 12 Year Old is an excellently-balanced rum, with Madeira sweetness complementing the bourbon-cask character and Foursquare’s classic Barbados style. Rich, complex and a worthy winner.
Tasting Notes from the producer
- Nose: Rich and sweet with notes of tropical fruit and toffee apples.
- Palate: The palate is full with a viscous mouthfeel.
- Finish: Warming, long and the finish is not overly sweet.
Doorly’s 3 Year Old
£37.07 per litreLearn more
Doorly’s 5 Year Old
£37.50 per litreLearn more
Doorly’s 8 Year Old
£48.50 per litreLearn more
Doorly’s 12 Year Old
£55.64 per litreLearn more
£46.79 per litreLearn more
Doorly’s, R.L. Seale’s and Foursquare
Martin Doorly & Co and R.L. Seale’s were both rum blending companies founded in the 1920s, although the Seale family had been involved with the rum trade since at least the 1820s. Initially not producers, they were traders and blenders, creating rums that became well-known across the Caribbean – including Doorly’s Macaw, still Barbados’s most popular white rum.
In 1996, the Seale family opened the Foursquare distillery, moving from blending into making its own rum. Richard Seale became managing director the following year, and the modern era of R.L. Seale began.
The Doorly’s range is now produced at the distillery, along with R.L. Seale’s Finest Rum, Rum Sixty Six, Old Brigand and, more recently, Foursquare’s own highly sought-after rums.
Hampden Estate Rum
£71.36 per litreSee more
£65.64 per litreSee more
£89.93 per litreSee more
Chateau de Beaulon
7 Year Old
£64.21 per litreSee more
10 Year Old
£88.21 per litreSee more
£31.36 per litreSee more