Spirit of the year shortlist

Spirit of the Year Doorly’s
12 Year Old

Learn More 

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.

Doorly’s 12 Year Old

The Winner

Doorly’s 12 Year Old

12 Year Old

NOW Buy Now

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.

The Range

  • Doorly’s 3 Year Old
    Doorly’s 3 Year Old


    £38.21 per litre

    Learn more
  • Doorly’s 5 Year Old
    Doorly’s 5 Year Old


    £38.93 per litre

    Learn more
  • Doorly’s 8 Year Old
    Doorly’s 8 Year Old


    £48.50 per litre

    Learn more
  • Doorly’s 12 Year Old
    Doorly’s 12 Year Old


    £61.36 per litre

    Learn more
  • Doorly’s XO


    £48.50 per litre

    Learn more
More from Foursquare

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.

The Runner-up

Hampden Estate Rum

Hampden Estate Rum

70cl | 46%
NOW See more
A long-awaited rum from Jamaica’s Hampden Estate, created in collaboration with Italian independent bottler Velier. Hampden is known for its incredibly fruity high-ester rums, and this shows off that character to the full. It’s packed with tropical-fruit flavour, from banana to pineapple, passion fruit and papaya, all the while remaining rich, sweet and well balanced.

The Shortlist

  • Doorly’s 12 Year Old Rum
    12 Year Old


    £61.36 per litre

    See more
  • Hampden Estate Rum
    Hampden Estate


    £85.64 per litre

    See more
  • Worthy Park Single Estate Reserve Rum
    Worthy Park
    Single Estate
    Reserve Rum


    £71.36 per litre

    See more
  • Geometric Gin


    £59.93 per litre

    See more
  • Vallein-Tercinier Napoleon Cognac
    Napoleon Cognac


    £89.93 per litre

    See more
  • Chateau de Beaulon 7 Year Old Cognac
    Chateau de Beaulon
    7 Year Old


    £64.21 per litre

    See more
  • Didier Lemorton 10 Year Old Domfrontais Calvados
    Didier Lemorton
    10 Year Old
    Domfrontais Calvados


    £88.21 per litre

    See more
  • Bimber Rum


    £31.36 per litre

    See more

Previous Winners

  • Nikka Coffey Gin


    Nikka Coffey Gin
    See more
  • Capreolus Garden Swift Dry Gin


    Capreolus Garden Swift Dry Gin
    See more
  • Plantation Extra Old Barbados Rum - 20th Anniversary


    Plantation Extra Old Barbados Rum - 20th Anniversary
    See more
  • Cocchi Vermouth di Torino


    Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
    See more
  • The Botanist Islay Dry Gin


    The Botanist Islay Dry Gin
    See more

Special OfferBuy all three 2019 winners

Of the Year Gift Collection

See more
Try all three winners and see why they are our favourites of the year. Rum from Barbados’s most lauded distillery, American whiskey made to a secret recipe and an intriguingly blended Champagne – three very different and exciting bottles.