The Rum Howler Blog

(A Website for Spirited Reviews)

  • Copyright

    Copyright is inherent when an original work is created. This means that the producer of original work is automatically granted copyright protection. This copyright protection not only exists in North America, but extends to other countries as well. Thus, all of the work produced on this blog is protected by copyright, including all of the pictures and all of the articles. These original works may not be copied or reused in any way whatsoever without the permission of the author, Chip Dykstra.
  • Cocktails and Recipes

    Click Image for Awesome Recipes

  • Industry Interviews


    Click the Image for Great Interviews with the Movers of Industry

  • The Rum Howler Interview (Good Food Revolution)

    Click on the Image to see my interview on Good Food Revolution

  • The Rum Howler Blog

  • Rum Reviews

  • Whisky Reviews

  • Gin Reviews

  • Tequila Reviews

  • Vodka Reviews

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,139 other followers

  • Subscribe

  • Visitors

    • 13,686,456 pageviews since inception
  • Archives

  • Follow The Rum Howler Blog on

A.D. Rattray 9 Year Old (2003) Barbados Rum (Four Square Distillery (Cask 15))

Review:  A.D. Rattray 9 Year Old (2003) Barbados Rum (Four Square Distillery (Cask 15))   79/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
posted on July 21 2013

A.D. Rattray is more commonly known for its Single Malt Whisky bottlings which are often from a single cask of Scottish Whisky. However the company has also released select rum bottlings from various distillers across the Caribbean. A bottle from one of those bottlings, distilled at the Four Square Distillery in Barbados came into my possession as a gift from my good friend Lance (the Lone Caner) who had visited my fair city a few months ago and joined me for some rum and vodka sampling. His intention was to prod me into reviewing the spirit, as we often compare notes on our reviews. (See Lance’s review here)

I am lucky to have friends such as you who are more than willing to share. Slainte Lance!

SAM_0846 AD Rattray Four SquareIn the Bottle 4.5/5

The bottle presentation for the Four Square Distillery (2003) Barbados Rum is pictured to the left. Each bottle arrives in a tall ‘bar room’ style bottle which is placed in the standard A.D. Rattray black cardboard sleeve. The bottle and the sleeve contains information both identifying the cask number (15) and the number of bottles drawn from the cask (363), as well as the date the rum was distilled (30-06-2003), and the date the rum was bottled (30-07-2012).

I was disappointed that the cask type was identified only as “barrel”. I was also hoping to learn the aging history of the rum as it would be interesting to know how many of the nine years of aging were spent in Barbados and how many were spent in the UK. Having said that, the bottle and protective sleeve have much more information about the rum than most labels in the industry.

(The high number of bottles drawn from the barrel (363) leads me to believe that the cask type was not a typical bourbon style hogshead.)

Note The rum is bottled at 46 % ABV in a 700ml bottle.

In the Glass 8/10

When I pour the rum into my glencairn glass I see a light mahogany coloured rum which has not been enhanced by caramel colour. The rum leaves only a light sheen on the inside of my glass when it is tilted and twirled; but it does generate a multitude of small droopy legs.

The initial breezes above the glass are quite sharp reminding me more of a young whisky than of an aged rum. I sense light spicy woody notes of poplar and oak with stains of fresh sap the overall effect of which has more than a hint of astringency. As the glass breathes, light butterscotch, banana and orange peel, and some light almond aromas come forward with a light sprinkling of baking spices (cinnamon and vanilla) and some rather penetrating scents of fresh cigarette tobacco.

In the Mouth 47.5/60

The flavour seems to match the aroma in many respects with a heated entry which seems heavier on the alcohol than what it should. This initial push of astringency is rather unpleasant although based upon my nosing of the glass it was not unexpected. A sprinkling of cold water in my glass helps to soothe the rum somewhat and allows me to get at some of the flavours underneath. The rum begins with some sweet butterscotch and caramel flavours which are ambushed by a sharp woody sap-like spiciness which runs through the rum. Orange and banana peel heat the rum even more, and some spicy tobacco jumps into the fray for good measure. Amidst all of this is a fusil-like component which seems to warn me not to sample too much of this rum in one sitting.

There are some nice nuances which struggle to be noticed, a sweet and sour fruitiness which reminds me of canned apricots and pineapple glaze; hints of dry fruit in the form of raisin and figs; and some underlying almond flavours desperately trying to be noticed.

In the Throat 11.5/15

The rum was sharp and astringent on the entry; it is the same in the exit. It tastes and feels much younger than its 9 years.

The Afterburn 7.5/10

Amazingly enough, it required only a small amount of cola and a few ice cubes to turn this rum around. The sweet caramel from the cola meld with the sharp flavours and the ice helps to mute the high octane-like feel the rum has and I find I can now enjoy myself quite easily. When I mix a simple daiquiri, I am likewise content with the rum. This is probably not what my friend Lance wanted to read, but the truth is I find this rum to be an excellent mixer; but not by any stretch of the imagination is it a delightful sipper.

If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.


Suggested Recipe:

SAM_0848 Sloe Lemon SourSloe Rum Sour
(an Arctic Wolf Cocktail)

1 1/2  oz  Four Square Distillery (2003) Barbados Rum
3/4  oz Fresh Lemon Juice
2 tsp Sugar Syrup
4 Large Ice Cubes
1 Chilled Cocktail Glass
3/8 oz Sloe Gin

Place the first 3 Ingredients in a Metal Martini Shaker.
Shake Until Martini Shaker Chills.
Strain Into a chilled Glencairn Glass.
Add the Ice from the Martini Shaker.
Float the Sloe Gin on the top and let everything sit for one minute.
Garnish with Lime Slice if desired….. Enjoy!!


My Scores are out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret them as follows:

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing spirit.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails.)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

%d bloggers like this: