Richard Seale: Rum's Supreme Champion

“That success leads to the next step, it leads to purchasing more sherry casks, which leads to purchasing Madeira casks. That leads to thinking, if we’re doing well with a six-year-old rum, I need to invest and create a 10 year old.

“We didn’t sit down one day and think, ‘let’s make Foursquare Redoubtable’. One day we made Doorly’s XO and that did really well, it put us on the map and impressed people at those early rum shows. Those sales are what makes you make the next investment. Increase the stock and suddenly you can sell more 10-year-old rums and you develop a 12 year old and a 14 year old.”

Since those first releases, the rum climate has developed, spurred in part by the excellent rums that have rolled out of the Foursquare distillery. But Seale asserts that “innovation is one of the most abused words in our industry”, he hasn’t reinvented the wheel, he says.

“It’s a question of emphasis. It’s not that the rum-making has changed, but we can suddenly think about things it would be harder to think about 20 years ago; doing a 14-year-old rum, releasing cask strength rums, investing in cane juice rums. Twenty-five years ago, you’d be hard pressed to find a rum on the shelf for more than £25. Now we can do all those things.”

Having helped re-establish Barbados on the world stage as a source of exceedingly fine rum, Seale has turned his attention to protecting that standing. Alongside compatriots like Mount Gay, he’s created a Geographical Indication for Barbados, to protect the generational learnings and heritage that have helped Seale produce the world’s most elite rums.

“We have a very strong philosophy that we must work within the Barbados style and the Foursquare style. If I had grown up in Patagonia, I might be the same person, but I wouldn’t be making the same rum. That’s the generational knowledge, you have the assistance from the blenders who came before me and their experience and this is invaluable because then you learn rum.”