Doorly’s 12 – low-carb rum full of surprises

During my friendly disputes with rum purists, I was recommended Doorly’s. It was said to be a great transition rum from sweet to unsweetened rums for a fair price. So I bought it, tried it for some time and finally got to write my review today. So, what about Doorly’s from the Foursquare distillery, owned by the rum guru, Richard Seal?

About Foursquare Distillery

The rum is named after Martin Doorly, the long-term partner of Foursquare founder, Richard L. Seal. At the turn of the 20th century, it was Martin Doorly, who founded a Foursquare rum bottling factory in Barbados. Doorly’s Rum was the first rum to be exported from Barbados in bottles. It became widely popular and when Foursquare distillery was founded in 1993, they simply continued in its tradition. 

Foursquare was built on the premises of former sugar factory from 1636. This distillery is designed and built to be highly economic and environment-friendly, using atypical barrels and blending original rums. They are known to produce non-sweetened, non-flavoured rums with minimum of added colour. If they do this, they clearly state it on the bottle.

The story of the rum and its name

Doorly’s 12 comes with a parrot on its label. The tropical forests of Barbados are home to the rare blue parrot, Spix’s macaw (or Little blue macaw), otherwise extinct. 

Local legend has it that meeting this bird brings luck. The label of the rum named after Martin Doorly carries such a parrot, even though only in drawing. 


Doorly’s 12 is a blend of at least 12-year-old molasses rums aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels (90 %) and fortified Madeira wine casks (10 %). The rum, as is usual with Foursquare, is not sweetened or artificially flavoured.

Bronze medal: Rum Aged over 10 Year Old – 2018 International Spirits Challenge 

The smell and colour

The colour is darker, similar to copper, darker honey or mahagony. 

The colour of Doorly’s 12 rum

The smell is very delicate with notes of coconut, vanilla, cinnamon, nougat, oranges and dried fruits. 

The bottle and packaging

The rum comes in a nice paper gift box with the aforementioned parrot. The packaging, even made of paper, feels elegant, almost luxurious. The bottle itself a little less so but it is certainly not bad.

The taste

Official sources describe the taste as: light, juicy, with dominant notes of oranges, bananas, vanilla, raisins and oak.
The smell has woody oak notes with sweetish touch of fortified wine. Chocolate, banana, vanilla. And other similarly full notes develop in your mouth. Oak, sugar, fruits, a hint of spices, especially pepper. 

The finish is warm, with a bit of spiciness, slightly smoky with vanilla to nutmeg aftertaste. 

I was recommended this one as a really sweet, unsweetened rum. For those preferring Jamaican rums maybe, certainly not for the sweeter rum lovers! 🙂 Let’s say I have a complicated relationship with this rum.

  • First taste – eeeeh, I will not be drinking this!
  • Ok, I’ll try… I hope it will get better.
  • Well, it might be drinkable.
  • Hey, there are some interesting notes here!
  • Huh… this is good, so multi-layered.
  • This is a great rum!

In other words, the taste of this rum is certainly not simple and you have to get used to it. The notes come gradually and I recommend a repeated tasting before reaching a final verdict. After about a month of tasting it, I find it excellent, but the path was not an easy one. I am glad to have given it other chances. 

The price and final verdict

In its price category, this is definitely one of the best rums. It is a good rum serving as a transition between slightly sweetened rums like El Dorado or Dictador and drier, more powerful rums. As a rum, it is great and for the price around CZK 1000, you get a good rum for a bargain. Try it!

Pavel Ungr

I am rum fan from Czech republic, founder rum magazine RumRock. I taste rums, test bars & degustations and rum rum events write about it. I also write in czech. Check also my Instagram

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