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Rum Review: Doorly’s XO

Doorly’s XO Rum Review

Doorly's XO Rum

Hailing from the island of Barbados, Doorly’s XO is another venerable marque from the Seale family. Produced by Richard Seale and his crew at the Foursquare Rum Distillery in St. Philip, Doorly’s XO is known the world over as a quality rum that won’t break the bank (Total Wine retails it for $15). Let’s take a look and see what we’ve got here.

The Doorly’s XO bottle is squat and clear with a descriptive label. The cap is part of an integrated metal screw-top closure. The trademark Doorly’s Macaw is featured prominently alongside a fair bit of text which tells us (among other things) that this rum is secondarily finished in Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks. Although there is no age statement on the bottle, the contents are understood to be no less than six years old. There is likely a bit of older rum in there as well. It is bottled at 40% ABV.

In the glass, the rum is a deep copper bronze with golden highlights. A swirl of the snifter creates a host of droplets that very slowly break free and descend.

As I move in for a nosing, the aromas are delightfully Barbadian: banana, citrus zest, caramel and a hint of Sherried oak. Time to taste…

The rum enters in a lively fashion. The brief burst of spice upfront suggests black pepper, allspice and a touch of cinnamon. The mouthfeel is somewhat thin, but that’s not surprising given the rum’s age and Richard Seale’s staunch opposition to additives of any kind. After the spice dies down a bit, fruit appears, and we can now taste a bit of the banana and citrus we noticed earlier coupled with a hint of sweetness. Beyond the fruit are some wet, oaky tannins that coat the palate. The long finish is dominated by the spice and oak, and finishes with a slight bitterness.

Considering its age and the lack of flavoring shenanigans, Doorly’s XO is a pretty remarkable product for $15 (here in the U.S., anyway). Although good enough to sip on its own, you can freely use a value rum like this in your favorite cocktails without regret. It’s bright enough to stand out in a mixed drink, and provide character to boot.

On to the scores:

  • Appearance: 1/1
  • Nose: 2/2
  • Mouth feel: .75/1
  • Taste: 3.5/4
  • Aftertaste: 1.5/2
  • Total Score: 8.75/10

Buy Doorly’s XO online

What do you think of Doorly’s XO? Please let us know below.



7 Comments leave one →
  1. Scott T permalink
    April 3, 2014 9:26 pm

    Doorly’s 5 yr is quite a decent rum also – and at $20 for a handle, one of the best bargains around.

    Richard Seales rocks.

  2. April 5, 2014 3:00 pm

    There’s a sometimes justified tendency to lower one’s expectations for a $15 rum. Had this one cost $33 I suspect the tone of the review might be just a bit different. Newsflash! Some years earlier the XO did in fact sell for $33. Then along came the mega-corporate billion dollar subsidies that has caused even the flagship of rum – Mount Gay – to cheapen and change its blends, reduce its aging, go to NAS marketed products (think Black Barrel) and finally – to sell out to Remy.

    Mount Gay – ie the Wards – no longer make their own rum. Remy owns the brand and now that the Mount Gay distillery is no more – the distillation is now provided by the distiller of the day, by the lowest bidder. No more continuity, no more direct control. Even the El Dorado’s are suffering and are no longer the rums they once were, and now contain unlablelled sugar to compensate (per ALKO of Finland). So why is this important?

    Richard Seale and family remain fiercely independent and committed to real and pure rum, not a rumlike concoction by Dupont. Josh, the XO is NOT a $15 rum and never was. To stay alive in the face of subsidies, and to maintain quality Seales struck a good deal with Total Wine that ensures good distribution and notable sales which simply means that the XO to my mind is simply a $35 that just happens to be available at $15.

    With the exception of the Barbancourts at $19 to $24, there are no rums – zero, nada – that may be even remoted compared to Doorly’s XO at its current giveaway price.

    This rum did sell for $33, and was worth every penny then. For example – and I don’t know how this was missed – but Doorlys was one of the very first rums using expensive ex-sherry casks for aging. That is remarkable, and you won’t find another rum finished in sherry for twice its price. Think of the grossly overpriced Plantation rums for $30+, and which spend mere months in used up old ex-sherry barrels – not to mention that Plantation adds sugar to a number of their highly marketed offerings (ALKO of Finland).

    Doorly’s adds nothing. No hidden additives, flavoring, glycerol, sugar or even sherry. Josh, you are right that the XO is at least 6 years old, and does contain older rums – up to 12 years. It’s a brilliant rum that earned one of Dave Broom’s rare 5-star ratings, and was well regarded to by the Whisky Maniac Serge. This is not simply a good rum, it is absolutely exceptional, well and expensively aged.

    Even the 5 year is remarkable and quite the sipper as well. But the XO is magnificent. Yes, at $15 you can mix them and you should. But these are no more mixers than Appleton Estate Reserve or Extra, or the old Mount Gay XO. Or the Seales Ten. All are primarily sippers and very, very good ones. All are pure and unaltered and labelled honestly.

    All of Seales’ products represent the best of rum as we know it. If you are a lover of rum you owe it to yourself to avoid the mega-brands and spend your money with the few remaining real distillers like Seales. A great rum, nice review…

    • Daniel Osegueda permalink
      May 12, 2017 10:00 pm

      Guys thanks for the info. In today’s culture and society very few things are true to the craft and there so much adulteration in the market. To see a distiller make such a bold stand for sake of the craft is truly inspiring and worth taking note of and helping said distiller by purchasing his product. Truly, it a sad thing thing to be sure that the market is flooded by fakes who condone the use of additives( extra sugar, glycerin, etc.)and have no regard for the money we invest for the the lie that is sold to use by major marketing. Four square never stop being true to the craft. You will always have my dollar.

  3. John Monroe Rum connoisseur permalink
    August 26, 2014 5:17 pm

    I have searched high and low. Total wine will not ship to NY. Does anyone know here can I order a bottle of this fine spirit to NY? I highly enjoy rums involving sherry casks.

    • Josh Miller permalink*
      August 27, 2014 7:50 am

      Foursquare has a pretty exclusive distribution arrangement with Total Wine here in the US, John. While they used to ship spirits, they no longer do (I have not been able to get an answer why Total Wine and BevMo stopped shipping). My best suggestion would be to hit up a Total Wine next time you pass through CT or NJ, as they have no presence in NY. Cheers

  4. Kurt Harding permalink
    October 30, 2020 7:18 am

    I got mine at Total Wines. It sure wasn’t 15 dollars!


  1. New Rum Review: Doorly’s XO | Inu a Kena

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