Doorly's XO



R.L. Seale & Company Ltd

Price approx:






Authentic Caribbean Rum (ACR)



british, bajan


single traditional blended rum
raw material

Raw material:




twin column continuous still, classic pot/double retort



five years in ex-bourbon and one to three in ex-sherry casks

sugar added

Sugar added:


alcohol by volume

Alcohol by volume:






Richard Seale, passionate advocate for the introduction of geographical indications (GI) for Barbados rum, talks about reversal of the colonial economic model. Let's turn towards history as a life's teacher to reveal to us the bond between the present and the past.

The British set up a colony in Barbados (1627) and grubbed up the island thoroughly for sugarcane cultivation. Then they forced Africans to work. Drudgery on plantations results in high mortality hence the need for a stable supply chain … of free labor force. Capacity?  Several hundred thousand souls.

Sugar was a highly desirable and extremely scarce commodity on European markets;  hence the plantation landlords made fortunes so as the European headquarters did to gain the necessary funds for imperial expansion. Barbados has been remodeled into a slave society, the driving force of the British mercantile economy. That's the way it was for two centuries; until Europeans found a cheaper source of sugar - the homely beetroot. So much the worse for Barbados, a country entirely based on the sugar cane monoculture.

The macro level behind us, let's take a look at the meso scale. In 1906, under the guise of sealing the tax system, the Rum Duty Act was passed, according to which Barbados distilleries can only sell rum in bulk. Numerous bottlers fill the gap in the market;  buying, blending and bottling rum under its own brand. Martin Doorly & Co. was founded in 1920, R.L.  Seale in 1926. The former stands out in quality and exports rum abroad, the latter targets the domestic market and gradually acquires competitors (ESA Field, Alleyne Arthur).

Now get to the micro scale, let's take the individual perspective. Richard joined the R.L. Seale family business in 1993; the same year of the Doorly's brand acquisition. The 17th-century Foursquare property after the sugar factory was bought the very next year. Own distillation followed in 1996. Thus, he started a kind of revolution in the family business; transformed from the merchant blender into a full-fledged manufacturer.

Okay, let's go back to the ghost of (post-) colonialism mentioned before. Richard Seale believes in the legitimacy and effectiveness of establishing Geographical Indication. After all, binding all production processes with the place of origin will support the Barbados economy; otherwise déjà vu will materialize and the profits will be transferred abroad again.

There is something else. Richard has funded ($320,000) scholarships for researchers studying the topic "Barbados Industrial Heritage: The History of Sugar and Rum". It supports the country’s UNESCO World Heritage Nomination project. The founder cares about objectivity hence the research will be conducted by the 'Department of History and Philosophy' of the Jamaican University of the West Indies to make it independent from any specific corporate interest.

And finally, at the 55th anniversary of its independence (1966), Barbados denied allegiance to British Queen Elizabeth II and proclaimed itself a republic. At the ceremony, the Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley proclaimed Rihanna a national hero and wished her, herself, the inhabitants: “May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation by your works, by your actions and to do credit wherever you shall go”.


At the dawn of the new millennium Richard Seale created Doorly's XO (2000/2001), which faced international success and put its creator on the spotlight.

Most of Foursquare's molasses is imported from Guyana and undergo two-stage fermentation using South African yeast. The resulting rum is a blend coming mostly from a twin column continuous still, although with an important pot component (classic pot / double retort). Blending occurs before pouring into barrels. The XO is the only variant of the Doorly's line without an age declaration.

In doing so, the manufacturer gets some space and I get it. Furthermore, Richard Seale enjoys an unblemished reputation. Nevertheless it has to be checked: the XO designation in the cognac world means a minimum aging of six years. The Doorly's XO matures first five years in ex-bourbon casks (after Jack Daniel's), and then one to three years in ex-sherry casks (oloroso from Jerez de la Frontera). The condition is met.

Bouquet was not officially specifed.
Pomergranate, rose attar, apricot sprinkled with lime. Oaky in background.
— as examined by RumExam
Bouquet was not officially specifed.
Bitter walnut, peppery and coffee. Cinnamon toffee and grapefruit zest.
— as examined by RumExam
Bouquet was not officially specifed.
Bitter oak.
— as examined by RumExam
⁖Reviewed on: January 1st, 2022