Habitation Velier Last Ward 2007

Habitation Velier Last Ward 2007 Rum review by the fat rum pirateHabitation Velier Last Ward 2007 is an intriguingly named rum in the popular series of Pure rums from Luca Gargano and co.  Last Ward 2007 represents the Ward family.  Who for over 100 years owned and ran the Mount Gay rum distillery in St Lucy, Barbados.

As with all Habitation Velier releases you get a lot of information on the bottle and the study card sleeve which houses the rum.  Presented in the now distinctive flask style opaque bottles this rum from the Mount Gay Rum Refinery is given a baby blue colour scheme.  Velier usually give individual distilleries/stills a colour scheme which they carry through for all releases.  This was most commonly used in their old Demerara offerings.

Last Ward 2007 is a triple distilled 100% Pot Still rum.  Distilled on a Double Retort Pot Still back in 2007.  For those with long memories you may re-call that 2007 represents the year that Frank Ward began producing Mount Gilboa rum.  Triple distilled in McMillan Pot Stills and aged in ex-bourbon Mount Gilboa represented a rare 100% Pot Still Bajan rum.

Much has went on since 2007 with Mount Gay Rum Refinery now under new ownership.  Last Ward 2007 represents the oldest rums available as part of the distillation of Mount Gilboa.  Velier bought these casks in 2014.  The rum has been tropically aged – Angels Share of 65%.  It is bottled at 59% ABV barrel proof.  A bottle (if you can find one) will set you back around £80.

This rum is a marrying of 19 of the oldest barrels available.  I was quite surprised how popular this edition proved to be – I was fortunate to get the last bottle from the retailer I used – on the day of release.  Mount Gilboa earned something of a cult following for its heavier, more full flavoured take on Bajan rum.  You can still pick up a bottle online here and there even though it hasn’t been produced for a number of years.

Mount Gilboa was much younger than 10 years old so it will be interesting to see how a 100% Bajan Pot Still rum develops over time.

Habitation Velier Last Ward 2007 Rum review by the fat rum pirateIn the glass the rum is a very attractive golden brown.  It certainly looks the part. Nosing is quite a sedate experience.  Mount Gilboa was quite an “in your face” kind of rum.  In some ways it bordered on Jamaican in terms of delivery – though admittedly maybe with the funk dialled down a touch.  This rum has quite a strong, spicy alcohol note on the nose.  I’m getting a lot of oak and spice from the bourbon barrel.  A touch of shoe polish.  Deeper nosing makes your nose twitch a little – it’s quite boozy.  Sweet alcohol notes can hit the nostrils quite hard.

It has a nuttiness which balances nicely with the notes of shortcut pastry.  A little saltiness.  Initially the nose doesn’t seem all that complex but the more you nose the more you notice.

From the nose I certainly wouldn’t pick it out as a Pot Still rum.  At a push I might identify it as a Bajan.  It’s kind of in the middle ground.  Similar to a St Lucian rum only without the extra saltiness and vegetal notes.

It’s certainly an intriguing and interesting nose.

Sipped it’s a very spicy affair.  I”m getting more of the Pot Still now.  It’s not as full on as a Hampden or even a Fijian pot still but its certainly more menacing than a Doorly’s 5 for example or Rum Sixty Six.  One of the things I liked about Mount Gilboa was the “funkiness” it displayed.  It was a very bold rum – which mixed really well and whilst not bad as a sipper just didn’t have the refinement to make for a serious sipping experience.

Unfortunately Last Ward 2007 has lost some of the youthful “funkiness” and aggression.  These seems to have been replaced with a lot of oak spice.  This is a very “hot” peppery rum.  There is a lot of oak which is very drying.

It’s quite difficult to get past this.  A few drops of water certainly help.  Opening the rum up more making it easier to sip and appreciate the more complex notes lurking beneath the oak and spice.

Water is very much recommended with this rum.  With the ABV reduced you can taste more of the more familiar Bajan style notes.  Last Ward 2007 has a sweeter more approachable profile now.  It’s nicely balanced and much frutier.  There is a little tartness – gooseberries, a touch of lychee but it plays along nicely with the notes of vanilla and banana.  There is a little of the trademark Mount Gay coconut as well just lurking in the background.

Habitation Velier Last Ward 2007 Rum review by the fat rum pirateThis is a very different rum to the one I was expecting.  I was expecting something akin to the Pot Still of the South Pacific Rum Distillery in Fiji or even something almost Jamaican.

Ageing has taken off some of the rough edges (which I quite enjoyed in the Mount Gilboa) and replaced them with much more interaction with the Bourbon barrels.  At full strength the rum is too spicy and dry for my palate.  Reduced down to around 50% and a completely different rum is revealed.

It’s not a rum I find easy to compare to other rums.  In time it is a rum which grows on you.  Initially it doesn’t seem all that exciting.  I thought for my first couple of glasses it was just over oaked.

But it grows on you.  Sneaks up on you and you soon begin to appreciate it.  Yes its a little dry and oaky but water really is your friend with this rum. Honest

 

 

 

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