Habitation Velier tagline the “House of Pure Single Rums” is part of the ongoing Gargano classification system.
Proposed a couple of years ago, Luca Gargano of Velier hopes to introduce a system of classifying rum, which will be embraced and used across the industry.
For more information on the system please see the following link which will give you more information.
Released earlier this year (2016) this Habitation Velier release sees Velier teaming up with DDL for perhaps the last time.
There are a range of rums in the Habitation Velier stable at the moment and finally a few have made their way to the UK via the Whisky Exchange. This 59% ABV Port Mourant rum will set you back £63.45.
This is not an aged rum like many Velier releases. It was bottled in 2015 and as the name suggests it was distilled on the famous Port Mourant hardwood Pot Still at DDL. I’m not sure how old it is it may even be completely unaged. I can’t seem to find that piece of information. The bottle does have information about the number of Congeners on the front label. Which a lot of people might not understand.
Congeners are often linked to hangovers. They are in the context of spirits production as follows
“Chemical compounds produced during fermentation and maturation. Congeners include esters, acids, aldehydes and higher alcohols. Strictly speaking they are impurities, but they give whisk(e)y its flavour. Their presence in the final spirit must be carefully judged; too many would make it undrinkable.”
I’m guessing that the numbers on the front label denote that this rum is full of flavour rather than undrinkable.
I have experienced a good few aged Port Mourant rums and the rums from this still are often used in Demerara blends . They are generally quite full bodied and have an aniseed taste to them.
So I was keen to try this Habitation Velier release of an unaged White Port Mourant rum.
In the glass (surprise, surprise) the rum is a clear liquid. No sign of any oak interaction it is as clear as any standard vodka.
The nose reminds me immediately of Walter Hicks Navy Rum (another “Overproof” Demerara rum). It is a heavy nose full of sweet, strong and young alcohol. It’s very sugary (note there is no sugar added, its just the young sweet notes from the alcohol). It has a hint of banana and coconut making it smell a little like a White Jamaican Overproof but it doesn’t have the same levels of “funk”. I’m getting varnish and furniture polish, maybe even a touch of tar and tobacco.
There are notes of liquorice though not as strong as I had expected and some nice lighter vanilla notes. There are some light spices and a hint of ginger.
Sipped at full strength it offers very little of the sweet alcohol evident on the nose. It’s quite sharp on the tongue and offers a very strange very vegetal profile. It’s slightly overpowering at this strength. It reminds me a little of the Clairn Casimir I tried. It’s not quite as grassy as the Clairins or an Agricole rum but it isn’t a million miles away from either.
It’s also slightly smoky and I feel there is more oak than I would have expected.
Tempered down with a little water you get a little more flavour but its still quite an unforgiving and difficult rum to actually like. Obviously it is an unaged rum from a very highly regarded still but it leaves me in no doubt as to why DDL don’t release this as a product themselves.
For someone like myself it is a rum that I had to try. I haven’t tried mixing it – I’m sure it would work in a similar way to Jamaican Overproof, minus some of the funk. I’m kind of disappointed with this but at the same time not overly surprised by the rum. It is after all what it is – an unaged white rum.
It’s a reference rum (thanks Steven James) rather than a rum to give people to impress on them how great rum can be. I’m pleased I have tried it and I would never refuse a similar offering. I’d be lying though if I was to give this a great review.
A rum to try out of sheer curiosity but don’t be surprised if it leaves you a little disappointed or non-plussed.