Velier Skeldon 1973 Full Proof Old Demerara Rum

Velier Skeldon 1973 Full Proof Old Demerara Rum by the fat rum pirateVelier Skeldon 1973 Full Proof Old Demerara Rum. One of the oldest rums, both in terms of when it was distilled and the length of time it was aged, I have reviewed so far. This is also one of  the rarest. It was one of the earlier Velier bottlings originally released back in 2005. Long before I had become serious about rum.

The original Skeldon Distillery closed in 1960. From reading around online it seems none of the stills from Skeldon were relocated – so I guess they were destroyed or just left to rot.

This rum was actually produced at the Utivlugt Distillery.on a Coffey Still. The marque noted on the bottle (taken from the barrels) is likely to mean SWR – Skeldon William Ross, who was the founder of the Skeldon distillery. Skeldon is actually in Ayrshire, Scotland. As the name suggests William Ross was a Scottish immigrant. Other theories suggest SWR may stand for Sir Willaim Russell – but I have found no explanation for this.

Velier Skeldon 1973 Full Proof Old Demerara Rum was distilled in 1973 and bottled in 2005 giving 32 years of tropical ageing in Guyana. The Angels Share is not noted for this release. Bottled at full proof of 60.5% ABV only 544 bottles were released. If you wish to buy a bottle of this rum then try a Whisky Auction site. However you’ll need deep pockets – I would be surprised this to set you back less than £1500 now.

Velier Skeldon 1973 Full Proof Old Demerara Rum by the fat rum pirate

Photo copyright Lance Surujbally – The Lone Caner

I was very fortunate to swap a few samples with Lance Surujbally of The Lone Caner fame and this was one of the samples he gave me. I was very pleased, as I had kind of given up hope of ever trying this or the 1978 release. I seem to remember Luca stating at the Rum Tasting of the Century I attended last year – that the 1973 had some of the 1978 distillate “mixed” with some of the barrels to make more numbers though DDL did not tell him that at the time. As this rum wasn’t made on the actual Skeldon stills, I assume it is made to replicate those marques of rum. DDL have recently released a Rare Collection rum noted as being Skeldon and an Albion rum as well. The cynic in me thinks, this is to help sell the rums, based on the myth of rums such as this one.

In the glass Skeldon 1973 is a very dark brown – almost black. With only a tinge of brown around the outer edge.

The nose is very rich and fruity. Lots of juicy raisins and sultanas. Notes of port and a slighty mustiness. Which might not sound very appealing but it’s actually very pleasant.

Hints of ginger and clove come into the mix the more you sip. It’s surprisingly “low” on boozy alchol for such a high proof rum. It’s all just so rich and concentrated it swirls in the glass. A slight bitterness is present as well licorice and Guinness are present on the nose as well. It’s surprisingly not all that woody.

Upon sipping everything that was on the nose and more come into play. Initial notes of slighty bitter stout/Guinness and some hits of unsweetened licorice. Raisins and sultana’s again alongside some really fruity notes of Port. Black currants and Red currants. There is also a touch of saltiness in the mid palate.

This is really intense, very fruity rum. I was expecting it to be very oaky but that is simply not the case. The mid palate does reveal  some notes of ginger and some wood spicing but they are still only playing alongside the fruitier notes.Velier Skeldon 1973 Full Proof Old Demerara Rum by the fat rum pirate

Finish wise it is long and very pleasant.  Again it’s not as spicy as you might expect, its rich and warming.  This is a very good “winter” rum. Sadlym it is unlikely I will try it again beyond this sample.

A very unique tasting rum and very different to what we get nowadays. 32 years of ageing but not a year wasted.

Sensational. If you are given the chance to try this then I would urge you do so.

Rum rarely gets much better than this from Guyana. Will be interesting to see how the “new” Skeldon marque rum matches up.

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