Velier are an Italian Independent bottler. One of the few bottlers that focus on rum rather than Whisky. Velier have been setting the standards for independent bottlers since the 1990’s and led by the irrepressible Luca Gargano, they are showing no signs of slowing down.
You are probably wondering (like I was) about the strange name of this rum. Velier or rather Luca individually visits and selects specific casks from Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL). Then unlike many other independent bottlers the casks remain at DDL to benefit from Tropical ageing. The rum is then brought to England where it is bottled before being sold mostly to mainland Europe.
The Uitvlugt distillery (pronounced owt-flut) was a formerly Dutch owned distillery in Guyana. In line with government privatisation of sugar cane and rum production the distillery closed in 2000 and the stills and equipment were moved to DDL (or the Diamond Distillery if you prefer). So the Uitvlugt part of the title identifies that this rum was produced on one of the stills from the Uitvlugt distillery and at the time of distillation the distillery was still active. So we are getting a little piece of history in this bottle as the year is noted as 1996.
The Modified GS part of the title indicates the marque on the cask and it is noted that this was one of DDL’s experimental bottlings (along with the ULR Uitvlugt light rum). This rum was produced on the Four Column French Savalle Still which is used today by DDL and can produce 9 different marques of rum. From light to heavy bodied rums. This rum is said to be very light bodied.
Bottled at cask strength of 57.2% ABV this is an 18 year old rum which was released (and sold out) in 2014, even at around £150 per bottle. There were only 1124 bottles and a remarkable 78% of losses due to the Angel’s Share!
The rum is presented in an opaque wine style bottle with a very simple but very bold orange and white fonts on a dark green label. The information contained on the bottle relates solely to how the rum was produced – no fanciful marketing stories here. All the rums in the Velier’s portfolio have a colour scheme dependent on the still/distillery Green and Orange for Uitvlugt – Navy and White for Port Mourant etc.
I’ve had a good few Demerara rums in my time but most (if not all) the commercial bottlings are blends. I have had a “light bodied” Uitvluigt rum before from Mezan.
The first thing to note about this rum is the dark colour. 18 years of Tropical ageing could produce a darker spirit but even with these independent bottlings DDL are known to add caramel colouring prior to ageing. So you never quite know. I’m not really one to worry to much about the aesthetic of the rum when poured in the glass. I do mention it but its not something I have ever considered scoring a rum on. For the record the rum is a dark/reddish brown.
So moving onto the nose – I notice is some very nicely defined and very full oak ageing. Not too much to become over bearing but there is a very nice almost Bajan like mix of vanilla and oak in the nose. Also evident on the nose are more sweet and floral notes that are found in most of the El Dorado range of rums. Raisin and caramel and that distinctive Demerara aroma.
For a rum denoted as light this is a pretty complex affair. It is certainly more full than most Demerara rums that haven’t benefited from prolonged Tropical Ageing. There is a slightly Sherried note to the overall profile.
Sipped at the full 57% it is pretty intense, very oaky. There is some heat as you might expect of a spirit at such a high strength but its not rough in anyway. The oak flavour dominates a little with the more fruity notes saved for the finish.
Adding a couple of drops of water allows the fruity notes to come through more and the oakiness becomes less dominant allowing the lighter vanilla from the nose to return. It’s full of flavour. Complex enough to give you something else to savour the more you sip. Raisin, chocolate, coffee all nicely balanced.
That is perhaps the key to the greatness of this rum. It knows what it is and what it is good at and doesn’t try to be too flashy. It doesn’t have the power of a Pot Still behind it and doesn’t try to pretend it does. Its so well made it doesn’t need to.